Call it their fail-safe option.
If Joe Biden were to lose a critical Midwest battleground like Michigan or Wisconsin, Democrats are counting on Arizona to bail him out, acting as a potential replacement state with enough electoral power to prevent President Donald Trump’s re-election.
After Trump carried this emerging swing state by just over 91,000 votes four years ago, some Republicans are now already bracing for a defeat that could “cut deeply down the ballot,” as one GOP aide in state government put it.
With early voting now underway and Democrats consistently tracking Biden with a 3-to-4 point lead, the Trump campaign is planning additional visits here from the ticket as soon as this week, attempting to salvage a reliably red bastion as suburban women are turning away from the GOP in droves.
“It’s fairly close. If anybody has a slight polling advantage it would be Biden,” said Constantin Querard, a conservative political consultant in Phoenix, “but the Trump campaign is much stronger on the ground.”
While the Trump operation has maintained a vigorous door-knocking presence throughout most of the pandemic, a battery of Democratic groups have been working online to mobilize the two constituencies most crucial to their success: Latinos — which now make up 24 percent of eligible voters here — and moderate Republican women.
Bettina Nava, a former state director for Sen. John McCain, falls into both groups. The lifelong Republican welled up in tears during a recent zoom call with the Arizona Democratic Party as she spoke about her decision to endorse Biden due to Trump’s divisiveness.
“I’m following my conscience,” she said. “Under a Biden-Harris ticket, we can return to those civil conversations about the great debates of our time. That’s what we need to be doing. You notice I didn’t say agreement over