Post-Election: Looking Back at Arizona

In what can be called the Red tidal wave, Republicans had one topic to discuss that fateful Tuesday night, November 4, 2014—Victory.  All across the nation, Republicans took seats from Democrats at all levels of government: Governor, state legislature, and the national congress.  In a swift move, Republicans now control the entire congress.

In Arizona specifically, Republicans took every state leadership position; however, Democrats fought back with an even split between them and Republicans for U.S. Congress positions.  Notwithstanding the Democrats resilience, the election was indicative of main problem: the Democrats need to reevaluate their leaders, and their campaigning.  An inquiry into both pre-election efforts, and post-election results, while utilizing a legal lens, we shall delve into the worst-of-the-worst, and the best-of-the-best.

On propositions, Prop. 303 was probably the most intriguing, and the only that involved a voter’s choice at a later stage.  More precisely, Prop. 303 sought to make available drugs, which have not been approved by the FDA—considered experimental—to patients who have a terminal illness.  Additionally, there must not be another form of medication available, and the patient must consent to the prescription.  This is diluting the requirements a bit, but it satisfies the general gist.  Currently, these types of drugs are virtually unavailable to terminally ill patients.  Prior to Prop. 303, even if there was an experimental drug, which was for the exact symptoms that a patient had, the drug was not available for the patient’s use.  Therefore, Prop. 303 seeks to remedy this by putting the power back into the patient-doctor relationship, allowing them as a unit to choose which drugs are best to treat the illness.

Given that Prop. 303 speaks directly to a patient’s choice, it is not surprising that it garnered the most votes out of all propositions, reeling in 78% yes votes.  Indeed, the patient’s choice is what matters most when it comes to medical care, and the voters voiced a similar concern.  There are, however, some concerns with Prop. 303, which aren’t necessarily showstoppers, but do require some pondering.  Notwithstanding the importance of a patient’s choice, the FDA process was created to protect the patient.  Prop. 303 circumvents the process, and potentially opens the door to a variety of legal issues.  Previously, without the availability of these drugs, this topic was never litigated; however, with availability now possible, we can expect to see problems likely resulting in litigation over negligence, liability, and possibly even products liability.

It can hardly be foreseen what might come out of the aforesaid legal issues, but Prop. 303 seeks to mitigate that issue by creating a handful of checks through signed written consent forms, and consulting.  Moreover, Prop. 303 was initiated by Goldwater Institute, and, though, the integrity of legal think-tanks are taken for granted, it can be suggested that drug makers are in the background.  Indeed, it can easily be seen that Prop. 303 directly benefits drug makers in that now they can get their products to patients without the cost/time required for an FDA approved drug.  Additionally, this may also open the door to drug makers marketing these drugs to both doctors, and patients alike.  However, I prefer to think of this benefit to the drug makers as a consequential one, with the real intent of Prop. 303 as providing a choice to the patient.

Election candidate positions are important; indeed, their position not only brings either victory, or defeat, but it will eventually change current law, and enact new legislation.  In terms of overall parties, there was not much change in Arizona state leadership positions with Republicans holding onto their grip; however, with all the shortfalls Republicans had leading up to this election, a hypothesis that at least one Democrat would take a leadership position was plausible.  The position most likely to fit the bill just described was the Attorney General position.  Previously held by Republican Tom Horne, the Attorney General (AG) position was sought by Brnovich, and Rotellini as the republican, and democrat candidate, respectively.

While Tom Horne was in office he made a lot of fumbles.  These fumbles resulted in putting the AG’s office in the limelight, while also giving a souring effect for the republican party .  Tom Horne’s time in his official capacity is most remembered for his affair, and unethical political approaches.  Thus, the Republican Party, quick to lash out, turned their back on the veteran AG, and dropped their support of Tom Horne entirely for this election.

Additionally, the voters spoke out by handing an abysmal loss to Horne in the primaries.  With 30 days leading into the General Election, Rotellini looked like she would come out victorious.  But, shortly thereafter, Brnovich pooled support in the last month, retaining the AG’s office for the Republicans.  Not even addressing the differences in policy for each candidate, the concern is the tolerance of republican voters to elect another republican, despite Horne’s embarrassing AG stay.  Thus, unlike throughout the country where voters resoundingly have no issue electing an opposite party’s candidate to show disgust, Arizona republicans showed a high level of deference toward party misconduct this past election.

The policies of Brnovich, and Rotellini do not differ that much; instead, they are actually both very close to the center.  However, given Brnovich’s campaign, it can be assumed there is going to be more Mexican-AZ border issues coming down the pipeline.  Additionally, an accurate hypothesis would be that the AG’s office will be more active in criminal prosecution, causing further separation from the AG’s traditional role.  Furthermore, given the relationship between Brnovich and Goldwater, expect to see the AG as the soundboard for Goldwater, with the AG’s office closely tailored to Goldwater’s agenda.

In regards to the border, the AG’s office would be completely outside itself.  Indeed, the AG just does not address those issues; but, oddly enough, Brnovich ran on them.  As for criminal prosecution, this is more aligned with the AG mission; however, it is only closely aligned, and, thus, not the actual mission.  The actual mission of the AG is to protect the people vis-à-vis litigation against big companies on topics like banking, fraud, products liability, consumer issues, etc.  With Brnovich’s background in criminal, and, given his platform, a likely departure from the true mission of the AG is expected.

Conversely, Brnovich’s relationship with Goldwater may push him back toward the AG’s traditional mission, given some of Goldwater’s agendas.  Even then, the concern is will the AG be acting in good faith, or acting to benefit Goldwater; this much remains to be unknown.  Either way, if the relationship benefits the people of Arizona, while aligning with the AG’s true mission, the benefit Goldwater derives may just be consequential.  Therefore, I foresee a bit of “off-road” practices by the new AG; but, simply put, this is par for the course.