A truly dumb move. But I guess I shouldn't expect anything less from a state political party led by Kelli Ward, who is only slightly less crazy than Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Qanon). The New York Times reports:
PHOENIX — Arizona Republicans issued rebukes to three of the party’s most prominent figures on Saturday, approving resolutions to censure Gov. Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of former Senator John McCain.
Though largely symbolic, the political scolding during a meeting of the state G.O.P. on Saturday underscored a widening rift in Arizona between party officials who have made clear that their loyalty lies with former President Donald J. Trump and those in the party who refused to support him or his effort to overturn the election results in Arizona, which President Joseph R. Biden Jr. won.
The party cited Ms. McCain’s and Mr. Flake’s criticisms of Mr. Trump and Mr. Ducey’s use of emergency orders related to the pandemic, which gave him broad control to enact policies without the legislature’s approval such as closing “nonessential” businesses in the spring.
Both Mr. Flake and Ms. McCain endorsed Mr. Biden leading up to the November election. Though Mr. Ducey continually made it clear that he backed Mr. Trump, he drew ire from some Republicans by defending the state’s election process, rather than supporting efforts to challenge the November results in court.
All three resolutions easily passed. The New York Times article did include comments from an opponent of the censure resolution:
Many moderate Republican officials have dismissed the resolutions as a distraction, saying they will largely serve to alienate other moderates in a state where independent voters make up nearly a third of the electorate.
Like other Republicans who voted against the censures, Trey Terry, a state committeeman, laid the blame with Ms. Ward.
“She has set the party up for failure,” Mr. Terry said. “It’s her circus now, and the clowns have come out.”
Let me first point out my disagreement with the typical media reflex, as evidenced in the New York Times article, that the brewing civil war in the GOP is a fight between political philosophy. There are plenty of GOP moderates who supported Trump and many principled conservatives who opposed him.
|Arizona State GOP Chair, Kelli Ward|
The post-Trump battle isn't about political philosophy. It is about whether Republicans are going to continue to allow the GOP to be dominated by the Trump personality cult, which has no coherent political philosophy but instead embraces wild conspiracies and alternative facts.
Arizona, barely, has Republican control of both state houses, but congressional and state redistricting in that state is done, not by the legislature, but rather by a five member commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and one independent.
Arizona's congressional delegation is currently made up of 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The state will be adding a 10th congressional seat in the 2022 election due to the state's greatly increasing population. Arizona is home of two of the nation's worst Republican members of Congress, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs. Biggs in particular could be in trouble when his new district is redrawn.
More than 62% of the state's population, approximately 4.5 million people, live in Maricopa County which includes Phoenix and several suburbs. In 2016, Trump won the county by about 45,000 votes. In 2020, Trump lost Maricopa County by about 45,000 votes while Trump enthusiast, Senator Martha McSally, lost by the county by nearly 78,000 votes. While Trump and McSally were losing, Republicans won 5 of the 6 county wide races in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County election results were not an aberration. Trump ran behind virtually every Republican candidate in the country. Only those Republican Senators who tightly lashed themselves to Trump, did more poorly than the ex-President with voters.
The reason why Trump lost re-election was because of Republican cross-over vote. In every swing state, the number of Republican-leaning voters casting ballots for Biden exceeded Democrats, voting for Trump by a sufficient enough margin to make the difference in the outcome. The states anti-Trump Republicans swung to Biden include the three closest - Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. Of all the 50 states, Arizona had the largest percentage, 10%, of Republicans voting for Biden. Meanwhile, just 3% of Democrats in Arizona voted for Trump. That net 7% equaled a loss of 69,058 votes. Trump lost Arizona by only 10,457 votes.
The numbers reveal the foolishness of Kelli Ward lashing the future of the Arizona GOP to Donald Trump. It's only matter time before those GOP defectors start punishing Republican candidates further down the ballot, or start switching their party affiliations because they don't want to be associated with a Republican Party that equals Trump.
OOP's short takes:
- God drafted another Hall of Fame baseball player over the weekend, Hank Aaron, who was MLB's home run leader until he was passed by Barry "Steroids" Bonds. RIP, Mr. Aaron. Willie Mays, who is 89, has to be concerned he's the next to be called up. Really tasteless joke...
- Dominion is suing Rudolph Giuliani for $1.3 billion for defamation. While I don't have any sympathy for Giuliani or those who kept perpetuating the lie about election fraud, I do worry that this might open the door to companies suing critics to shut them up. Unfortunately, there is no federal SLAPP lawsuit (ironically Congressman Mike Pence was a big proponent of the legislation) and Indiana's desperately needs to be updated to reflect new types of communication, such as blogs and podcasts.
- Bar owner Jessica Walters who is a leader in the Oathkeepers militia, is charged with several crimes relating to her participation in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th. News reports say she was served "under a different name" or they avoid the subject entirely. I was puzzled by the reluctance to provide the previous name. A TV report today, finally identified the name. Now I understand the reluctance. It's "Jeremy."
- A huge blow to the Republicans' hopes of retaking the Senate in 2020 - popular Ohio Senator Rob Portman has decided he won't seek re-election in 2022.