Biden’s victory in that state, which pushed Republican leaders like Barry Goldwater and John McCain onto the national podium, could have predicted problems for the party in the future. This year’s Democrats have been helped by three major changes in the state: a growing Spanish population based on Democrats; an increase in the number of voters moving to Arizona from more liberal states such as California and Illinois; and the way suburban voters have shamelessly detached themselves from a Republican party led by someone like Trump.
Arizona, Blue Arizona, is moving closer to its northwest neighbor, Nevada, where Democrats have taken over almost every aspect of government, and from the traditional right turn of the state.
The Democratic victory in the presidential race, which was announced a few days after Biden’s victory in the CNN written presidential race, was secured in Marikopa County, home of the Phoenix and almost 60 percent of the population of the state. Marikopa is the fastest growing province in the country. Over the past two decades, it has developed into a ubiquitous mass of mega-cities, planned settlements and bustling shopping malls.
Maricopa County has won the state of Arizona for Mark Kelly and Joe Biden, said Steven Slugocki, president of Maricopa County Democrats. Here in Maricopa, we have used our resources to reach voters of color, women, and traditionally under-represented groups throughout the state. Our strategy has proved effective.
Biden is only the second Democrat to win Arizona since Harry Truman’s victory in 1948. Bill Clinton barely won the state in 1996, but Arizona evolved over the next two decades, electing strong immigration defenders such as Jan Brewer’s government and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpayo, and passing laws such as SB 1070, a controversial state law that required officials to enforce immigration controls while applying other laws when there were reasonable grounds to suspect illegal immigration.
The victory of democracy was supported by grassroots organizations on the ground in Arizona, many of which focused on the growing Latin American population, united with the opposition of Arpaio and the suppression of immigration. These groups provided the democratic government apparatus, which won few victories in 2010, with the necessary elements to become an influential force capable of winning a seat in the Senate in 2018 and only two years later a second seat in the Senate and a presidential race.
This year was a victory for more than a decade in the state, said Laura Dent, executive director of Kishpa Arizona, one of the many organizations that formed a coalition called Mi AZ, an alliance of six groups that has been working for years to attract voters, especially Hispanics. It was a construction phase that lasted for decades and it was crucial to keep organizing the work between election cycles.
Dent said the SB 1070 organization has been a catalyst for these groups to come together around something and build that collective strength that was shown at this year’s show. Since 2018, Chispah Arizona alone has registered 44,000 voters, and this year there have been 1.3 million calls for Arizona voters.
The change in Arizona will be felt in Washington as party leaders try to understand how they lost a state like Arizona, which was considered a Republican castle six years ago. The key question: Will the rise of a democratic organization in the state of Arizona become even more unattainable in the coming years?
I thought Arizona would be a real turning point in 2024, said Yassir Sanchez, an immigration lawyer who volunteered for the 2012 Republican campaign and worked for McCain’s re-election to the Senate in 2016, then left the Republican Party led by Trump and helped organize Latin American voters in Biden. Every time I heard it was before, I thought it was a wish.
Biden’s victory is the legacy of McCain, a resilient man from Arizona whose self-willed conservatism has supported a coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans for years. Trump and McCain had a tense relationship, and when the senator voted against the bill to repeal Obamacare, tensions exploded, prompting Trump to double his harassment attacks on the Republican senator even after his death in 2018. This, along with Trump’s comments about the military and veterans, has prompted McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, to support Biden, the support that made the front page of the state newspapers.
Republicans such as Chad Heywood, the former executive director of the Republican Party of Arizona, have argued that the victory of democracy does not bode well for significant changes in the state.
It was a purple state that seemed red during the Obama years, Heywood said, adding that while the president eventually lost the state by less than 3 percentage points, it wasn’t a massive change in Arizona.
But in 2014, Arizona was so faithfully recognized in red that a study by MIT and the University of California in Los Angeles called Mesa – a sprawling suburb east of Phoenix – the most conservative American city.
Ten years ago, if you wanted to be politically important and you wanted your voice to have influence, you were stupid to register as a Democrat because you couldn’t hire a candidate for certain positions, said Mayor John Giles, a Republican registered in an impartial office. And even then it was just a deliberate assassination by Republicans in general.
However, over the past decade Mesa – like much of the Phoenix area – has become more racist and politically diverse, prompting Giles to say that this is no longer the case. It’s extremely competitive.
According to Giles, the main reason is the relocation of people to the area – for example, Amy Shafer, who moved from Chicago to Biden in Phoenix in 2019.
I hope to change the state blue color, Schaefer said after the vote. Believe me, I tried to convert everyone I could.
Arizona may be changing thanks to people like Schaefer, but it’s also changing thanks to registered Republicans like Joe Hoodock, a 62-year-old computer technician from Phoenix who voted for Romney in 2012 and was a big McCain fan. But Hadok and his wife Chris voted for Biden in 2020.
It’s a dangerous asset for the country, Hudok said after the vote, days before the elections. Over the past four years, Republicans have shown their true colours. … I just wish there was a party in the middle.
Another reason the Democrats thought they could compete in Arizona was the coronavirus that shook the state in the summer, partly because of the state government’s decision to end their stay in May.
Prior to the rise of the coronavirus, national Republican officials told CNN that there was no doubt that Arizona was an important battlefield, but that they were not worried about Arizona turning blue.
The situation changed rapidly as the virus spread throughout the state, with more than 160,000 dead and 3600 in Marikopa County alone.
The effects of the virus were felt by Trump and Biden fans. Those who supported the president often gave him the advantage that he doubted the virus, claimed that he was an unjust aggressor and suggested that Biden was too willing to shut down the economy to control the virus. For many Biden supporters, the coronavirus was at first sight and many blamed Trump, often citing their personal experiences with the pandemic as a reason for their support for Biden.
The way Biden reacted to certain things (about the virus) gave me a different perspective on how important it was to him, said Nikki Towns, an 18-year-old Chandler resident who voted for Biden for the first time. About how Trump is dealing with the virus: I have a feeling he can’t handle it. He’s being ignored.
Biden’s victory in Arizona was not due to a lack of power adjustment. In 2020, the president organised seven events in the country. In the summer, Biden organized a post-Democratic National Convention, a bus tour in Maricopa in October.
For Slugocky, these visits did little to break the prism of voters’ attention to education, health care and the economy.
Clearly the voters wanted something new in Arizona. The voters were enthusiastic and passionate about voting. Elections in the Marikopa district are safe and transparent, the chairman of the district party said. Maricopa County has a bright future ahead of it, and I couldn’t be more proud.