Skip to main content

No matter where we live, Democrats always wonder why we aren’t winning by 20 points already. We look at the national polls and think this race should be over; then we scare ourselves into thinking we’re doomed. The best way to fix this vicious cycle is to take a quick trip to Arizona, where until very recently we really were doomed. With your help, this election is going to change all that.

For the last few years, my state has been the petri dish for every crazy Tea Party experiment in bad government. SB 1070 made national headlines, but it was just the start. This year the Koch brothers are spending big money to defeat a ballot initiative that increases funding for our last-in-the-nation education system. We have anti-environment activists pushing a proposal for the state to “take over” all federal land even while budget cuts have closed most of our state parks. Perhaps most seriously, we’ve had Rep. Jeff Flake promote two efforts in Congress (yep, two) to open the Grand Canyon area to more uranium mining.

It can be frustrating to be an Arizona Democrat – especially at the statewide level, we feel a bit like an endangered species. But lately the Republicans have overplayed their hand and we’ve been organizing like never before. We’re very, very close to electing a Democrat, Dr. Richard Carmona, to the Senate this year for the first time since we elected Dennis DeConcini. We’re in a good position to send five Democrats to the House in 2013. My own race is looking good, not least because my opponent Gabriela Mercer famously said she doesn’t want “Middle Easterners” here “legally or illegally.” Having a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus from Arizona is a powerful statement, and I'm not going anywhere.

This didn’t all happen overnight. The architect of SB 1070, state Sen. Russell Pearce, was recalled by his own conservative voters last year because they were tired of his grandstanding and lack of real ideas. (Don’t ask me, ask them.) A lot of new voters have moved into the state recently, and they don’t all feel connected to the Joe Arpaio-Jan Brewer axis of conservative power that thinks it still calls all the shots. Young people, especially Latinos, are becoming more aware every day of just how radical and unrealistic our Republican Party has become.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that conservatives still have deeper pockets, a bigger political machine, and a more established brand in many parts of the state. Jeff Flake could give away the Grand Canyon to the Chinese and still count on 47 percent of the vote without picking up the phone – that’s just today’s Arizona political landscape. This means we have to work especially hard. It also means that we’re closer than we’ve ever been before to flipping Arizona blue, and we can do it.

What would that mean? It would mean Gov. Brewer has to account for the fact that Republicans don’t have a statewide lock – on anything – from now on. It would mean Sheriff Arpaio is, to use a term he likes to throw around in a very different context, surrounded. It would mean we’re playing offense in Arizona instead of defense, and that we’re going to keep doing it. Most importantly, it would mean the working people of Arizona have a shot at a better life that years of Republican dominance have denied them.

It would also mean Republicans at the national level have to stand up and take some very serious notice. When Bill Clinton won Arizona in 1996, a lot of reporters chalked it up to Bob Dole being a bad candidate, and in many ways they were right. Arizona wasn’t ready to turn blue yet. Today Arizona is ready, and the implications would be tremendous. If Arizona has been the state Republicans have tried to make a model for the nation – as Mitt Romney called his health care law before his party made him take it back – we have a chance to show them what the country really wants: a more sensible, more diverse, more progressive community than they give us credit for. That’s a message I think we all want to send.

It’s going to take more than one election for Arizona Democrats to compete at every level in every race. But it’s an achievable and very important goal, and I hope you’ll join me in getting every Arizonan you know to vote Democratic this year. Because if the country is going to look like Arizona, there are really only two ways to go.

Originally posted to Raul Grijalva on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK Poli, Barriers and Bridges, I Vote for Democrats, J Town, Phoenix Kossacks, and Baja Arizona Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, a gilas girl, JekyllnHyde, Bill in Portland Maine, Odysseus, ferg, teacherken, kate mckinnon, Oregon Bear, Pandora, Danno11, greenbird, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, Andrew C White, oysterface, eeff, etatauri, willyr, SallyCat, jancw, Creosote, TexasDemocrat, bara, rasbobbo, housesella, missLotus, wonkydonkey, whenwego, Xapulin, Pithy Cherub, boadicea, cosmic debris, pedrito, ivote2004, Miss Blue, ornerydad, PeteZerria, Iberian, Cedwyn, wader, Quege, ninothemindboggler, psnyder, Nag, ranger995, The Zipper, Brian82, outragedinSF, Matt Esler, Sembtex, Curt Matlock, Kitsap River, Man Eegee, Pam LaPier, Emmy, Limelite, Gowrie Gal, fijiancat, 3goldens, ichibon, kitchen sink think tank, TigerMom, PSzymeczek, Pam from Calif, Sun Tzu, uato carabau, peacestpete, JanF, Alan Arizona, reddbierd, forbodyandmind, Ranchita, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, emeraldmaiden, profundo, HoundDog, kestrel9000, fou, blueoasis, StrayCat, philipmerrill, funluvn1, gooderservice, LibChicAZ, tapestry, boatsie, Cato come back, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Stripe, blueoregon, kurt, Compostings, kurious, MadScientist, Hedwig, sea note, Nulwee, dotsright, Chief9toe, Loudoun County Dem, beth meacham, noofsh, deepeco, joedemocrat, Pengu1n, artisan, Oreo, gchaucer2, RudiB, pioneer111, christianlsv, uciguy30, madgranny, BasharH, Assaf, wuod kwatch, sand805, MKinTN, bkamr, revm3up, TruthFreedomKindness, Chacounne, MikePhoenix, ScottyUrb, Cordwainer, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, elwior, lineatus, Akonitum, VL Baker, jakebob, Therapy, monkeybrainpolitics, LearningCurve, tofumagoo, pamelabrown, TokenLiberal, Jeff Y, alnep, Ellinorianne, mellow yellow, DavidW, greenpunx, Tennessee Dave, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, J M F, litoralis, divineorder, hummingbird4015, Don Enrique, Ohiodem1, shopkeeper, wmdrpa, Bonsai66, dRefractor, elziax, dskoe, sanglug, Denise Oliver Velez, Little Flower, citisven, Leftcandid, susan in sc, Larsstephens, Railfan, Amber6541, Just Bob, SquirmyRooter, brooklyns finest, confitesprit, OrangeMike, rb137, flitedocnm, sbbonerad, estreya, politik, piers, Proud Mom and Grandma, angelajean, freeport beach PA, legalchic, renzo capetti, snowman3, gulfgal98, Yasuragi, rja, Betty Pinson, Oh Mary Oh, Onomastic, BrowniesAreGood, gobears2000, Front Toward Enemy, mama jo, near mrs, rg611, KelleyRN2, lupinella, princesspat, thomask, akmk, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, Square Knot, peregrine kate, zapus, Caddis Fly, cailloux, ratcityreprobate, Catlady62, joanbrooker, ParkRanger, PrometheusUnbound, Azazello, quill, Liberal Granny, KiB, mkoz, anodnhajo, Gay CA Democrat, pistolSO, foucaultspendulum, rexxnyc, midgebaker, Joieau, AreDeutz, Dave in AZ, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, hardart, tytalus, arizonablue, ItsaMathJoke, Glen The Plumber, dotdash2u, George3, Sue B, nomandates, Late Again, remembrance, Setsuna Mudo, Dewstino, NJInd, Wanri Nonas, sparkysgal, TheDuckManCometh, shinobi9, blugrlnrdst

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site