By Alexander Lomax
It’s been the dawn of a new day for Democrats in Arizona: out from under the thumb of Republican domination with several significant statewide wins, they now have a degree of power. With Governor Katie Hobbs in the 9th Floor, they’re no longer an afterthought in governance. Even though they do not control the House or Senate, they can still be a gigantic problem for the GOP with one little item…
That one little item? The veto…that pesky little action that was little more than a move against the more extremist elements of their party under Governors Brewer and Ducey. Now it is a battering ram that can be used to smash the will of the Republican majority.
Case in point? This article right here, speaking about Hobbs’s recent veto over budget bills that were sent to her desk to sign. In order to override a veto, 2/3rds of both state senators and state representatives need to vote against the Governor’s wishes. So in essence, Hobbs has enough power in one move to at least partially will the GOP to do her bidding.
And just like that, as a result of the GOP electorate choosing candidates such as Kari Lake in their primary, their power evaporates.
Most cynical political fans will likely be able to predict what happens next: never ending finger-pointing. The Democrats will point a finger at Republicans for not putting forth bills that they deem reasonable, and the Republicans will point a finger at Democrats (primarily Hobbs) for standing in the way of working government. Rinse and repeat. A game of chicken with real consequences.
Arizona has de facto been a one party state for most of the lifetime of many of its citizens. While there are many templates to work from on how split government can be a strong net positive compared to the inclinations of one party tyranny (and Republican governors in Democratic states are three of the four most popular in the country, demonstrating that split governance can in fact be very popular…Arizona obviously still isn’t there yet. Neither party has needed to work with each other much, so the learning curve still needs to be moved up. And fast.
The question is, who is going to break through and be the deal-maker. Until that person rises up, we should get used to a year and a half of finger-pointing and incompetence in government, with the “winner” being the one who can blame the other the best effectively.