Arizona really is a modern day wild west.
Just recently, the Arizona Redistricting Commission, a five member committee made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent, just came out with their new redistricting plan.
The plan is fairly simple. The commission will redraw districts to include four Republican strong holds, two Democrat strong holds and three competitive districts.
Now, to me, as a former Independent-leaning Democrat from Arizona, who at one point or another has lived in a district of each type, this entire notion of four safe GOP districts, two Democratic ones and three competitive ones is completely absurd. Personally, I think all of nine districts should be competitive, but apparently, I am the only one who thinks so.
The plan was voted on by the commission and came down to a 3-1 vote. The two Democrats and Independent folks voted for it, with one vote against them by the Republican on the committee. The other Republican abstained.
Now, every elected Republican in the state of Arizona (no joke, every single one, and considering there are roughly only 30 elected Democrats in the state of Arizona, that’s a shit ton), has issued some statement or another suggesting that the commission has been hijacked by “liberal” folks.
Not many people know of this story. In 2008, before the election, on the last day of the legislative session, the state Senate started debating a initiative to send to voters to ban same-sex marriage in Arizona. The Democrats staged a Constitution-protected filibuster, knowing that if they were able to carry on the filibuster long enough, the day and legislative session would end, and this divisive measure would not be sent to the voters. Instead, Arizona State Senator Jack Harper unplugged the Senator who had the floor’s microphone, plugged it back in, and then ignored the “calls to order” by several members in the Senate chamber, and called for a vote on the measure anyway. This violated ethics, and in my opinion broke the law.
This new insane attack on the Redistricting Commission is what Arizona Republicans do best. They bully, fight, scream until they get their way, not caring if they are breaking the law, or following the Constitution. Considering the facts, and the history of Republican’s in Arizona, this shouldn’t be any sort of surprise. The fact that every single Republican within minutes issued the same statement, illustrates, once again, how wild west Arizona is. They planned this attack. And they planned it well. They got Governor Brewer and even Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl on board.
But is there any legitimate claim here by the Republicans? Considering they can, and likely will, walk away with seven of the nine districts in Arizona, I think not. Even if they only picked up one of the three competitive districts, they still would have a majority of them. They can spend all their money, time, and focus on whichever one district they think they have the best chances in. The only way the Democrats can even attempt to do that is to win all three, dividing up their money, time and focus. To me, there really isn’t any legitimate claim.
Arizona Republicans know how to get what they want, and chances are, considering there are hardly any elected Democrats in Arizona, and the Republicans are attacking the very districting plans that give Democrats even the very small, fighting chance, its likely they will once again, win. Just like they won the same-sex marriage ban in 2008, the same one that was voted down by Arizona voters just two years prior.