The Arizona G.O.P. Is Sticking With Trumpism, Whether Arizona Republicans Like It or Not
Added 01-19-21 05:40:03am EST - “Despite losing a Senate seat and seeing Joe Biden win the state, state party leaders in the land of Barry Goldwater and John McCain aren't switching gears. They're doubling down.” - Nytimes.com
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Despite losing a Senate seat and seeing Joe Biden win the state, state party leaders in the land of Barry Goldwater and John McCain aren’t switching gears. They’re doubling down.
In 2016, Arizona Republicans controlled both Senate seats and delivered a victory to Donald J. Trump. By 2020, they had lost each of those statewide elections, and Mr. Trump was one of only two Republican presidential candidates to lose the state in more than 50 years.
Instead, when the party leadership meets this weekend, the most pressing items on the agenda will be censuring three moderate Republicans who remain widely popular in Arizona. The all-but-certain state party scolding will not have any practical impact, but the symbolism is stark: a slap on the wrist for Cindy McCain, the widow of the Senator John McCain; former Senator Jeff Flake and Gov. Doug Ducey.
While some Republicans nationwide are beginning to edge away from Trumpism, Arizona is a case of loyalists doubling down, potentially dividing the party in fundamental and irreparable ways. The consequences could be particularly acute in a state that had long been a safe Republican bet, but that has seen a significant political shift in recent years, in large part because of both the increased political participation of young Latinos and the changing views of white suburban women.
The state party chair, Kelli Ward, who was first elected in 2019, announced that she would run for re-election only after speaking to Mr. Trump, who she said enthusiastically encouraged her. For months, Ms. Ward has sent out fund-raising appeals talking about what she calls the “stolen” election. Arizona’s state legislators have been frequent fixtures at “Stop the Steal” rallies in the state, pushing conspiracy theories and debunked fraud accusations. Two congressmen from the state helped plan the Jan. 6 rally in Washington which drew the mob that later stormed the Capitol. They have also written supportive statements about the rioters.
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