I Think We Have a Talking Point

There’s that bit in the Arlo Guthrie song “Alice’s Restaurant” when he declares that three people singing in unison is a movement.

So, what about two similarly themed alarmist communiques from local Republican pooh bahs? A talking point, of course!

Below is the latest missive screed from member of the local Republican szlachta, John Munger. In it, he declares that Tucson is just like Selma circa 1959. He even goes so far as saying that “uppity” Republicans like him are being punished.

Yeah, he said “uppity.”

I usually try to have a hearty laugh at conservatives calling themselves victims. But Bruce Ash and John Munger claiming to be just like the guys that got their heads bashed in on the Edmund Pettus Bridge? There is something downright vomit inducing about a couple wealthy white guys making that comparison.

Munger, Ash and company can bloviate about the unfairness all they want, but the system Tucson has has survived several court challenges and Justice Department scrutiny (under both Republican and Democratic administrations). Also, the system elected in recent years Steve Kozachik, Kathleen Dunbar and Fred Ronstadt. All of them won city wide and all representing very Democratic wards that it is doubtful any could have been elected in. The dissatisfaction that elected Kozachik came close to electing two more Republicans, and could have had the local party been better organized to support their candidates. Heck, they might have done better in one race if they had recruited a decent candidate rather than making random phone calls to track down someone that would fill the ballot line.

The funny part is, if we went to a ward only system, you’d have four bulletproof wards likely electing very liberal candidates who would have no reason to moderate because they would never need to appeal to more conservative East Side voters. If that ever happened, Ash and Munger would likely come up with another whiny argument about how unfair life is to them and their buddies down at the country club.

Munger’s silliness is after the jump:

What do Post-Civil War Selma, Alabama, and current Tucson, Arizona, have in common? In Post-Civil War Selma, the Democrat Party manipulated its electoral system to discriminate against Blacks, and to eliminate any significant chance they might be elected to local office. They did this by holding all elections City-wide, instead of by Wards, so that the SAME City-wide majority would elect ALL CANDIDATES. Election by Wards might have permitted local Black favorites in various Wards to be elected, but the majority of White racists did not want that to happen. They wanted all White officials. So they manipulated their system so that the SAME White majority would elect ALL candidates. THUS, NO MINORITY CANDIDATES.

This was a Tyranny Of The Majority. No rights whatever for minorities.

While the Federal government outlawed this system in the deep South in the Voting Rights Act, that law was written (probably with the help of local Dem leader Mo Udall) so it did not apply to Tucson, WHICH HAD THE SAME DISCRIMINATORY LAWS.

Yep. Tucson still has the old Jim Crow electoral laws which discriminate against minorities by requiring EVERY candidate to be elected by the SAME OLD CITY-WIDE MAJORITY. No Ward elections that might allow independent voices to be heard in good old Tucson. Of course, this system is not used to discriminate only against racial minorities today—it is mostly used to eliminate any chance that REPUBLICANS might be elected. The old Dem cabal wouldn’t want any independent voices to arise from the Wards, so Wards are not permitted to elect their own candidates. Nope, all Ward candidates are elected by—you got it—the same old City-wide Dem Majority.

Pretty cool, eh? And when the State legislature passed a law making this corrupt system illegal, the Dem machine (i.e., the City) jumped into action and filed suit to stop it. Wouldn’t want fair elections in Tucson. No, suh! Don’t want those Republicans gettin’ uppity.

If you love being part of the the old Jim Crow South, you should love Tucson. The Good Ole Dem Machine continues to thrive here using that good old Tyranny of their Majority. Baja Arizona? Be very ashamed!!

13 thoughts on “I Think We Have a Talking Point

  1. Above, Tedski writes “the dissatisfaction that elected Kozachik came close to electing two more Republicans.”

    It didn’t come *that* close. Shaun McClusky lost his Ward Five race by 4,573 votes, a margin of 6.4%. The margin by which Kozachik won was less than half that, at about 2.5%. Neither won Wards 1, 3, 5 or 6, nor did Ben Buehler-Garcia, whose losing race was the closet at 175 votes—less than a quarter of a percent.

    Interestingly, a partisan ward-only system wouldn’t necessarily guarantee Republicans a lock on Wards Two or Four, though they have a thin registration advantage in the latter. Rodney Glassman, in his 2007 run, won both. But it would put Wards Six and Three out of practical reach for the GOP, and it would make One and Five impossible.

