Thursday, February 27, 2014
Democracy In Arizona
The State Legislature passed a law which allowed businesses to refuse services to gays if doing so violated their religious beliefs. The Republican legislators put the Republican governor in a tough position. The bill was vigorously opposed by the Arizona business community. There was even a concern that the NFL might decide to move the Super Bowl, scheduled to be in Arizona next year, to another location. Nothing could be worse than that, even among supporters of the bill. Hosting the Super Bowl is worth a lot of money to the state, and hosting the Super Bowl is viewed as a stamp of national approval. In any case, the Governor vetoed the bill yesterday as expected. In doing so, however, she deepened the split in the Republican Party between establishment Republicans in the business community and Tea Party activists who control the State Legislature. When push comes to shove, the establishment, which funds the political campaigns, will usually win the battle. However, the GOP cannot win elections without the votes from the folks who elected the plebes in the state legislature. What's happening in Arizona is symptomatic of problems faced by the GOP in the rest of the country. It must maintain a delicate balance between the emotional energy of its social values oriented base and the GOP establishment.