Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
ICYMI, there was a gubernatorial debate between Democrat Fred DuVal, Tea Party Republican Doug Ducey, and Libertatian Barry Hess last night in Tucson.
What? You tried to find the debate on TV, radio, and the Internet, and it wasn’t there? That’s because 99% of Tucson– and the state– was cut out of the process last night. The first DuVal-Ducey debate, held in Phoenix, was broadcast on Phoenix television and streamed live over the Internet, but the Tucson debate was pushed back to an prime time 8 p.m. start by the Ducey campaign, according to DuVal Press Secratary Geoff Vetter. As a result only the 400 people who attended the debate got to see it live.
It’s obvious that the Ducey campaign wants to tightly control communication at all levels, particularly on social media and in the streets. (Why else would you have a debate on the outskirts of town, away from the bus line, on private property, after dark?) He wants voters to base their decisions not on real information from debates and public forums but on the dark money TV commercials bankrolled by his corporate benefactors.
Yes, last night, Tucson.com had a handful of live Tweeting reporters and someone to write up a short debate story for today’s paper, but that’s not the same as opening the debates up to the world on the Internet (and holding the debate in an accessible location).
When debates are televised and streamed live on the Internet, you not only reach the old timers and rich folks with cable TV, but you also reach the young folks who dumped cable TV long ago and watch everything online. Live streaming allows anyone with a computer or smart phone to watch and comment on social media. During the first DuVal/Ducey match-up, hundreds of Tweets tagged #AZGOV and Facebook posts flowed from everyday Arizonans.
So, what’s the big deal, you ask. The big deal is that young voters and Latinos (people who are more likely to vote for DuVal) are cut out of the process by cutting live-streaming. Ensconced safely in the Tucson foothills (far from the bus line or that liberal rabble downtown), it was perfectly safe for Ducey to say that his first priority regarding immigration reform was further militarization of the border and that he would continue Governor Jan Brewer’s unlawful denial of drivers’ licenses to undocumented youth who qualified for deferred deportation. It was safe to spout the standard Tea Party line…
“Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws,” Ducey told the audience. [Oh, yeah, “national of laws”. Tell that to your colleague, Attorney General Tom Horne.]
Ducey ducked several debates during the primary. We can’t let Ducey get away with skirting debates in front of the general election. DuVal wanted nine debates with Ducy, according to his campaign team, and Ducey agreed to five. Two have occurred– the televised debate from Phoenix and last night’s private party at the Jewish Community Center in Tucson. Ducey has bailed on 3 other Tucson debates: Sept. 17 at the Tucson Rotary Club (even though he was in Tucson all day), Sept. 21 at Centennial Hall on the UA campus, and the League of Women Voters’ debate at PCC West on Oct. 9 (which will be televised). Ducey also bailed on a Sept. 12 Univision debate with DuVal. DuVal kept the Univision date and at the time of this writing, plans to attend all other events– whether Ducey is man enough to show up or not.
It’s not surprising that Ducey is ducking debates, after his poor showing at the first debate. Readers of the Phoenix Business Journal (probably not the most liberal publication in the state) overwhelmingly said Duecy blew it; 56% of readers said DuVal won the first match-up, while only 21% said Ducey won and 23% not watching.
It’s also not surprising that Ducey has written off PCC and UA students, Univision viewers, the League of Women Voters, and quirky, liberal Tucson, in general. We’re not his target audience. Ducey and the Republican Party nationwide are banking on the Koch Brothers’ dark money television advertising to deliver their base on election day– white men, Christian conservatives, fetuses, and corporate people. (Oops, do they know those last two groups can’t vote?)
The Republicans are also banking on YOU not voting. Prove them wrong! Please. Register to vote or update your registration by Oct. 6 by going to Service Arizona here. Your name and street address on your picture ID must match the name and address of your voter registration.
It’s time to close the Meth Lab of Democracy and save Arizona from Tea Party extremists.