It would appear that voters are finally making their voices heard, letting elected officials know they are fed up with conservative extreme politics. You had to wonder just how long thinking Americans would allow this Bush/Cheney/Rove insanity to go on. But apparently it is emerging at just the right time for the left, but must be nurtured even more to keep the momentum going. Justine Sarver, executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, says “…the other side has gone too far.”
One of the most blatant examples is the recall election of Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce which resulted in his defeat by a Republican moderate. Pearce was even the Senate President. There is now consideration to recall Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even the forged governor, Jan Brewer. And in Michigan, state Rep. Paul Scott (R) lost his seat due to opposition to teacher tenure and education funding. He was also chairman of the House Education Committee.
Also in Michigan, Traverse City residents voted to keep on the books a non-discrimination law prohibiting discrimination for sexual orientation. Openly gay and lesbian candidates across the country, themselves, achieved success by electing candidates in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Virginia and New Jersey. A total of 53 of 75 candidates endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund won.
But the biggest loss by conservatives was in Ohio where Gov. John Kasich (R) took a big hit. It was a bi-partisan effort, including Independents, totaling 60 percent of Ohio voters that defeated the issue to maintain the Governor’s restricted union collective bargaining rights of 360,000 public employees. Even Kasich, in his first term, said it was time to pause, adding, “You don’t ignore the public.”
In Mississippi a stupid “personhood” amendment was rejected that declared a fertilized egg a legal person and would have made it illegal for women in the state to use some birth control along with other restrictions. It almost sounds as if the Catholic Church has infiltrated Mississippi government. And Maine reinstated the right to register to vote on Election Day rather than a legislative requirement by the Republican governor for two days prior to the election.
But returning to Arizona where the politics have been so bizarre since sham governor Jan Brewer took office, there is energized hope that saner heads and enlivened progressives could prevail in 2012. I use this state as an example, and as a prototype for the worst state government in the U.S., primarily because I live here. Also, from my observation, it actually is the worst governed state in the country.
There is a legislature controlled by Republicans that, with the help of an incompetent pretend governor, does as it pleases, regardless of how it affects the state. Arizona’s Democratic Party contends that the recent recall of State Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the anti-immigration bill SB1070 and the state’s official bigot, is evidence of a shift from extremist conservative politics in the state. President Obama has even said Arizona will play a “critical role” in 2012 where his grassroots group Organizing for America has been active. And they are also focusing on the Hispanic vote by hiring Mexican-Americans to work the Latino community.
The Behavior Research Center said, “The impression of Arizona as a majority conservative state is more a reflection of gerrymandering and the historically superior strength of conservative forces in getting their voters to the polls.” And if you have been following the recent redistricting dispute where mock Gov. Jan Brewer removed the Commission’s Independent member because the new map results favored Democrats, you can understand the gerrymandering charge.
So my point is, if it is possible for progressives to bring around the state of Arizona, at least partially, it is possible for progressives to win across the U.S. The country will be eyeing the typically important states where election decisions are traditionally made in most elections. But I bet a lot of people, including myself, will turn their attention to Arizona to see if it continues to qualify as the most politically laughable state in the nation.