Well, the elections are over (except for the CD 2 recount) and my side lost in a big, ugly, painful way. I thought I'd give myself a couple weeks to absorb the results and try to find some perspective, but that didn't help. I simply can't imagine how it could have been any worse (except for maybe if Ann Kirkpatrick had lost in Congressional District 1). I have sat through similar nights—in 1980, 1994, and 2010—and marveled at how my fellow citizens could have such a narrow vision of the world around them, how they could vote out of fear rather than hope, how they could cling so desperately to a past that is destined to change (and a past that wasn't all that great to begin with).
I wasn't all that surprised by the Arizona results. The Governor-elect had unlimited money to pour into ads that made him look almost-human and somewhat-competent. That low threshold is apparently enough for a lot of Arizonans. Neither was I shocked at the Secretary of State race. Terry Goddard should do Democrats a favor and just stop running for stuff. He's like Jerry Quarry. That's an obscure reference. Jerry Quarry was a white Heavyweight boxer back in the Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier era. Of Quarry, who made a ton of money fighting—and losing to—top contenders, Richard Pryor famously said, "Jerry Quarry just loves to get beat up by (black folks)." There apparently isn't a statewide office that Goddard won't run for, and lose while doing so.
A lot people think that Goddard had no chance because his opponent's last name is Reagan. That name can't hurt, but, as Bob Dole and others have said, it's doubtful whether the sainted Ronald Reagan could get elected in this toxic political environment. After all, Ronald Reagan actually worked closely with Democrats on important issues of his day. He was an effective politician because he realized that Democrats were his opponents, not his enemies.
The one result that just killed me was the election of Diane Douglas to the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Everybody of consequence was against her candidacy. The Chamber of Commerce—which strays from the straight Republican ticket about once every Ice Age—supported her Democratic opponent, as did two Republicans who used to be schools superintendent. Still, you have to give credit where it's due. There aren't a whole lot of people who would run for an Education post on an anti-abortion platform.
Some critics are taking some flak for questioning Douglas's ... shall we say, intellect (or lack thereof). Have you heard her talk? The answer to that is probably no, since her handlers severely limited her public appearances during the race. It's like the early days of the Nixon White House when Americans would read the name Henry Kissinger, but never hear him talk. White House insiders didn't want him speaking in public lest the general reaction be, "Oh my God! He's Dr. Strangelove!"
Kissinger eventually did speak in public and, in doing so, confirmed everybody's worst fears.
I caught a snippet of an interview online and it turns out that Diane Douglas is the Vontaze Burfict of the Arizona Republican Party. Another sports reference; sorry. Vontaze Burfict, who is now in the National Football League, played collegiately for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He is quite likely the dirtiest player in the history of the Pac-12. The entire time that he was in Tempe, he never gave an interview, because, as well-verified rumor has it, he didn't excel in stringing words together to form recognizable sentences.
In the interest of chivalry and honesty, I must come to the defense of Diane Douglas in one matter. Critics have claimed that Douglas, who won her primary when incumbent John Huppenthal self-destructed after it was reported that he was the Ted Kaczynski of late-night of Internet posts and then won the general by brilliantly putting an "R" for Republican after her name, has never had any actual experience in education. This is simply not true. According to her bio, she once taught a class in how to make stained class. So, take that, you Haters!
As mentioned, Ann Kirkpatrick did manage to hang onto her seat in the congressional district that sprawls from the northern part of Pima County all the way up to Flagstaff and beyond. Raul Grijalva won again, as well, although his Republican opponent, Gaby Saucedo Mercer, did better than last time. If she runs against him four or five more times, it might get so close that he'll actually have to start campaigning.
In the Glass-Not-Totally-Empty Department, in a state that many other Americans look down upon as white-faced and red-necked, Arizona's delegation to the House of Representatives is still pretty evenly split with four Democrats and five Republicans. In the CD2 race, Ron Barber (who is not the most charismatic candidate) ran a strong race against the tidal wave of dark money and came thisclose to holding onto his seat in a district that tilts decidedly Republican.
I can't imagine that Martha McSally will do anything to distinguish herself in the 114th Congress. With a Presidential election drawing more people to the polls in 2016, there's a good chance that Democrats can take that seat back. Unless Terry Goddard runs for it.