Record Mexican-American mobilization delivered Arizona to Biden, not just Cindy McCain
Seventy-five percent of Latinx voters in AZ favored Joe Biden, following record turnout and a decade of grassroots mobilization.
On night two of the 2020 presidential election, major news outlets lauded Cindy McCain’s recent speaking out against President Trump, crediting the wife of the late GOP Senator, John McCain, with delivering a decisive Arizona win to Joe Biden.
Some called it the late senator’s ‘revenge’, or his ‘last laugh,’ but they’re missing the bigger, more influential picture. While the influence of the McCain family should not be discounted, Biden’s victory in the Grand Canyon State should not be attributed to this alone.
That’s especially when history is being made in regards to the Latinx voting bloc in Arizona. To do this illustrates a clear disservice to Latinx voters in Arizona, largely Mexican-American, and mobilizing leaders in the state.
This sort of misreporting does a huge disservice to voter-advocacy groups like Mi Familia Vota, Chicanos por la Causa, and the nationwide organization Voto Latino. These are the groups that contributed to the deciding electoral and popular votes in Biden’s favor.
The nation saw the early call by the Associated Press to be a shocking twist, but it was really a flip to blue 10 years in the making.
It was not sparked by the Trump administration.
Ten years ago, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s SB1070 — perhaps the most restrictive anti-immigration bill in the nation — enabled police to stop anyone they thought ‘looked’ undocumented and request papers. It often ended in deportation.
Since then, a surge in activism has swept over the state in the wake of the “show me your papers” bill, driven by a decade of young, Latinx, and Mexican-American grassroots organizers.
It takes a village, calling in our co-conspirators for change @OVOV_AZ, @MiFamiliaVota, @ChispaAZ and @CASEActionAZ @UNITEHERE11, together we built a robust eco-system and long term vision! This is just the beginning. Let’s keep organizing! @LUCHA_AZ @TomasRobles14 https://t.co/liFVd3yKgT
— Alejandra Gomez (@Gomez_Alex07) November 5, 2020The implications of the activism have resulted in the state’s flip to blue this election.
Over the past decade, Arpaio lost his 2016 reelection campaign, and in 2018, Arizonans elected the state’s first woman to the US Senate — Kyrsten Sinema — and Regina Romero, the first Latina mayor of Tucson. Both are Democrats.
The shift has been coming for years, but as eyes were fixed on the bigger electoral prizes of Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas, it manifested itself quietly and decisively, no matter the aforementioned signs that presented themselves in the State.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a progressive Congressman representing parts of Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yuma, Santa Cruz counties, has been representing Arizona’s 3rd District since 2013. The Justice Dems-backed congressman had previously represented Arizona’s 7th district since 2003, but the region underwent redistricting.
That district, the 7th, is currently represented by Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego, a liberal Candidate who has served since 2015.
“This was a 10 year project. You tried to bury us with SB1070 you didn’t realize we were seeds and ten years later we would grow to fight back. #AZBlue,” Gallego wrote on Twitter.
Az Latino vote delivered! This was a 10 year project. You tried to bury us with SB1070 you didn’t realize we were seeds and ten years later we would grow to fight back. #AZBlue
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) November 4, 2020
The Arizona blue wave has been slow, but it’s been on a steady rise.
Most recently, the repercussions of COVID-19 may have further tipped the scale, if not among the disproportionately affected Latinx demographic, but also among Native Americans.
Particularly the Navajo Nation, which shares territory within Arizona’s borders was at one point the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country and saw little help from AZ Gov. Doug Ducey (R). In 2016, the Navajo nation cast an estimated 40,731 votes, which in could be a game-changer depending on the outcome of the vote.
“In Arizona, a state that has suppressed Latinx communities for decades and has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996, Voto Latino registered 54,610 voters,” Voto Latino wrote in a statement.
Now comes the fracture within the state Republican Party. Cindy McCain, the widow of longtime Republican Sen. John McCain, endorsed Biden in September. She didn’t just endorse Biden — she worked with the campaign and was featured in an ad.
But with this in mind, it’s important to note Biden’s dismal attempts to mobilize voters in Arizona, not to mention the large Mexican-American demographic in the state.
He and Sen. Kamala Harris made their first physical campaign trip to Arizona on Oct. 8, and Harris made a subsequent trip on Oct. 28 — a mere six days before election day.
They, too, thought Trump had Arizona and would continue its status as a GOP stronghold. Trump thought this too, but in the end, it was Mexican American organizers and mobilization that delivered the Grand Canyon State to Biden.