The state of Arizona has never gone blue during election season with the majority vote favoring the Republican party as long as it has been a member of the United States of America. Arizona officially became a state in 1912, but its conservative leanings go back even farther than that. Not since 1890 has its largest newspaper endorsed a Democratic candidate for President – not until now that is.
In the 24 hours following the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the Arizona Republic has pledged its favor to Hillary Clinton, calling Trump unfit for the office of Commander in Chief and outlining exactly why Clinton is the better candidate in a 1000-word-plus editorial.
The Republic outlined Clinton’s stance on equality, Trump’s temperament, where the state stands on immigration reform, and more, as point-by-point, they made their case. Comparing the flaws of both major party candidates, Arizona’s top paper decided that Clinton’s flaws pale in comparison to Trump’s and that her hands on a nuclear launch button would be the steadiest and least likely to make an impulsive push.
Asserting that “America needs to look ahead and build a new era of prosperity for the working class,” and that the country needs “a president who can broker solutions,” they pay special attention to Trump’s previous campaign promise of building a wall between the United States and Mexico. As Trump went to Mexico to visit with officials there, he “made nice” with President Enrique Peña, but as the paper points out, immediately denounced Mexican immigrants at his next campaign stop, prompting confusion in the international press and cementing that no one in the Mexican government is going to be willing to help pay for his wall, a wall that, overwhelmingly, Arizona residents don’t want.
This is a huge move for Arizona, which has never truly been seen as a swing state before now. Arizona boasts a large number of Trump supporters in elected offices, like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who also happens to have a reputation for being one of the most racist law enforcement officials in the country. Phoenix has kept him in office since 1993. Arpaio is still on a personal quest to prove that Barack Obama should never have been allowed to become President, spurred on by Trump’s old claims that he wasn’t born in the U.S.A.
With officials like that in power, The Arizona Republic’s decision to endorse Clinton shows that the state might be more divided than previous elections have indicated, and that it will be a power grab for all the votes each candidate can get come Election Day.