Ah, I remember those palmy days when Hillary was going to win Arizona, when Donald Trump's vicious attacks on Mexicans would awaken the sleeping giant of the Hispanic vote. I was skeptical and shamed for that thoughtcrime on Facebook (from which I am taking a holiday).
Reality shows that Trump won 49.5 percent of the vote in Arizona vs. 45.4 percent for Clinton. She won only four counties (Apache, Coconino, Pima, and Santa Cruz). Significantly, Trump carried Maricopa County, the state's most populous and, after its fashion, urbanized. Trump won nearly 6 percent fewer votes here compared with Mitt Romney in 2012, but metro Phoenix was one of very few major metropolitan areas that went plurality red. Most went resoundingly majority blue. The New Confederacy is solidly anchored in Arizona.
Now it's time to pay the piper. Will America merely come to be more like Arizona over the next four, eight, or unlimited number of years? No the consequences will be more serious and disastrous than most can imagine, certainly not those living in Brightsideistan. So, some early looks at Arizona vulnerabilities:
• The Affordable Care Act. Trump and, especially, the Republican Congress have vowed to repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement. Arizona was one of the few red states to take part. As a result, nearly 180,000 Arizonans were covered by the ACA in 2016. If repeal happens, they will have no health insurance.
• Universities. If Trump carries out his consistent campaign promises to severely curtail immigration and slap big tariffs on Chinese goods, the results could be catastrophic for Arizona universities. Thousands of foreign students could stop coming here, with the loss of tens of millions of dollars in tuition. In addition, austerity from the GOP Congress has been hurting research funding for universities. Only President Obama has kept university R&D money coming. With Republicans completely in control, universities — already starved of state funding — could see a huge loss of money from Washington.
• Exports. Trump's vow of tariffs that could start a trade war and a shredding of the existing global trade arrangements that would put us into perilous unknown territory. Arizona punches well below its weight in trade, ranking only 19th in merchandise exports while ranking 14th in population. Still, merchandise exports represented $22 billion for the state economy last year. Exports create higher-paid jobs, too. Twenty-five percent are in semiconductors, especially from Intel. Nearly 20 percent come from transportation equipment, from such firms as Boeing, a company Trump especially dislikes. Trump has singled out Arizona's largest trading partner, Mexico, for enmity. And don't forget who will disproportionately pay for a trade war with China: the white working class shopping at Wal-Mart.
• Immigration. Aside from upending trade policy, Trump's other consistent campaign promise has been to deport illegal aliens and build a "wall" on the southern border. If he follows through — and his base will insist — the lives of thousands of productive people in Arizona will be made more miserable. We will have a Joe Arpaio in the White House, with all the power of the national security establishment and Deep State at his disposal. In addition to moral issues, this will hit at the heart of the state's "workforce in the shadows." SB 1070 made the Great Recession worse by driving out workers. Here we go again.
Cities. Trump lost most big cities and, although he's from New York, he and the Republican Congress can be expected to wage war on them. Why else would he name the spectacularly unqualified Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development? From their density and economic power to their tolerance and diversity, big cities represent everything Republicans hate. Washington has assisted big cities throughout the Obama administration. One example is TIGER grants for transportation. Say goodbye to all that, with retrograde moves in everything from federal grants for light rail (WBIYB) to undermining the Fair Housing Act. No wonder Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has taken the (in Arizona) risky stance of publicly opposing Trump.
• Water. The Trump administration is shaping up to be a junta of generals, billionaires, and incompetents. The President-elect is proudly ignorant. Count on him to name people to such critical-to-the-West positions as Interior Secretary either tools or fools, This will be bad news for a Southwest wrestling with a water crisis, especially an oversubscribed Colorado River.
• Public lands. With the Bundy and Malheur refuge welfare cowboys as their vanguard, Republicans harbor the ambition of privatizing the people's lands, our common inheritance meant to be conserved for future generations. Another way the scam would work is to cloak it as "returning" the lands to the states (to which they never belonged). Either way, from BLM lands to National Parks and National Forests, all of Arizona's most treasured places will be at risk. Don't expect a Trump Supreme Court to stand in the way.
• Climate. The existential danger facing the planet is denied by the President-elect and the Republican Party. So if you voted for Trump or made a protest gesture on Election Day, you voted to kill the planet. No place in America, short of perhaps Florida, is at greater peril from climate change than Arizona. Too bad for us. Let the Sun Corridor roll! Let's climb Camelback on a 110-degree day!
• Federal competence and compromise. The federal government made modern Arizona possible (the Army forcing peace on the indigenous tribes, reclamation, land-grant railroads, highways, airports) and repeatedly saved it during crises (the New Deal, Cold War defense industries, subsidies for housing and sprawl). Arizona is also one of the top moocher states, getting back far more money than it pays in taxes. But the Republicans not only don't believe in gub'ment, but have spent more than 35 years trying to undermine its capacity to act. Now they will have every lever or power, and government-dependent Arizona will be especially slammed.
Considering the destruction this historically unfit man could visit on us — nuclear war, autocracy, fascism — this may seem like small bitter potatoes. But they will be sliced and fried and force-fed to Arizona. See how they taste. A plurality of you voted for it.