American politics will have jelled for at least the November election in the next six or so weeks. Primaries occur in diverse states like Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Kentucky. Obamacare is in its first stage of getting early reactions to reality, not hype. National polling data will either solidify around current trends favoring GOP candidates or move back to the Democrats. Many states and localities, including Arizona, will vote on tax and other measures.
The Real Clear Politics polling average currently shows the GOP slightly ahead in generic voting, and President Obama below 50 percent approval. If that holds until May, Democrats are due for a bath in November.
Democrat pundits like Bob Beckel over on Fox are telling us "now that the President has time to explain it," things will change. Right, Bob, like what else has he done? But like Juan Williams, Bob's a class act and fakes that righteous indignation beautifully. I think Juan really believes it. Fox has great numbers, not just from conservatives. Liberals get better representation there than the screaming losers elsewhere on cable.
The problem for Democrats with the GOP being slightly up or even is in the voter distribution. Partly geographic and partly through the "separate but equal" nature of concentrated big city minority districts, Dems get heavy districts that don't have real general elections thanks to federal mandate, making others more competitive.
Locally, we will know if Arizonans and others are ready to raise their taxes. The governments themselves will continue to reduce the most popular and useful services and avoid laying off employees as their highest priority to encourage voter cooperation. They may find that also encourages voter rebellion.
A poll released by Moore and Associates of Portland, Ore., for proponents says 59 percent of Arizonans favor a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax. I was once told by an able pollster that any revenue proposal with serious opposition starting below 60 percent is in trouble. Ironically, that pollster was from the Moore firm. I'm sure proponents were told that, too, so a happy face is not yet in order for them. A bipartisan coalition including business and labor will now spend a fortune on a media blitz which may ultimately be counter-productive.
The four-way GOP gubernatorial primary will become clearer. The tax hike Gov. Brewer supports is opposed by all three of her opponents. Conventional wisdom maintains multiple opponents aid an incumbent. Conventional wisdom is based on precedent, not principle. Incumbents like Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis are coming in third. Recent polling has two of Brewer's opponents, State Treasurer Dean Martin and Prescott businessman Buz Mills, even with her, with Tucson attorney John Munger gaining. If the tax goes down, any one of them – maybe all of them – could beat her.
The GOP U.S. Senate primary between John McCain and J.D. Hayworth may also clarify, with Jim Deakin illustrating if he can be a factor. In CD8, the four-way Republican contest would use that shaky conventional wisdom to favor former State Sen. Jonathan Paton, followed by businessman Jesse Kelly, USAFR pilot Brian Miller and Cochise County's Andy Goss. Goss has raised little money but is the most entertaining and gets Mr. Congeniality for futures. Kelly has raised enough money and built a sufficient volunteer force to be in the game, while Miller cannot be counted out.
Arizona Democrats have no major primaries much of anywhere. Pima Dem Chair Jeff Rogers says that's because they are so well-disciplined. I guess the Chicago way has filtered down. That's a long way from Will Rogers quip about being a Democrat means belonging to no organized political party.
Some advice from General George Patton. When everybody's thinking alike, nobody's thinking.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturday 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.