Why did the Arizona Republic switch sides after 120 years?

photo by The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic, founded in 1890, is the daily newspaper of Phoenix, and the largest newspaper in Arizona.

The Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democrat for president.  Ever. They did NOT endorse JFK, Woodrow Wilson, or FDR. (They REALLY didn’t like FDR.) For 120 years, they have exclusively endorsed only Republican candidates for president.

In short, the Arizona Republic is a conservative paper in a conservative state.

This year, for a number of reasons, they are not endorsing Donald Trump.  I would like to invite you to take a close look at the carefully considered reasons for this break from their heritage…

On Temperament…

“The challenges the United States faces domestically and internationally demand a steady hand, a cool head and the ability to think carefully before acting. Hillary Clinton understands this. Donald Trump does not.”

“[Clinton] has withstood decades of scrutiny so intense it would wither most politicians. The vehemence of some of the anti-Clinton attacks strains credulity.Trump hasn’t even let the American people scrutinize his tax returns, which could help the nation judge his claims of business acumen.”

On Clinton’s Flaws…

“She has made serious missteps. Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State was a mistake. … Donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of State raise concerns that donors were hoping to buy access.”

“Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice. She does not casually say things that embolden our adversaries and frighten our allies. … 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.”

On Foreign Policy…

“[Clinton] is intimately familiar with the challenges we face in our relations with Russia, China, the Middle East, North Korea and elsewhere. She’ll stand by our friends and she’s not afraid to confront our enemies.”

“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.”

On Immigration…

“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. … We need a president who can broker solutions.”

On Human Rights…

“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.”

“Trump’s long history of objectifying women and his demeaning comments about women during the campaign are not just good-old-boy gaffes. They are evidence of deep character flaws. They are part of a pattern.”

“Trump mocked a reporter’s physical handicap. Picked a fight with a Gold Star family. Insulted POWs. Suggested a Latino judge can’t be fair because of his heritage. Proposed banning Muslim immigration. Each of those comments show a stunning lack of human decency, empathy and respect. Taken together they reveal a candidate who doesn’t grasp our national ideals.”

On Supreme Court Nominations…

“Many Republicans … shudder at the thought of Hillary Clinton naming Supreme Court justices. So they stick with Trump. We get that. But we ask them to see Trump for what he is — and what he is not. Trump’s conversion to conservatism is recent and unconvincing. There is no guarantee he will name solid conservatives to the Supreme Court.”

“Hillary Clinton has long been a centrist. Despite her tack left to woo Bernie Sanders supporters, Clinton retains her centrist roots. Her justices might not be in the mold of Antonin Scalia, but they will be accomplished individuals with the experience, education and intelligence to handle the job. They will be competent. Just as she is competent.”

On Trump’s Lack of Control

“Trump’s inability to control himself or be controlled by others represents a real threat to our national security. His recent efforts to stay on script are not reassuring. They are phony. The president commands our nuclear arsenal. Trump can’t command his own rhetoric.”

“Were he to become president, his casual remarks — such as saying he wouldn’t defend NATO partners from invasion — could have devastating consequences.” … Trump suggested Russia engage in espionage against Hillary Clinton — an outrageous statement that he later insisted was meant in jest. Trump said President Obama and Hillary Clinton were ‘co-founders’ of ISIS, then walked that back by saying it was sarcasm. It was reckless. Being the leader of the free world requires a sense of propriety that Trump lacks.”

On Trump’s Appeal…

“We understand that Trump’s candidacy tapped a deep discontent among those who feel left behind by a changed economy and shifting demographics. Their concerns deserve to be discussed with respect. Ironically, Trump hasn’t done that. He has merely pandered. Instead of offering solutions, he hangs scapegoats like piñatas and invites people to take a swing.”

“In a nation with an increasingly diverse population, Trump offers a recipe for permanent civil discord. In a global economy, he offers protectionism and a false promise to bring back jobs that no longer exist.”

“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.”


So for the first time, The Arizona Republic is endorsing a Democrat.  For all the reasons above, they are endorsing Hillary Clinton.  Those are just the highlights, you can read the entire endorsement here:


Are you ready for some …. politically charged racist nonsense, before getting on with a completely pointless game of …. football?

I suppose you’ve been wondering when I would get around to saying something about Colin Kaepernick and his sit-down protest of the national anthem.  Well, I was really hoping we could let this one slide past, but some of you just won’t let it go, on both sides, so… Here we go.  In no particular order, here are a few random thoughts on Mr. Kaepernick’s 15 minutes of infamy…

First, regardless of what I or anyone thinks of what he has to say, he absolutely has the right to say it.  We have freedom of speech in this country for a reason. If you want to live in a country where everyone is forced to stand for the national anthem, move to North Korea.  We stand by choice, out of respect.  That is as it should be.  If there is no choice it is a meaningless gesture.

