By Recker McDowell
Tonight, we will see President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix and Democratic presidential hopefuls from Bernie Sanders to Michael Bloomberg face off in a debate in Las Vegas.
Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly are jockeying in their expensive U.S. Senate race and local candidates in Scottsdale are lining up for Mayor and City Council.
Beyond tonight’s trash talk, bluster and potential gaffes (we are looking at you Joe Biden), voters should also pay attention to leadership.
That sounds contrary to the current state of politics and discourse, but leadership still matters.
Despite the temptation to follow Trump’s bluster or Bernie’s ‘revolution’, leadership matters especially at the community level.
The local level is where voters and their elected officials intersect more directly — not just on Twitter, Fox News or MSNBC.
Closer to home, our elected officials are the ones who budget for first responders, for transportation, schools and social services.
They also chart the vision for growth, land-use and economic development.
This is where leadership and coalition building are important.
Voters will decide whether they want candidates who just to try rally their base and castigate their rivals or whether we want leaders who build consensus and coalitions and reach across the aisle.
That is especially salient locally with issues such as growth and development.
We aren’t naïve. We know we live in the age of Trump and Twitter. But even Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will have to appeal to some swing voters to make their election math work at the end of the day. Trump pulled that off in 2016.
In local races such as Scottsdale, residents will decide races for Mayor and City Council. They will likely face choices of consensus and coalition builders or more stubborn, ideological and blustery approaches.
We think the former is a better approach for the future of Scottsdale despite what will see tonight at the Trump rally, Democratic debate and on Twitter.