The United States is about 15 months out from the November 2022 election. At this juncture, there is a lot of drama going on in this country and in the state of Arizona. Social media is awash with lies, conspiracy theories, outrage memes, and anti-science rhetoric on multiple topics. Mainstream news outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, and AZ Central attempt to point out factual inaccuracies, but it is next to impossible to keep up with the volume, when the liars include the former president, his attorney and many elected officials. [Hear this commentary at the beginning of my podcast, linked below.]
There is a segment of the Republican Party that still refuses to accept the results of the November 2020 election. President Joe Biden’s win in Arizona and the involvement of many Arizona elected officials in the “Stop the Steal” movement and the January 6 insurrection put our state in the vortex of the manufactured 2020 election controversy. For months, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senator Warren Petersen have drawn out the discredited audit of Maricopa County ballots by the Cyber Ninjas. The nation is watching as “fraudit” volunteers examine actual paper ballots to look for bamboo threads and watermarks and follow up on election conspiracy theories. Meanwhile millions of dollars is pouring in from outside sources to support these efforts and copycat efforts in other states to discredit fair elections that were audited multiple times. The Fann and Petersen fraudit is a dangerous game.
As if attacks on voting and democracy weren’t enough to deal with, the COVID 19 delta variant is running wild in science-denying, open-for-business red states like Arizona. Although multiple effective COVID19 vaccines are available for FREE to anyone 12 years old and older, far too many Americans have decided not to get vaccinated. This has stymied efforts to achieve a 70 percent nationwide vaccination rate and herd immunity. Nationwide, only 51% of Americans are fully vaccinated. In Arizona, 47% are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans had been enjoying a gradual return to dining out, having parties, going on dates, and getting hugs. To say the least, we the vaccinated are pretty upset with the unvaccinated laggards who are freely infecting each other with the COVID19 delta variant and causing another huge and totally preventable wave of the pandemic. They are putting not only themselves and their families at risk for disease and stressing the medical system, they are putting our young children and grandchildren at risk for COVID. The unvaccinated have chosen to believe the misinformation and conspiracies about COVID19, facemasks, and vaccines — rather than believe in the importance of public health and the clear evidence that COVID is DEADLY and that the vaccines are safe and effective. Currently, Arizona is seeing approximately 3000 new COVID cases per day. By far, most of the hospitalized and the dying are unvaccinated people.
As Republicans wrangle over the 2020 election and facemasks, groups of grassroots activists are busily circulating petitions to stop several bad bills that were passed by the Republican Legislators and signed by the governor. The goal is to garner enough signatures to stop these laws from going into effect now. This process would allow voters to decide in the 2022 election if they want preemption of local control regarding mask and vaccine mandates; if they want a Flat Tax to benefit the rich; if they want an alternative tax that allows business owners to avoid the Prop 208 Invest in Ed fee; if they want to protect early voting and mail-in ballots; and much more. In addition, multiple lawsuits are being filed against the State of Arizona because of unjust or unconstitutional laws passed by the Republicans in 2021.
Arizona is at the precipice. The decisions we make today about the pandemic, about our democracy, and about our government will have long-lasting ramifications.
Given this tumultuous climate, the 2022 election will be a wild ride.
A surprising number of people have filed statements of interest to run for office in Arizona in 2022. Plus, redistricting of Legislative and Congressional districts before the election adds another level of uncertainty to the political climate.
I see both challenges and opportunities ahead for Democrats and Progressives. We must choose wisely and work hard in order to prevail in 2022. Arizona would have a completely different government – and a different future for our children– if Democrats took the governor’s office and took the Legislature for the first time in decades.
In my opinion, this is the perfect time to start a political podcast and report on the action. Welcome to the premier episode of “A View from the Left Side.”
Two of my Blog for Arizona colleagues, Managing Editor Michael Bryan and Larry Bodine joined me for the first episode of my podcast. The podcast begins with a commentary. The political banter starts at about 7 minutes.
My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.