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Tactics….and those who fall for them.

Posted by on | June 7, 2017 | Comments Off

Tell me the significance of this quote from Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs that appeared in the Arizona Capitol Times.

 Tactics....and those who fall for them.

Significance?  That statement is a concise explanation of the minority party strategy to maximize its influence.  That statement should be in every political science textbook. 

Minority party members–in this case Arizona Legislative Democrats–know that the majority party has a short list bills that they must pass. These include various budget bills as well as (in this case) Governor Ducey’s University Bonding bill.  Inevitably, these “must go” bills don’t have enough votes because there are a handful of Conservative Republicans who consider the bills to be too expensive. 

The natural solution is for the Republican Leadership to stop negotiating with its most conservative members and instead negotiate with a few Democrats.  This solution is great because the Democrats are likely to support the bills anyway and they can be convinced to vote for the bills with minimal extra spending. The result is a bi-partisan package that excludes the most extreme members from each caucus.

Democratic Leaders for their part doesn’t want to allow Republicans to pass bills (even ones that Democrats support) by picking off a few key Democrats.  Katie Hobbs’ statement above is the clearest explanation that I’ve seen of this tactic.  If Hobbs can convince her entire caucus to vote no and rebuff Republican efforts to negotiate a deal with individual Democratic members AND if conservative Republicans refuse to vote for the bill, then Republican Leadership might eventually have to buy the Democrats as a block.  If that happens, then Democrats can move the bill a long way their direction instead of making the incremental changes that they would get from having individual members trade their votes to the Republicans.

This is a high risk/high reward tactic and I respect it. 

However, let me be clear.  This tactic is NOT the same as “ignoring” the Democratic Caucus or “freezing out” the Democratic caucus.  Check out this tweet that Jeremy Duda sent in order to promote the article.

   Tactics....and those who fall for them.

“Almost had a voice”?  Give me a break.  Democrats had every opportunity to participate in this process, but their leadership had the discipline to get them to “unilaterally oppose” the bills thus “preventing Ducey from declaring a bipartisan victory”.

Say what you want about this tactic.  But don’t fall for the naïve media line that the Democrats “didn’t have a voice.”





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