As a recently defeated candidate for public office, few people may consider my advice sound, but here goes anyway.
Hey Mohave County Republican Party: Congratulations on your recent victory. It feels good to win, doesn’t it? I remember another victory you guys had back in 2004--an embattled president facing a challenge from a controversial politician out of Massachusetts, a divided nation, everything hanging on Ohio. In the end, though, a decisive victory with the majority of more than three million votes and a re-elected president who took that margin and claimed it was a mandate. “I have earned some political capital and I aim to spend it!” George Bush crowed and then launched into a program that totally ignored the wishes of the half of the electorate to kowtow to his perpetually shrinking, but none the less, rabid base.
Sure, you remember. We all do. Welcome to 2012, that rabid base of yours has shrunk nationally to below the 50% mark and as the song goes turnabout is fair play. Now, don’t you hope that Dems’ donkeys are more gracious than your sorry donkeys have been?
Don’t get me wrong. The Mohave County Republican Party can be indisputably proud of their accomplishment this round. We are clearly the reddest county in the state. You guys thunderously won virtually every local and state elective office and got Romney 70% of the vote. Only two states turned out such numbers, Wild West Wyoming and, small wonder, Romney loving Utah. In fact only ten states nationally went 60+%, more than half of AZ Counties did. The only AZ county even close were the immigrant haters down in Santa Cruz County, at 68%. Metro area counties like Maricopa and Pinal weren’t even greater than 60%. Pima went 51% Obama by 25,000 votes, which is approximately the same difference the other way as the Mohave County difference.
So, Mohave County Republican Party, job well done. Now here’s my advice: we forgive you for being so incredibly deluded, now, rather than continuing to crow, it’s time to shut up and learn to listen before your party demographically goes the way of the Dixiecrats and other such red meat eating dinosaurs. Look outside the Fox News “Romney by a Landslide” bubble. A three million vote margin is a mandate. Your team just lost the presidency in more than half the states, lost seats in Congress in general, lost your super-majority in PHX, and lost more than half of the state’s Congressional seats.
This wasn’t an error, no matter what joy juice Rush is currently snorting, it’s the fifth time in the last six presidential elections that Dems earned more votes. The GOP wants to claim they lost the election because of Hurricane Sandy. But the people in Tempe didn’t vote for Kyrsten Sinema because of CNN broadcast Obama-Christie man-hugs. Whether or not the purist conservative ideologues who claim to shape the party like it or not, the AZ GOP is based by base emotions, blatant greed and brute force. While that approach may win barroom brawls, it’s not what the public is looking for in governance.
It's not like you didn't try, though. If ever a presidential election could have simply been bought, this surely should have been an example. The GOP and the plutocrats poured over six billion into this election. If ever there was a president who has been demonized, vilified, painted as evil as imaginable, it has been Barack Obama. And it did no good.
Turns out asking the public to sacrifice their own best interests for someone else’s tax cut isn’t the sure fire winner it once was. No tax cut ever built a highway, taught a child, or stopped a criminal. There is no rich man’s tax cut worth giving up my son’s education over, or my mother’s healthcare, just sayin’.
Turns out the American public also does not actually honestly desire a massive repudiation of Obamacare. We actually honestly do care about caring about people. So, AZ GOP, it is time to get used to the ACA and stop wasting state money on losing litigation trying to battle a program that, while compromised, has more strengths than weaknesses. You know how the Right always complains that us lefty bleeding hearts should stop whining about undocumented immigrants? They say, “The law’s the law. What part of illegal don’t you understand?” Well the law’s the law. The Affordable Care Act passed. It’s the law. Shut up about it. SB 1070 got gutted, stop whining. The law’s the law, right?
Know what else? Cannabis is going to legal someday. Get used to it. Women want birth control, not rapists’ babies, and same sex marriage won on the ballot. If you really have to worry about the sex in someone’s else marriage, that means you are not having enough of your own.
But seriously, while your numbers and sheer orneriness might give you guys the west side of the state home-team advantage for now, the politics of race and rights and money are slipping away from you. America has just had our first true post-racial election, the angrier old white men get about losing their will to stem the tide of time, the more rapidly their time of dominance will slide. In California they even voted to raise their own taxes. Less than 30% of the public is even willing to register Republican. And you know what they say about Californians: they keep moving to Arizona.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