Second, by the same token, if someone is disrespectful, of anything, you have every right to criticize it.  First amendment protection only protects oneself from the government, not from the opinions of individuals.  Speech has consequences.  Our first amendment simply guarantees that one of those consequences is not prison.

Third, and more to the heart of the matter, I respect Kaepernick’s desire to protest, but I think he is an absolute idiot for choosing the method he did.

Yes, an idiot.  Here’s why…

In a nutshell, his protest accomplishes nothing.  Nothing.  We have gotten so caught up in HOW he is protesting, that no one is talking about WHAT he is protesting.  His protest started a dialog alright, but it’s entirely the wrong dialog.  It is not just ineffective, it is a distraction from the dialog we should be having.

The simple fact is, black people are disproportionately more likely to be stopped, searched, detained, and arrested than white people.  They are more likely to be convicted, and are more likely to serve longer sentences.  Those facts are clear.  (Go look them up, if you like… I’ll wait.)  What is not entirely clear is whether, once stopped by the police, blacks are more likely to be injured or killed by the police than whites, but even if the rate of injury or death is the same, as one study suggests, the fact remains that they are stopped, and thus subjected to that possibility, disproportionately more often.

Regardless of the reasons, regardless of the perceptions, regardless of anecdotal evidence, the fact is that the black experience in their relationship to the police, and to the criminal justice system, is very different than the white experience.  This is the conversation we should be having.  This is what the protests should be all about.  But no, everyone’s bent about whether or not athletes should stand before a ball game.  Standing, sitting, or taking a knee is not the problem.  Nor is it the solution.  It is nothing but a distraction, and focusing on it does no one any good.

If I had any advice to offer Kaepernick (like he would have any idea who I am), it’s this.  There are other ways to start the dialog we both know needs to happen, so stop freaking out the white people, stand up, and find another way to make your point.

Third, I’ve heard a lot of people say that he has no right to complain, because he was raised by a wealthy white family, has lived a life of privilege, and is paid millions of dollars to play a game.  I’ve heard him called a whiny, ungrateful, spoiled little brat.  And worse…

This notion that, just because one has not personally experienced oppression, that one cannot protest on behalf of the oppression of others, I find this notion deeply disturbing.   This idea that I cannot complain about the unjust treatment of others, simply because I have had the good fortune to live a life or relative ease, I find personally insulting.

You do realize right, he is not protesting on behalf of himself, he is protesting on behalf of the millions of nameless, faceless people who do not have weekly exposure on national television.  If the people who enjoy celebrity will not speak out for those without a voice, who will?  Those of us who are fortunate enough to have used our skills and talents to achieve a level of success, do we not have a responsibility to advocate for those who have been less fortunate?

Personally, I believe we do.  That is why you will find me here often, complaining about things that do not affect me personally.  I believe Colin Kaepernick does too.  I just think he chose an unfortunate and ineffective way of going about it.

I hope he changes his approach soon, his current “protest” isn’t doing anyone any good.

Let’s Talk About Who We’re Voting For…

I know, it’s taboo, but…this year is the year that breaks all the rules.  Any other year, if you asked, I might tell you who I liked or didn’t like.  Any other year I might just as likely tell you it’s none of your goddamn business.  And any other year I could not possibly care one whit who you were voting for.  But, this year is different, so let’s talk about it.

I have always been registered as an Independent. I strongly lean Republican on economic and defense issues, but could never abide their desire to restrict personal freedom on social and religious issues. As a result I tend to vote Republican more often than not.

At the presidential level, I have only once not voted Republican, and that was to vote 3rd party (a deeply disappointing experience). This year would have been no different, I was prepared to hold my nose and vote for any of the other 17 Republican candidates, except one. Yes, even Ted Cruz, as repugnant as I find him, as any of those 17 were preferable to Hillary Clinton. Except one.

Additionally, I have never before publicly advocated for or endorsed any candidate. I would make general comments about any candidate, or more often about specific issues, but I was never one to publicly support any particular candidate.  For any office.  This year would have been no different, had the Republican party nominated any of their 17 candidates, except one.

But, that didn’t happen. This year IS different. It is fundamentally different. This year it is NOT about politics. It is about principle. It is about who we are as a people. It is about the survival of the Republic as we know it. I may be powerless to prevent it, but I will not knowingly be a part of the destruction of our society. I cannot and will not remain quiet about this. I can only apologize in advance if you’re tired of hearing it.

This year I will very likely do the unthinkable. I will very likely vote for Hillary Clinton, and I will urge others to consider doing the same. For the survival of the Republic. For the survival of our principles. For the survival of the American ideal. For the survival of who we are. And yes, I am fully prepared to accept the consequences if she wins.

If you cannot bring yourself to do the same, know that I while I understand, I beg you, I implore you, at least consider Gary Johnson. He really is the better choice, and a strong third party showing would do wonders for our political system, if anything is to remain of it after this year. Who knows, by November, I may even convince myself to join you.