More on the GOP’s “Bashing the Latinos” Program*
Here in Arizona, the City of Phoenix’s primary election cycle of the non-partisan mayoral race went smoothly yesterday, given that the city officials petitioned the Department of Justice for an exemption to the Voting Rights Act. As such, hundreds of voting locations across Phoenix were condensed to just 24 voting sites. Of course, the reduced budget stretch that the city is facing was the premise of the petition. Furthermore, the top two-vote getters will face off in the general election to be held in November. To wit, the race consisting of one Democrat and six Tea Party members were reduced to one Democrat and one Tea Party member.
However, here in Arizona, we have an Independent Redistricting Commission comprised of two Democrat, two Republicans and one Independent, does not sit well with the Republican Establishment, and in this instance, the State Attorney General and the Governor’s Office. Therefore, the State’s Attorney General filed a law suit of last Friday in which the state of Arizona is requesting of the Federal District Court in Washington D.C that Arizona must be exempted from having to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
And this does not sit well with me since I am an Arizonan and reside in our “racial and ethnic” community, writ large.
By way of background, in 1972, Arizona along with 8 states—Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, had not complied with the Voting Rights Act. Among this “criteria” was for having low voter turnout and not offering election materials in other languages, led to these states “getting busted.”
With this lawsuit, Arizona is challenging the constitutionality of sections of the federal law or a process that denies or limits someone’s right to vote based on race or color. Of course, the state’s attorney general is now on record that the original ‘criteria’ is no longer relevant or constitutional, and Arizona no longer needs the federal government’s scrutiny. Unfortunately for the Republicans—the AG and the Governor’s Office, need the approval of Congress for being removing from this list of the “egregious nine” and having a SCOTUS decision in hand, changes the political dynamics considerably, or so these Republicans believe.
However, the Voting Rights Act also includes provisions that Arizona must meet and that includes all tax increases must go before the voters, and the boundaries that impact school districts, legislative districts and congressional districts must receive prior approval from the Justice Department before being enacted into law.
As to the particulars with regard to tax increases, voters approved a “temporary” sales tax of one percent for a duration of three years. To date, the leadership team at the Republican-led state legislature is now on record that at the expiration date of this temporary sales tax, this sales tax will be made permanent and thusly, this ‘new’ revenue stream will become dedicated to “tax cuts” for the rich. And the appropriate legislation has been crafted and awaiting the legislative hopper once the expiration date arrives.
As to the district boundaries, the state legislature is “pushing” to have the school districts consolidated and eventually “prepped” to have the public schools “privatized” in the coming years. And as to the ‘redistricting’ of legislative and congressional districts, the “redrawing” of boundaries in 2001, was mired in politics of the worst kind. Therefore, the ‘intimidation” by the Republicans onto the Democrats was brutal, and this legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Voting Rights is also an “intimidation” tactic undertaken by the state’s attorney general. But if Arizona successful before the SCOTUS, this “egregious nine” will be “home free” politically speaking for their historical behavior for “Bashing the Latinos.”
Consequently, the Overton Window for the Republicans in Arizona consists of 16 years, since in 16 years, the majority of voters in Arizona will consist of “racial and ethnics” in contrast to the national Overton Window being 40 years, should the U.S. Census Bureau “demographic” assessments prove reasonably accurate.
In closing, Arizona’s Republicans are well aware of this political dilemma that is facing them, and are now scrambling to mount a more serious defense since they see themselves as the localized version of the Very Serious People and Latinos do not have as yet, the requisite votes to stop these hard charging Republicans. And the Independents are following closely while remaining hidden and well camouflaged in this wind stream of Republican dust.
As an aside and a final comment regarding our mayoral race. The population in Phoenix is 54% “racial and ethnic” and consequently, the overwhelming number of racial and ethnics voting and accounted for voted for the Democrat while the overwhelming white Democrats were under-whelmingly represented as voting for the Democrat.
*Cross Posted from the website of the Chicano Veterans Organization