Initial impressions on the Tuesday disaster:
1. Arizona is redder than ever. For decades seers have been predicting that newcomers would make politics here less conservative. Instead, the opposite has happened. Arizona has grown less competitive and more reactionary. Every major statewide office has been captured by Republicans for the second straight time (see official results here).
2. Ideology trumps logic. How does a nullity like Doug Ducey not only beat his Democratic challenger, a man with deep policy experience and good ideas, but do so by a commanding margin (nearly 54 percent to 43 percent)? The only answer I can come up with is that Ducey did the Aflac duck conservative quack and that was enough. It's not that voters are happy with conditions in Arizona. And the problems have been caused by decades of right-wing political and policy dominance. Ergo, vote for more of the same!
3. The great independent factor wasn't. Remember when the media were trumpeting the tidbit that independent voters outnumbered those of either party? But as polling research at Pew and elsewhere has shown, "independents" usually lean one direction or the other, whatever their twee affectation to independence of thought and judgment. In Arizona, most lean to the right.
4. The Hispanic wave (still) hasn't arrived. "Mexicans don't vote." Therefore, combined with gerrymandering and voter suppression, this phenomenon means Democrats will be waiting a very long time for Latino Salvation. An angry, old, white minority can rule in perpetuity. The apathy is especially startling considering how Anglo Arizona has been viciously racist against Hispanics, in a way not seen in much of Texas.
5. Most races aren't competitive. In almost every contest, the victor won handsomely, even in congressional districts gerrymandered to segregate Democrats who might otherwise put more districts within striking distance of blue victory. This is deeply unhealthy for representative government. Yes, it is a national problem. And supposedly Arizona has an independent redistricting process. But it is pronounced in Arizona. Also, Democrats didn't run candidates for many down-ticket races, even State Mine Inspector. Republicans have candidates right down to justices of the peace. You can't build a bench if you don't compete for school boards on up.
6. Phoenix is a (partly) blue island. At least city voters defeated Prop. 487, a despicable measure that would have replaced pensions for municipal workers with inferior 401(k) plans, one cloaked in the bodyguard-of-lies name "pension reform." Red America tends to be rural, exurban and suburban. Blue America is urban. Unfortunately, not enough of even the entire city of Phoenix has urban values, much less the suburbs. Fred DuVal and Terry Goddard lost in Maricopa County, the fourth most populous county in the nation.
Implications for the nation? Arizona is a solid New Confederacy State.
The implications for individuals who want to figure out a future in a nation controlled by the extreme, paranoid, science-denying right...that's a column for another day.