By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"It's a goddamn racist state and no one will say that. It just pisses me the hell off."
That's the opinion of Rick DeGraw, the Democratic consultant who ran the grassroots portion of the campaign for Proposition 302. He's not speaking on a hunch, either.
In 1988, DeGraw worked against Proposition 106, the patently racist English Only bill that sought to make English the official language in Arizona. DeGraw says that, county by county, the vote for English Only nearly matches the vote against a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. "The similarities are incredible," he says. To his mind, the similarities prove that the defeat of 302 is the result of racism. (See chart above.)
DeGraw also offers strong evidence that, in the rural counties, it was the minorities who turned against the idea of an MLK Day, even though they banded together two years ago against 106. "What I'm telling you is that in the urban counties, Hispanics voted correctly for 302," he says. "But in those rural counties with the highest Hispanic population, 302 got the shit kicked out of it." (See chart above.)
The problem could have been that the rural Hispanics, and also Native Americans, weren't reached by a statewide campaign that virtually ignored them, DeGraw says.