What’s Brewing In Arizona?

I am pessimistically optimistic about the Democrats gaining additional state and congressional states this year.  Take Arizona, please.  Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010 signed SB 1070 into law one of the most reprehensible and racist immigration “reform” bills to come down the pike since the Jim Crow laws were enacted throughout the South during the 19th and 20th centuries.  I’m sure that Brewer privately endorses the bill but due to pressure from both Arizona U.S. senators and the Arizona business community she will have to veto it.  In any other state, vetoing an anti-gay bill a year before it plays host to the Super Bowl would be a no-brainer.Except for Arizona Republicans, who lack even that much. 

Common sense dictates that potentially thousands of gay and lesbian football fans with their friends and family were planning buying tickets for the 2015 Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium.  You would think that Arizona Republicans would get that if it was legal to deny the gay population ANYTHING in the state based on an individual’s personal religious convictions, that a few thousand airline tickets won’t be purchased, hundreds of hotel/motel rooms and rental cars won’t be rented, thousands of extra restaurants and fast food places meals won’t be bought, thousands of souvenirs won’t be purchased, and so the lost-income dominoes will fall.  The business community doesn’t like to see millions of tourist dollars refused to be accepted and they have told Brewer that in no uncertain terms.   But Brewer, if she decides to run for governor again in 2018 after taking a state constitution-mandated four-year break, will need the support of teabaggie Republicans and so she must give the appearance of weighing a most weighty decision over the entire five-day period in which a governor must sign or veto new legislation before she vetoes it.  At least that’s how Brewer hopes it will appear to Republican voters if she decides 2018 is her comeback year.


The immigration law was the equivalent of the “stop-and-frisk black males” law in New York City.  It gave law enforcement the legal right to stop any motor vehicle anywhere anytime to command “Show us your papers, plees” (like the good Nazis the Brewer and the state legislature wanted Arizona law enforcement to be) for the reasonable cause of the driver and/or its inhabitants being brown-skinned.  Brewer and the Republican-controlled state legislature cared not one whit that this was in total violation of the 14th Amendment until the U.S. Supreme Court told them it was and gutted most of the act.  Law enforcement can still stop brown-skinned motor vehicle occupants at will to ask for papers but can’t do much legally after that.

I bring up SB 1070 to make a point. That was just the latest in much repressive legislation essentially written by Arizonan right-wing lobbyist groups and passed into law by Republicans.  Organizations like the Center for Arizona Policy, remarkably a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization that is “committed to promoting and defending life, marriage, and family, and religious liberty”, has been running state politics for the past ten years.  SB 1062, the anti-gay law that Brewer will most definitely have to veto, was their baby.  So, with all this repressive legislative history, why do Republicans and the Tea Party still run state politics? Why do the majority of Arizona voters keep them in power year after year? Is election fraud and voter suppression at work here?

This pattern of keeping states Red no matter how repressive and bigoted the Republican-controlled government is worries me.  Too many voters are bound and determined beyond all logic and reason to vote against their own best self-interests.  Many of my fellow liberals hope for a big Blue election year in 2014, as do I, but I won’t be surprised if we only make small yardage up the middle instead of running downfield for a touchdown.  Too many Republican-installed voter ID laws block the field and then there’s that nasty problem of rigging the vote count as in Florida 2000 and as in Ohio 2004.

It’s not a matter of seeing the glass as half-empty or half-full. I just hope there’s something in the glass for Democrats come November 5, 2014, the day after Election Day.