The Tucson election system is just like Jim Crow. That’s right. Next thing, we’ll hear that poor, beleaguered Republicans are being lynched by mobs of hooded Democrats.
Give me an effin’ break.
The latest meme among Arizona conservatives is that the current election system in Tucson is comparable to elections systems in the Deep South that were designed to disenfranchise African Americans. Oh please. The system has already survived earlier court challenges. The funny part is, the argument in the past has been that it has disenfranchised the largely Republican (and white) East Side.
Does the system now disenfranchise minority voters? Far from it, the current system means that Hispanic voters on the West and South Side have a vote on all members of the council. This effects the way both parties run their races: Democratic candidates work hard to get turn out up in those areas, while Republicans, at least the ones that win, play up connections to the Hispanic community. Two of the Republicans that are running this year are Hispanic, and Fred Ronstadt’s first campaign featured brags on his Hispanic background. Would a candidate that only has to run in a ward that is overwhelmingly white make any more than a shallow play for Hispanic votes?
Another thing, the argument for local control here has been compared to the anti-Civil Rights arguments of the 1960′s. There is a huge difference: the officials arguing this in the 60′s were systematically oppressing their citizens in violation of the constitution, federal law, supreme court rulings and basic human decency. The Tucson election system is constitutional and it is hard to argue that oppresses anyone except those that are angry about losing a city wide election. Only the most blindly partisan wouldn’t be able to see the difference.