Arizona illegal immigration, 'birther' bills show rightward shift
Arizona lawmakers, fresh off sending a controversial illegal immigration bill to the governor, on Wednesday advanced a bill requiring presidential candidates to show a birth certificate in order to appear on the ballot there.
Amanda Lee Myers/AP
Even by the measure of Arizona's long history of conservatism, the past week has been extraordinary.
In the past six days, the legislature has passed the nation's strictest anti-illegal immigration bill, a law permitting concealed weapons, and the House has approved a bill requiring a presidential candidate to show his or her birth certificate to appear on the state ballot.
This is the home of five-term Sen. Barry Goldwater, known as "Mr Conservative" – the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. But a confluence of factors, ranging from the rising pitch of the illegal immigration debate to the departure of a Democratic governor and her replacement by a Republican has tilted Arizona even further to the right.
“They had a Democratic governor, and when she left, that completely changed the political calculus,” says Matthew Kerbel, a professor of political science at Villanova University. Now the legislative and executive branches are of the same party, he says.