Arizona Is A Hot Mess-- It Would Be Better If Racist Debbie Lasko Were Defeated Next Year
The Arizona Republican Party is a disaster zone. Mainstream conservatives are no longer welcome and the party has been rapidly devolving into a real live fascist operation, run by Kelli Ward. At the same time, it is shedding support, pushing out some, being abandoned by others. Democrats have decided to try to replace elected Republicans with iffy-Democrats from the Republican wing of the party. Generally they're not as bad as Republicans, but they work within the Democratic congressional caucuses-- something Republicans can't do-- to water down and destroy progressive initiatives. Example: Kyrsten Sinema, a right-wing goon who hates working people with every sinew of her being, is refusing to back Biden's COVID-relief package unless the Democrats take the minimum wage increase out of it.
How did she get in the Senate as a Democrat? Chuck Schumer cleared the field for her when it looked like there was a good chance to beat an appointed GOP non-entity. Why would Schumer choose her? Sinema was a member of Congress, the head of the Blue Dogs with the single worst voting record of any Democrat in the House. She consistently voted with the GOP on one thing after another. She was the most anti-progressive Democrat in the House and there were often long periods of time when there were some Republicans voting more consistently progressive than Sinema. Perfect for Schumer's last-century lizard brain. Because he hates and fears Democratic values, he assumes everyone else does, so he always looks for Republican-lite candidates, most of whom lose. Unfortunately, Sinema didn't lose. And neither did Mark Kelly, another Arizona non-Democrat running with a "D" next to his name. Next year he'll be running with an "F" next to his name as well, since that will surely be his ProgressivePunch score by then.
Anyway, it isn't just Schumer. He may be the worst, but not much worse than anyone at the DCCC. The new chair, New Dem Sean Patrick Maloney is both corrupt and conservative and his idea of a good candidate is... obviously some just like himself: corrupt and conservative. He's basically Cheri Bustos re-imagined... just the way she was Rahm Emanuel re-imagined. All of them have the same idea-- never fight for Democratic values; either force candidates to hide them or, better yet, pick candidates who don't harbor any.
OK, that off my chest, let's go back to the Arizona GOP shit-show. The Kelli Ward and her wing of the party has basically kicked the Republican governor out of the party. Since he would have been their strongest candidate for the 2022 Senate race, it's now likely they will run a neo-fascist who will easily win a primary and just as easily lose the general.
Right now there are 9 congressional districts in the state, 5 held by Democrats and 4 by Republicans. The Democrats in the congressional delegation include a worthless Republican-turned-Blue Dog, Tom O'Halleran, 2 progressives (Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego) and 2 other right-of-center members, New Dems Ann Kirkpatrick and Greg Stanton. Looking at PVIs there are only two red seats that look like they could flip sometime soon: AZ-06 (David Schweikert) and AZ-08 (Debbie Lesko). Both are basically Phoenix suburban districts. The 6th (PVI- R+9) includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills) and the 8th (PVI- R+13) includes Peoria, Sun City and Lichfield Park.
Biden won all the congressional districts held by Democrats and Trump won all the districts held by Republicans. But... the Republican share of the votes has been going down in AZ-06 and AZ-08. First the 6th:
2004- Bush 64%
2008- McCain 61%
2012- Romney 60%
2016- Trump 52%
2020- Trump 51%
AZ-08 is somewhat redder and that is reflected in the presidential results in the district, although the trend remains the same00 a smaller portion for the GOP each time. It was a different district before 2010 so I'm only including numbers for the new/current district:
2012- Romney 62%
2016- Trump 58%
2020- Trump 57%
In 2018 the crackpot congressman, right-wing closet case and insane person, Trent Franks, was forced to resign-- for trying to coerce a staffer into being a surrogate mother for his imagined child-- triggering a special election. Unfortunately, the Democrats fielded a weak candidate, Hiral Tipirneni, and a far right lunatic, Debbie Lesko won, 52-48%. She adheres to the neo-fascist wing of the state party. Tipirneni ran again in the general that year and Lesko thrashed her 168,835 (55.5%) to 135,569 (44.5%). Last year another centrist Dem ran, Michael Muscato and he got an even smaller portion of the vote (just 40.4%).
2022 might be a good year for a strong Democratic candidate to take on Lesko. About 20% of the district is Latino, a number that is growing rapidly. A couple of days ago Oliver Willis explained why Lesko's knee-jerk bigotry may make it harder for her to win again. Importante: "Experts say mass vaccination is needed to fight COVID-19, regardless of immigration status." It's a concept beyond Lesko's intellectual grasp. Willis reported that she "defended an amendment that would put undocumented immigrants at the end of the line for a COVID vaccine by saying that she personally knew that Hispanic people are 'very good workers.' The amendment was proposed during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as it considered President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill. Lesko said it was 'amazing' to her that Democrats voiced opposition to the amendment. 'I worked with people that are Hispanic, I mean, they're very good workers. You know, we're compassionate people, but for goodness' sakes, we have to take care of American citizens or people that are here legally first,' she said. Lesko said she would not be able to explain to senior citizens in her state why undocumented people would be getting the vaccine along with the rest of the population."
While Lesko and other Republicans are determined that undocumented residents should not receive vaccines against the coronavirus, the virus itself does not discriminate based on immigration status. In order to stem the spread and achieve herd immunity, as many people as possible need to be vaccinated.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told PRI, "From a public health repercussion, you got to get people vaccinated. It doesn't matter who they are. If you're in the country, you're a threat of getting infected yourself and of transmitting the infection. So there's no room for any withholding of vaccines for people because they're part of the population that we're dealing with."
Arizona is a COVID-hotspot. So far today there have been 1,132 new cases. Tomorrow the state will pass the 800,000 case mark, 10th worst in the country. Arizona has 109,874 cases per million residents-- 6th worst in the country. Nearly 15,000 Arizonans have died from COVID.