Democrats in the Senate arrived at the capital last week wearing masks in the chamber, while most Republicans chose not to don the facial coverings.

This is just the latest expression of an attitude that goes beyond the virus. Strong conservatives don’t see the facial mask as a medical “wearable” that helps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, they see it as a direct challenge to their freedom of choice. Strong liberals view wearing a mask as a considerate act that embraces what community health officials recommend. We have to wonder how much longer the “no compromise” school of politics will last. With the balance of power appearing to shift in the Legislature and notably in the urban centers in this state, the key to being a successful politician moving forward will require an ability to negotiate and compromise.

Some within the Republican ranks recognize this. Accomplishing an agenda with a narrow majority means that every legislator needs to fall in line. At the capital, the dwindling strength of GOP dominance has already resulted in power plays within the ranks. Last year, Sens. Paul Boyer (R-20) and Heather Carter (R-15) held up the entire Legislature when they refused to vote for the budget until lawmakers passed a bill changing immunity laws for sexual assault. The stalemate went on for weeks until leadership within the majority surrendered and Boyer’s bill was approved.

We doubt the House will accomplish much legislation in its return to session, but that’s not the point for the conservative lawmakers who called for this resumption. This is their victory, forcing GOP leadership to get back to business after previous plans to adjourn sine die were dramatically reversed.

We’re at the start of a hot summer of political campaigns and important elections. We will find out this fall whether a majority of Arizonans support the staunch, no-compromise, conservative platform, or if a new chapter of state politics will be written.

— Sierra Vista Herald

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