Whether you love Martha McSally, hate her or feel indifferent, don’t vote for her. You’ll get what you want, and Arizona will get a great representative outcome.
Many wise people (like my mom) have told me that it is futile to try to change people’s minds about politics. So, I will try as much as possible to stay away from political arguments. A huge non-political reason Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike should vote for Kyrsten Sinema is for the ideals of representative democracy. Here is Arizona’s problem: Arizona has a close-to-even split of Democrats and Republicans, yet our state-wide representation is nearly always solely Republican.
Of Arizona’s registered voters, 30.6 percent are Democrat and 34.8 percent are Republican, while 33.6 percent are registered Independent, according to state registration statistics. Based on the candidates who win elections, you may think — as I did — that Independents overwhelmingly swing right. In reality, the split remains almost equal.
Donald Trump won in Arizona with 48.1 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton had 44.6 percent. In 2012 Jeff Flake won his Senate seat with 49.7 percent of the vote, while Richard Carmona had 45.8 percent. In 2014 the state positions of Attorney General, Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction had a 53/47, 52.3/47.7 and 50.6/49.4 Republican/Democrat split, respectively, according to The New York Times. So, while the splits are close, the margins are large enough that Republicans have consistently swept state-wide elections for some time.
It makes sense that Republicans would win our one-person positions in government. This is a plurality-Republican state. However, Arizona has TWO Senators. Like the other state-wide positions, Republicans have taken both seats for quite some time now. This representation is not fair; almost half of Arizona’s population consistently votes left. Having one Democrat and one Republican senator would be far closer to representing what Arizona’s population looks like.
As a disclaimer, I do not think this is unrepresentative only because it works for Democrats and left-leaning Independents like me. It’s just as unrepresentative that California sends all of its 55 electoral college votes for Democratic presidential candidates, even though approximately one-third of its population votes Republican each cycle.
Right now, this is the nature of our election institutions. However, unlike the Electoral College, Arizonans can send one senator of each party. A few more Republicans and Independents just need to help out the cause.
I can understand that some readers really like Martha McSally and hence won’t want to vote against her for a silly reason like this one. It makes some sense, since, as I’ve said before, she has done some pretty amazing things. However, even for these readers, voting for Sinema could be a good deal.
Time Magazine journalist Phillip Elliott believes that Martha McSally has a good chance of being appointed to Senator McCain’s seat after Jon Kyl steps down. Not only would McSally become senator before Sinema in that case (December instead of January), but she’d likely be re-elected in 2020 (because of that usual ‘give-the-Senator-a-full-term’ idea) and also again in 2022 (for the same reason). So, by voting against her, McSally lovers might guarantee themselves 10 years of her.
Of course, it is possible that Doug Ducey will pick someone else. Nevertheless, Governor Ducey is legally bound to choose a Republican (not like he wouldn’t anyway) and expected to choose a “safe” one, politically speaking, so the alternative will still likely be acceptable for most Republicans.
For my Republican friends, tell your families you’re voting for Sinema for the good of representative democracy and for the good of McSally. For my left-leaning Independent and Democrat friends, vote for Sinema for this exciting opportunity to have a Senator with a platform most like our own for the first time in over 20 years.
You know what you have to do, for the good of us all.
Toni Marcheva is a Junior who loves to find some truth in absurdity. Follow Toni on Twitter