    Nonpartisan elections is a famously awful idea among the Tucson electorate. But partisan ward-only elections might be acceptable to Tucsonans, and intuitively seem more fair. If this Council were to unanimously send this charter change to the ballot alone, without tucking it into yet another SALC bundle of bullshit, it might actually pass.

  2. The generally accepted theory on why we’ve elected as many Republican Mayors as we have in the last few generations has to do with the 1960 charter change that created the current, “staggered” election system in which half the Wards plus the Mayor alternate in two-year cycles with the other wards, so that no more than half of a council can be turned over in a single election.

    For the Republicans, it has a hidden perk: Wards Two and Four, with which the Mayor always runs, are the city’s most heavily Republican. So turnout is typically such that it heightens their chances of electing a Republican Mayor.

    Vote-by-mail will lessen this phenomenon, as it appears to improve turnout everywhere, which is not to the Republicans’ advantage. Then again, neither is having Rick Grinnell for a candidate.

  3. Ted,

    This is a bad battle for you to fight as you will lose everytime. The current system Tucson has in place violates the 1965 voting rights act. We are the only city in the state that has this system and for good reason. It originated in the deep south as a “Jim Crow” form of government to allow the white voters to maintain control of the city. The reason we still have this form of government in Tucson we were grandfathered by the 65 ACT. Douglas, AZ had our system, changed and then tried to come back to city wide and was stopped by the Feds. If Tucson ever changed they could never come back. The Democratic voters realize any change could mean they lose the steele grip they have on city government. Just as this system was used to control the blacks in the deep South it is now being used to control the city of Tucson.

  4. I have always voted for Mayor based on who was running. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Behavior in office plays a role in whether they get the vote the next time out. Pure logic does not apply in mayoral elections.

  5. Walt & friends,

    I’m saying this to be nice: this narrative is in no way a winner.

    As for the Voting Rights Act, remember: it exists to prevent the disenfranchisement of ethnic minorities, not Republicans. Its bearing on Tucson’s elections was recently tested. The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in Tucson’s favor in its fight over whether the legislature has the right to impose changes to our system. They wrote in their opinion: “the legislative hearings make it clear that these amendments were an attack on the city’s form of government rather than any attempt to protect the state’s opportunity to bailout from the preclearance requirements of the (Voting Rights Act).”

    So there.

    It sounds like John Munger and Bruce Ash are both grasping at the philosophical notion of a “tyranny of the majority,” an elegant 19th Century idea introduced by by Alexis de Tocqueville and important to the writings of John Stuart Mill. This idea, a hundred years or so later, became a source of great confusion to flattering political novelist Ayn Rand, who thought democracy itself was a kind of institutionalized tyranny over individuals’ rights. Tocqueville and Mill were concerned with what society might do to democracy. Rand has it the other way around, and I think you fellas—Walt, Bruce, John—do too. You’re not worried about threats to democracy. You’re just worried about what it might do.

    Here’s what’s really wrong with the GOP’s fortunes in Tucson city elections: there are about 100,000 Democrats and about 53,000 Republicans. That’s not “tyranny of the majority,” it’s just a really big majority. And we still regularly elect Republicans. We just don’t do so a majority of the time, or in a majority of the Wards. Nor would we in a ward-only system, or without vote-by-mail.

    What the Pima GOP really needs, if it wants its electoral prospects in Tucson to improve, is better candidates.

  6. I disagree, Ted. I think this is exactly like Selma ’65, and I for one can’t wait to turn a firehose on some Republican schmucks.

  7. Bored,
    The 1965 voter rights act was not recently tested. The Legislatures ability to include charter cities in certain legislation was, at the appelate level. This will be going to the AZ State Supreme Court in the very near future “so it ain’t over till it’s over”. The hold up is a State section 5 challenge.

  8. I agree with Walt. Tucson’s system unfairly discriminates against affluent white men who don’t live in the city.

  9. And the democrat party unfairly attempts to cram as many Hispanic voters as possible into a few districts so white union liberals can take the rest of the spoils. Nothing has really much changed with the democrat party in decades has it Tedski ? Still trying to screw with the voters.

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