Originally published by The Washington Post
With Election Day finally upon us, look to Arizona for the clearest test of President Trump’s tactical decision to mount a closing argument that stokes xenophobia, fear and racism.
That has often been a winning trifecta in Arizona, the state that gave us Sheriff Joe Arpaio and — until the Supreme Court in 2012 struck down some of its key provisions — the most draconian immigration law in the country.
This year, however, that calculus may change. Arizona could do something it has not done in three decades: Elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.
Two of its congresswomen, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, are locked in a race that is too close to predict. Whoever wins will be the first female U.S. senator in the state’s history.
One big question now is whether Trump’s dire, racially fueled rhetoric about immigration will help or hurt his party in the state. Even Republicans here suggest they are perplexed by some of his more extreme statements, including his declaration that he plans to revoke birthright citizenship — a right most serious scholars say is written into the Constitution — by executive order.