The state provides a good case study of what happens when a political party lets the inmates take charge. Arizona’s population is growing for several reasons: because of its economic boom since the 2008 crash, because it’s a destination for California tax refugees, and because of international emigration from Latin America. Overall, Arizona is becoming more and more brown; the population is now about 56 percent white, 31 percent Latino, and 4 percent black. And white people living in the state’s metropolitan areas, like Phoenix and Tucson, inevitably have Hispanic friends they want to protect. This hadn’t been a problem in the past for the Republican party. The GOP in Arizona had been associated with the likes of McCain, Kyl, and Jeff Flake, all champions of immigration and engagement with local Hispanic communities.
But more recently, Arizona Republicans decided to antagonize the Hispanic voters they needed to win at the state level. And by antagonizing and demonizing Hispanic Arizonans, the GOP has alienated many white voters, too.
The shift in the Arizona GOP began around 2010. How did it happen?