The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton within one point of Donald Trump in Arizona. You read that right. This is in line with a polling average from Real Clear Politics, which even had Clinton slightly ahead during and after both parties' conventions.
Is it possible that Hillary could flip Arizona to the Democrats? After all, her husband won the state in 1996. I am skeptical.
Bill Clinton won in a very different Arizona. The state was still competitive for Democrats and "experts" predicted that continued population growth would favor the party. Arizona's population expanded by 40 percent in that decade, but it was the "big sort," where people came seeking ideological co-religionists. It was almost entirely on the right. With the exception of the surprise election of St. Janet in 2002 and hopes for her "sensible center," Arizona politics trended ever more rightward. Today not a single statewide office is held by a Democrat.
From the 1980s on, Republicans patiently took control of school boards, municipal offices, tightened their control of the Legislature and Corporation Commission, built a massive infrastructure including fake "think tanks," the charter school racket, private prison racket, and the aid of the Real Estate Industrial Complex. The Democrats never knew what hit 'em. The best Napolitano could do was play defense.
In our Cold Civil War, with the nation more divided than any time since the eve of the Civil War, Arizona sits comfortably in the New Confederacy. I can still start a fight on Facebook by praising light rail (WBIYB).