The archconservative Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix has endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the first presidential debate.
If there were questions this summer that Arizona has become a swing state, this surprising answer puts a must win state for Republicans – which has been solidly red since becoming a state – into play for Democrats in 2016.
Arizona’s largest media outlet has never picked a Democrat for President since 1890. Not only did the Republic endorse Clinton because Trump is unfit for office, but their 1400 word endorsement is lengthy, absolutely comprehensive, filled with videos and even rejects the Republican embrace of racist immigration politics for the Democratic Party’s inclusive recipes to move America forward:
The Arizona Republic endorses Hillary Clinton for president. America needs to look ahead and build a new era of prosperity for the working class. This is Hillary Clinton’s opportunity. She can reach out to those who feel left behind. She can make it clear that America sees them and will address their concerns. She can move us beyond rancor and incivility.
As secretary of state, Clinton made gender equality a priority for U.S. foreign policy. This is an extension of Clinton’s bold “women’s rights are human rights” speech in 1995. It reflects an understanding that America’s commitment to human rights is a critically needed beacon in today’s troubled world.
Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down. Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads. That’s beneath our national dignity. When the president of the United States speaks, the world expects substance. Not a blistering tweet.
In fact, the Arizona Republic published such a lengthy editorial board statement that it’s easier to summarize their section headers, because these eight points made by the conservative newspaper answer many of the media’s lingering questions about both candidates.
- What Clinton has (and Trump doesn’t)
- Her flaws pale in comparison
- Whose hand do you want on the nuclear button?
- Arizona’s been there on immigration (it doesn’t work)
- Clinton’s equality vs. Trump’s lack of respect
- A centrist or a wild card?
- If a candidate can’t control his words
- Clinton’s opportunity to heal this nation
The Republic reserved its harshest criticism for Trump’s misadventure to Mexico City, then paired with an immigration speech in Phoenix. The Republican’s gamble failed, and the trip to our southern neighbor mushroomed into an international incident, spurring legislation which will prevent Mexico from ever paying for a border wall.
Even worse for Trump, the Arizona Republic’s unequivocal slam dunk of his mindless harsh immigration policies is a massive failure in the border state whose notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the most racist lawman in America.
Phoenix has voted the racist birther – who refuses to give up the witch hunt of President Obama like Trump claimed he would – into office since 1993, and it’s a place who prefers the most extreme solutions to immigration and loves racial profiling in law enforcement. The Republic roundly condemned Republican tropes demonizing Latinos in general and Mexicans in particular:
Contrast Clinton’s tenacity and professionalism with Trump, who began his campaign with gross generalities about Mexico and Mexicans as criminals and rapists. These were careless slaps at a valued trading partner and Arizona’s neighbor. They were thoughtless insults about people whose labor and energy enrich our country. Trump demonstrated his clumsiness on the world stage by making nice with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto only a few hours before appearing in Phoenix to deliver yet another rant about Mexican immigrants and border walls.
What’s more, Arizona went down the hardline immigration road Trump travels. It led our state to SB 1070, the 2010 “show me your papers” law that earned Arizona international condemnation and did nothing to resolve real problems with undocumented immigration. Arizona understands that we don’t need a repeat of that divisive, unproductive fiasco on the national level. A recent poll shows Arizonans oppose both more walls and the mass deportations Trump endorses. We need a president who can broker solutions.
There’s just a certain segment of American voters who will never ever change their minds based on facts, and so they’ll continue to vote Trump. But independent and undecided voters can trust the numerous factual reasons issued from sources like the Arizona Republic, who have no incentive to be nice to Hillary Clinton or institutional preference for Democrats.
If Hillary Clinton can win over so many Republicans with her leadership qualities and competent preparation for the job of President, the choice to vote for the Democratic nominee for America’s independent voters should be clear this November.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition