It wasn’t that long ago, the daily newspaper was rife with editorials, columns, contrivances and a variety of other machinations passing themselves off as reports, pushing what it termed the “non-partisan,” or “Top Two” Primary. In a nutshell, the scheme does away with party aligned voters selecting their own candidates to run in the General Election. The ideal scenario of the leftists at the newspaper would have the “Top Two” both Democrats, restricting voter’s choices to liberal or liberal. Swell for the leftists at the newspaper, bad for the rest of us.
There have been other such schemes over the years. The warm and fuzzy sounding “Home Rule,” included provisions to appoint all county “line officers” as they were dismissively called, including the County Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer and School Superintendent. Though its intent was to eliminate citizen’s ability to vote for these and other county officials —- turning the immense appointment power over to the Board of Supervisors —- it was promoted as merely a “housekeeping” budgetary provision. Arizona voters caught on quickly as did the elected office holders, both successfully pushing back against this ruse.
Now the slippery tricksters at the Fish Wrap have taken the editorial route again to advocate for appointing the five members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, charged among numerous other tasks, with regulating utility rates. Ambiguous language is its tool in trade and denials of hazy allegations are flippantly dismissed. Regardless of the specious reasons the newspaper puts forward for taking away the vote of the people —- this time —- the actual reason is purely political. Commissioners Tom Forese, Doug Little, Bob Stump, Bob Burns and Chairman Susan Bitter Smith have one thing in common that rankles the folks at the Arizona Republic: They are all Republican. So are the Maricopa County elected officeholders with the exception of a single County Supervisor.
In July 2012 columnist Robert Robb candidly exposed the Republic’s angst regarding the Top Two. His words apply to the latest crusade to remove our vote:
“A little honesty and sobriety is in order about the top-two primary system initiative that apparently will be on the November ballot. The purpose of the initiative should be stated plainly and bluntly: It is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in Arizona. The rhetoric used to sell it will be more lofty. There will be a pretense of deploring extremism on both sides of the political divide. But what’s driving the initiative isn’t a concern that the Democrats who get elected in Arizona are too liberal. It’s a call-to-arms reaction to a bone-deep belief that the Republicans who run Arizona are too conservative.”
No wonder the liberals get testy.