Michael Bryan, the founder of Blog for Arizona and Larry Bodine, President of Democrats of Greater Tucson, appeared on the March 12, 2022, edition of the John C. Scott Political Forum on KVOI radio, 1040 on the AM channel.
John C. Scott: You’re listening to the John C. Scott political forum.
Larry Bodine: If there ever was a time to get active in local politics. It’s right now. This is Larry Bodine, President of Democrats of Greater Tucson. I’m calling on you to activate yourself by joining us and helping to elect Democrats, just Google Democrats of Greater Tucson and click on join. Now you’ll be part of a dynamic organization of activists.
Don’t miss this chance to make a difference. Activate yourself today with Democrats of Greater Tucson.
John C. Scott: This is the John C. Scott political forum this Saturday, March 12. Thank you so much. Appreciate your being a part of our show. Michael Bryan is the founder of the Blog for Arizona, and he joins us now.
Let’s talk about this legislature. Arizona weighs an abortion ban at 15 weeks. And abortion efforts in the legislature are as severe as I’ve ever seen. In addition, you’ve got [00:01:00] anti-election protection legislation almost every day that will affect not only early balloting but also maybe do away with it in Arizona. But it will also make it impossible for an initiative effort where the people that are Arizona can write the laws of the state, as was provided in the founding of the constitution of the state of Arizona. This is the most straight right-wing legislature that I viewed in almost a decade, if not more. And I’ve seen a lot of right-wing legislatures. It’s frightening, is it not Michael?
Michael Bryan: It truly is. The GOP is increasingly just representing a very tiny fraction of the electorate.
They really respond to the right-wing of their own party. There are so many uncompetitive districts in our state in the state legislature. They pretty much have a lock-in and don’t have to worry about any kind of electoral competition except their extreme right-wing.
We get them trying to suppress the vote, stop the electorate from legislating directly through the initiative process, and pass more and more extreme culture war bills, like the like attacks on women’s rights and trans and gay kids.
And on and on it, it seems like it’s never-ending. And the only way to stop it is to put them out of office, put the AZ GOP out of business, and take over the state legislature with a Democratic majority that will respond to people’s needs and desires.
John C. Scott: Over and over again, we’ve come within one vote and the Senate, one vote in the House, but Republicans have continued to hold sway with the legislation that goes through either of the chambers are in any hopes of becoming law on the Democrats is almost impossible.
How do you break this? Almost every single election year, and it is “We almost made, it would have been one more vote.” We’d had the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate, but neither ever became.
Michael Bryan: Yeah. Know there are two ways to do it. One is that some of the Republicans [00:03:00] are responsive to the concerns of the majority on certain issues.
For instance, we’re seeing Senator Paul Boyer, who’s resigning from the state legislature, stopping a lot of these more extreme anti-voting bills. So all you can really do is persuade enough swing voters, independent voters, and people of goodwill in the long run.
With the Republicans catering to a very small, radical slice of the electorate, we need to put them out of office. That’s really all we can do. We just had a redistricting. We’re going to see how these districts go. They’re reasonably well-balanced. They’re not as bad as we could have had.
I think we have a reasonable chance of doing that. If we have enough independent votes getting and getting out there and saying we’ve had enough of the GOP
John C. Scott: The way these new districts have been addressing. They still favor Republicans in many supposedly quote swing districts. And those are the Republican legislative districts that then become the majority of the House of the Senate and stop any progressive legislation from the democratic party.
[00:04:00] And that’s really almost three strikes and you’re out, because you don’t have the power to overcome those advantages that Republicans have when they’re drawn into Republicans. So rather than the swing district that it’s supposed to have been, I don’t know. It just seems to me as purple as we become a blue state. So we almost climb the hill and then can’t get there.
And that makes me extremely disappointed. And I think this may be another year for that.
Michael Bryan: Yeah, there’s always that possibility, but let me get back in, let me get down in the weeds just a little bit with you here, John. One of the reasons we have this extremity in our politics is that so many of our districts are non-competitive.
When you have a really large advantage in a majority of the districts for your party, there’s no reason to respond to the concerns of independents or Democrats or anybody else, especially non-voters in your district. So you get this increasingly tiny minority that can dominate politics in those uncompetitive districts, and it’s a [00:05:00] feature of the way we do elections and the way we draw districts, these what they call single-member first past the post districts. So, when you have this kind of representation, you will have two parties.
You’re going to have polarization, and you’re going to have 49% of your population not represented in your government because 49% is the losing side. They get no representation. 51% carries the day. What you really need to do is change the rules, and there are things that we can do. There’s a movement afoot called rank choice voting or Arizona voter choice, which allows you to have Ranked choice voting.
You can choose your first choice, your second choice, third choice, and so on down so that it encourages people to the people who are participating in the system. These people are trying to get elected to build coalitions across party lines to get that second and third position so that they have a better chance of getting elected.
