Well that didn’t take long. Just a few weeks after the tragic shooting in Tucson Arizonan’s are again dealing with deep partisan divisions with citizenship as the fault-line.
For starters, Republicans introduced their own version of birthright citizenship repeal. A couple of days earlier Republicans introduced a bill that would require future presidential candidates to verify their place of birth before they can appear on the Arizona ballot. Those pushing the measure have been clear that it stems from their ongoing doubts about President Obama’s citizenship.
Finally, the Pima County Tea Party Patriots have organized a campaign for the ouster of Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a vocal critic of the rhetoric of the hard right and a friend and supporter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Those on the hard right hope to recall the sheriff, but if that doesn’t work they’ll work hard to unseat him in the 2012 elections.
The divides are not simply between Republicans and Democrats but within the Republican party as well. At least three Republican leaders resigned because of Tea Party threats and intimidation. It got so bad that at least one former official, Sophia Johnson, sought a restraining order against Tea Party activists.
The split in Arizona Republican politics mirrors the rift occuring nationally and so far this doesn’t bode well for establishment Republicans. In the short term there doesn’t appear to be any slowing down the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican party. Their well-organized and orchestrated legislative and electoral campaigns are swiftly running out party moderates. It’s a terrible strategy for grabbing and holding power for any sustained period of time. Very soon Republicans are going to have to have a reckoning with the fringe of their party if they hope to retain any relevance as a governing party.
photo courtesy of Barnaby via Flickr