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How will Arizona serve as an indicator on the coming election day

Following the results of this year’s Super Tuesday all eyes have now shifted to Arizona as one of the last key states to decide how the political pendulum will swing in the final presidential election. The final two candidates seem to be set with Nickli Haley dropping out of the Republican race leaving the spot fully open for the taking from former president Donald Trump. Biden also seems to have secured nearly full support from the democratic party facing little opposition from any rival candidates. 


Arizona will have its presidential primary on March 19 but with the two main candidates seemingly set in stone, the question remains, how will Arizona swing come November? We heard from AP US Government teacher and Social Studies Department Chair Ms. Kelly Guffey on the matter. 


Arizona’s future presidential candidate remains unclear considering the state’s history with a shifting majority party now that the state has become a battleground between the two parties. Excluding Biden’s victory in 2020 in the last 70 years Arizona has only ever had one Democrat win the state, Bill Clinton. 


From a disjointed look at its history, Arizona was a firm red state for much of its history but looking back one can clearly see the gradual shift towards a more purple state. As Ms. Guffey said, “We’ve been trending to more purple since the ‘80s. It’s just been slow and gradual that way so the republican domination didn’t switch to be purple but it was trending that for a long time”.  


In Arizona, Every single election, since the Clinton v Dole race in 1996 has been a toss-up decision. Most victories were only achieved with a 5% or less difference in votes. Even if Republican candidates seemingly dominated the polls in recent decades, it never was a landslide victory. 


Additionally, the fact that Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states greatly contributes to the shifting of the political landscape. People in more liberal neighboring states like Colorado, New Mexico, and especially California have gradually moved to Arizona over the years and that has slowly changed the party majority over time. 


Many Arizona voters also champion the idea of more moderate conservatism with John McCain being the face of Arizonan politics since his election to the Senate in 1982. This likely contributed to Biden’s victory in 2020 as Trump holds a very staid far-right conservative persona.  


As Ms. Guffey said, “There is a significant portion of the Republican Party in Arizona that don’t like Trump, and Trump and his supporters in Arizona have not been doing anything to appeal to moderate voters, so they’re alienating McCain voters and saying we don’t want McCain voters in our party anymore.” 


With Arizona’s recent history and gradual decline in far-right conservatism, how will the card fall come November of this year? With Trump’s descent from moderate Republicanism and Biden’s general unfavorability among voters, Arizona’s official presidential candidate remains unclear. With issues like immigration and abortion ringing in the minds of Arizona voters the gravity of this election is starting to weigh on people. 


As an early prediction, Ms. Guffey commented in favor of another victory for Biden saying, “It’s really hard to predict right now because there is so much that can happen between now and the election but I think if I were to try to pick the winner right now I would say that Biden is going to win in Arizona for the same reasons as last time.”


According to Ms. Guffey, “Trump as a personality is a love-or-hate type person and he really likes to play up that personality. Arizona’s Republican party tends to be a little more Libertarian than other states’ Republican parties. So the abortion issue, specifically libertarians generally do not want abortion regulations and Trump has said some more Authoritarian-type things that turn off that portion of our conservative movement.” 


As both candidates continue to build their cases for Arizona the citizens of the state are gathering the information that they need to cast their vote. 

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Charlie Richards
Charlie Richards, Staff Writer
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