So that’s one thing we can do. Another thing we can do is multi-party districts. [00:06:00] multi-member districts. The representation of that 49% gets represented by a member because you have three or four people representing that district instead of just one. People who would normally not get any representation from that district actually get somebody who champions what they want to champion in the state legislature. So that’s one way to combat the kind of extremism that we’re seeing is to reform the existing electoral system. And we can do that. But, of course, the GOP will resist it because right now, they have a lock-in that they want to preserve.
But we, the people, have the power to legislate.
Larry Bodine: Did you know that a majority of Arizonans support more funding for public education, affordable healthcare and jobs that pay? This is Larry Bodine, president of Democrats of Greater Tucson. And that’s what we stand for. Activate yourself by Googling Democrats of Greater Tucson and clicking on join.
Now you’ll be part of a dynamic organization of [00:07:00] activists. Activate yourself today with Democrats of Greater Tucson
John C. Scott: B the way, the idea of too doing away with early voting will affect Democratic hopes. I think across the state, the same thing with going away with the right to have the people of Arizona write their laws through the initiative process, which is becoming more difficult with every stroke of a legislative speaker or Senate president’s pen.
And it may not even exist. In the near future, the same thing for both of those issues early voting is the initiative process, which would be an unmitigated disaster for democracy in the state of Arizona. It truly was.
Michael Bryan: Yeah. I think, in large part, the pushback against early voting is self-defeating for Republicans because Republicans use that and love that system just as much as Democrats do and Independents do. With more than 80% of Arizona voters voting by mail early, shooting yourself in the foot when people love the system.
No, no [00:08:00] matter what party they belong to. I don’t think that eventually they’re going to get much traction out of that. I think it’ll get a lot of pushbacks from one party if they try and do it as
John C. Scott: to go ahead. No, I apologize. I’m running out of time here. I wanted to talk a little bit about the US Senate.
With Kelly, it seems to me that Abramovich may have the inside track on that because of his name ID and a long time as the attorney general. But there’s a lot of Democrat, crazy right-wing Republicans that are billionaires that are in this race, as well as a few ladies that are just bat dung crazy.
I don’t know how that’s going to turn out. A lot of people say that Kelly’s in a real battle to keep the Senate seat. What do you see from the Blog for Arizona in the race for the US Senate and the election of 2022?
Michael Bryan: You’re absolutely right. It’s most likely that Brnovich will become the eventual nominee.
Although a portion of the party really hates him because he hasn’t investigated all these false claims of [00:09:00] voter conspiracies and so forth because there’s no “there” there, they criticize him for not bringing charges or locking people up. So, you’ve got to actually have facts when you take it to court.
And so that’s why he’s not taking it to court because there are no facts. They’re a little upset with him, but he does have the kind of name recognition statewide that is really going to propel him over the top. We’ll probably see Brnovich versus Kelly. And it depends on turnout.
These midterm elections really hinge on who turns out to vote. Democrats generally drop-off in voting during midterms, and that’s one of the reasons why we tend to lose seats in Congress when it’s an off year like this? It’s going to be a close race regardless of what we do, but I have a lot of confidence that Kelly’s going to do really well.
People are very satisfied with the job that he’s been doing in his Senate seat. And he’s been responding to Independent and Republican concerns alike, so he’s not being extremely partisan. I think that’s going to play very well with independent voters.
John C. Scott: Mike Bryan is my guest. Michael was you [00:10:00] founded Blog for Arizona. The Washington Post calls it the best Blog in Arizona. Has it become what you want it to be?
Michael Bryan: It’s become a sort of a community project that is compelling to people across the state. We call ourselves BlogForArizona.net because we’re a network of activists, party members and active citizens who are trying to get better information out there about what’s going on in Arizona politics. Cause you know, let’s face it. There’s not as much of a budget to cover Arizona politics in the local newsrooms as there used to be.
John C. Scott: You’ve got some people contributing to it that seemingly know what the hell are you talking about and have quite a following.
I think that it’s remarkable to get all these people to be a part of this.
Michael Bryan: Yeah, I’m very grateful to our volunteer writers. Nobody gets paid. It’s a nonprofit venture. So yeah, they’re all people volunteering their time for no pay to help inform Arizona about what the [00:11:00] issues are.
John C. Scott: are?
It’s true. I think that if you go to Blog for Arizona, you’re going to see a tremendous amount of information. You really didn’t find it in one of the papers of the state or Republic or the Arizona Daily Star. You cover things they don’t cover, but probably should. That’s what’s always amazed me about Blog for Arizona
Michael Bryan: As I said, these rooms are taking it in the backside. Their budgets are down. They don’t have the staffing to cover local politics the way they used to. You see a lot of wire stories, but there are some really good journalists out there making some great copy. The Arizona Mirror and Tucson Citizen do a great job of covering local politics where maybe the newspapers fail.
But online is where you got to go because we don’t have those distribution costs that the legacy media does.
John C. Scott: What made you build the Blog for Arizona? How did that start?
Michael Bryan: It was 2003, and I was volunteering for the Dean campaign for president. I started a Blog for him here in the state called Dean for Arizona.
And after [00:12:00] he dropped out of the race. Eventually, I converted it to Blog for Arizona and just started covering Arizona politics.
