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Opinion: Arizona Democratic candidates' contradictions create vulnerability

In order to defeat right-wing authoritarianism and create long-term change, we must look beyond modern liberalism


To create long-term change, a more dynamic, left-wing political style that actually supports the working class both locally and internationally is needed.

Crucial Arizona midterm elections are approaching, and while Mark Kelly and Katie Hobbs are clearly better candidates than Blake Masters and Kari Lake because of their policy positions, their brand of modern liberalism is doomed to fail against right-wing authoritarianism in the long run.

To create long-term change, a more dynamic, left-wing political style that actually supports the working class locally and internationally is needed.

Kelly, a former astronaut and now one of two Arizona Senators, has supported right-wing ideas about immigration. He opposed the Biden administration's move to end the Title 42 policy that "enabled officials to turn away asylum-seekers in the name of public health," according to NBC News. 

Kelly has also embraced Customs and Border Protection by introducing legislation with Republicans to boost Border Patrol pay and create a Border Patrol reserve. 

While Hobbs has attempted to take a more progressive route on immigration, she contradicts herself with her support of policies such as Title 42. She has described the southern border as a place of "lawlessness" and "chaos." This is an avid display of her lack of understanding of the history of colonialism and climate change that has led to large-scale immigration in the first place.

Not only has Hobbs played into right-wing ideas about borders, she has done the same with police. Just two years after the murder of George Floyd, among countless other instances of police brutality, spurred potentially the largest racial justice movement in the U.S. history since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Hobbs has leaned heavily into campaign ads in support of the police. 

She has also leaned into ads about abortion rights, and rightfully so. But, how can she simultaneously lean into support for police that will be enforcing the Supreme Court decision removing rights to abortion while also running ads supporting abortion rights? It is a contradiction. 

The choice to support right-wing ideas and those who enforce them is antithetical to creating an effective opposition to right-wing authoritarians such as Lake and Masters.

The opposition must be against the modern nation-state ideas about borders that drive working-class division and antagonism. As Canadian author and activist, Harsha Walia, said in an interview with The Guardian, "Borders maintain racial citizenship and create a pool of hyper-exploitable cheapened labor."

When racist nationalists such as Donald Trump stoke fear about people from the Global South stealing jobs, they, of course, are not doing it in support of working people. They are doing it out of racism that they know will destroy international working-class solidarity and create further opportunities for public service cuts and privatization, which means greater profits for executives and worse conditions for workers. 

Finn Howe, a sophomore studying computer science and the vice-chair for Young Democratic Socialists of America at ASU, said he will be voting for both Hobbs and Kelly in the midterms, but has some reservations. 

"We don't want to see Kari Lake win; however, that doesn't mean that we're excited about Katie Hobbs," Howe said. "I don't think she's doing a great job of communicating what sort of progressive change she would bring, besides just not being Kari Lake."

On the subject of Masters, Howe said, "I believe a lot of people like myself will go out and vote for Mark Kelly, just so Blake Masters doesn't win, but it's not really a great strategy for actually getting progressive goals accomplished."

In order to defeat right-wing authoritarianism in the long run, it isn't enough just to vote against Republican candidates — we must also look beyond modern liberalism and toward left-wing politics that reject right-wing, capitalist strategies. 

Edited by Sadie Buggle, Wyatt Myskow, Sophia Balasubramanian, Kristen Apolline Castillo and Piper Hansen.

Reach the columnist at and follow @StigileAaron on Twitter.

Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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Aaron StigileOpinion Columnist

Aaron Stigile is an opinion columnist at The State Press. He previously wrote for The Defiant Movement and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also working toward a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Cross-Sector Leadership. 

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