John C. Scott: Yeah, I idea too to that because you have different perspectives from so many different Democrats. It’s all pretty much progressive thinking, but it comes from different particular minds that I give you a variety of information. You just don’t get anywhere else. That’s what makes it such a mandatory read just about every day because every day, it changes.
It truly does. It’s just a remarkable circulation of information that I’ve never seen before. And I have enjoyed it.
Michael Bryan: Thank you, John. I’m sure our authors and myself really do appreciate your praise. It’s very
John C. Scott: Nice to hear you, Michael. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it.
Speaking of Blog for Arizona, we’re going to be talking with Larry Bodine of Blog for Arizona about the Democrats of Greater Tucson. He is their president. He’s attended the National Convention of the Democratic party. And of course, he is president of the Democrats of Greater Tucson and a remarkable Democrat. We’re going to talk with Larry Bodine coming [00:13:00] up next.
Michael. Thanks for being with us. Have a great week. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you. Michael Bryan is my guest on the John C. Scott political forum from the perfection auto work studios. Back in a moment.
This is the John C. Scott political forum. The following is a presentation of the Democrats of Greater Tucson, who is responsible for the content of this broadcast. What’s going on with the Democrats of Greater Tucson.
Larry Bodine: We’ve got some fun coming up. I highly recommend that all good Democrats sign up and come to our drinking democratically happy hour, which is next Wednesday at Brother John’s Beer, bourbon, and barbecue on stone. It will be on March 16, from four to 6:00 PM.
And all you need to do is just Google Democrats of Greater Tucson and sign up. And we’re going to have a great time. It’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day. So, we’re telling [00:14:00] all good Democrats to wear green.
John C. Scott: All right, that’s going to be fun. Let’s talk a little bit about Monday’s edition of the Democrats of Greater Tucson online, where everybody can partake in an event.
Larry Bodine: Monday. That’s right. John, we do have some serious business to discuss. Democrats of Greater Tucson meets on zoom every Monday at 12 noon. And all you need to do is go to TheDGT.org or Google Democrats of Greater Tucson. And you’ll find out about our upcoming speakers. On Monday, we’ve got Dustin Williams, the Pima county school superintendent.
And he’s going to talk about all the anti-education bills in the state legislature. To give you a couple of examples, the legislature would ban sex education or aids education. They would require teachers to post any curriculum about race, gender, and ethnicity online in advance. And of course, they’re trying to expose the so-called critical race theory [00:15:00] and limit transgender students from expressing their gender identity.
And then the worst one is that teachers are going to be forced to tell parents if a student tells the teacher that they’re gay. They’re going to penalize school employees for withholding any information. The students tell them in school. It’s a good thing. We have good defenders of teachers in schools in Dustin Williams, and he’ll be our next speaker on Monday at 12 noon on zoom.
So that’s going to be a serious discussion topic.
John C. Scott: By the way, everybody can join that and ask questions themselves. Tell people how they can do that, how easy it is to be a part of a Monday gathering. Absolutely.
Michael Bryan: But the speaker talks about what they’re up to
Larry Bodine: for about 15, 20 minutes. And we devote most of our time to letting people on the Zoom call ask questions.
You can ask questions of people that you would never get on the phone, but all you need to do is. Raise your hand in zoom. And you can ask a live question or ask a question in the chat. And that’s the one thing [00:16:00] that makes DGT Democrats of Greater Tucson so valuable is it connects the people with the elected officials.
John C. Scott: One of the things that’s always impressed me is the archives. And we try to talk about that every week. When we talk about the Democrats of Greater Tucson are the archives, it’s just an enormous group of people before the public on Democrats Greater Tucson Monday. That’s right.
Larry Bodine: We have the largest video library of candidates and elected officials speaking.
We record the zoom meetings, and I edit them down. And anybody who wants to see anybody who spoke over the last two years can view. One of our 130 videos. For instance, one of our top speakers was Pima County Recorder Gabriela Cazares Kelly, and she told us all about voting centers. And there’s a recording, and you can see her slides.
It’s very informative, and it’s an excellent thing to make voting more convenient and more secure here in Pima county. [00:17:00]
Larry Bodine: All right, go to TheDGT.org or just Google Democrats of Greater Tucson. And when you come to the site, you will see that our next speaker is Dustin Williams. He’s right at the top of the webpage. He’s a Pima school superintendent, and you register yourself, and you’ll get the link to join our Zoom call.
I look forward to seeing everybody out, all the Democrats out there at our meeting
John C. Scott: on Monday. All right. Thank you so much, Larry Bodine. We’ll be talking again soon. Thanks. Have a great weekend. Thanks for being with us. Have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for listening back next week three to four at KVOI – The Voice, local news and talk.
Larry Bodine: Did you know that a majority of Arizonans support more funding for public education, affordable healthcare and jobs that pay well? That’s what we stand for. [00:18:00] Activate yourself by Googling Democrats of Greater Tucson and clicking on join. Now you’ll be part of a dynamic organization of activists. So activate yourself today with Democrats of Greater Tucson.