The Skinny

Raul: #ReadyForHillary

Grijalva wants to see Trump lose big in November

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump popped into Phoenix over the weekend to give another one of his—well, you can't really call it a "speech" in the traditional sense. In a rambling address, he talked about how much he has won, how amazing he is and how the press is dishonest, blah, blah, blah.

There were a few moments where he came close to addressing actual policy issues, if you think that promising to make Mexico build a wall represents a serious proposal. And there was an odd moment where he tried to make an appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters, which—well, we just don't imagine many people in that GOP audience think much of Bernie and it seems unlikely that too many of Bernie's supporters are going to sign on with Trump's agenda.

But mostly, when it comes to traditional political rhetoric, it was Trump's typical dumpster fire of a speech.

Ahead of Trump's visit, The Skinny spoke with Congressman Raul Grijalva, who called Trump "dangerous" and "a bigot."

Grijalva said he wanted Trump to lose big in November and, in the process, drag down enough Republicans to allow Democrats to retake the U.S. Senate and narrow the gap in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I don't want this election to be close," Grijalva said. "It's not just about defeating Trump, it's about decimating him by winning big and establishing a statement. And we can win huge if the Bernie people participate. But Hillary must also accommodate and speak to the issues that motivate those people."

Grijalva was one of the few members of Congress to endorse Bernie Sanders, but now he says it's time for "Bernie or bust" crowd to get behind Hillary Clinton, even if they do think she's too close to Wall Street or a neocon warmonger.

"I think at some point, the people who are not going to vote for her are going to have to stop and think about their options," Grijalva said. "And the option is, by not participating, do we give Trump the opportunity to have the reins of this country?"

While he's now ready to join Team Hillary (although he's not sure "there's a cushion waiting for me there"), he said that there's a lot to celebrate about Sanders' campaign. Many of the issues important to Grijalva and his fellow progressives—climate change, healthcare for all, free college tuition, reining in Wall Street—are now being seriously discussed in ways they were not before Sanders caught fire with voters.

"All those issues we fought for, we're going to keep them alive," Grijalva said. "That's the way the party grows and that's the way we establish ourselves for a long time to come."

Ballot Box Basics

Grijalva sponsors bill to improve voter rights

Speaking of Congressman Raul Grijalva: He was among the sponsors of the Voting Access Act, which was introduced last week in reaction to Arizona's disastrous presidential primary election. As you may recall, Maricopa County residents waited in lines for hours to cast a ballot because election officials decided they didn't need more than 60 polling locations.

But Maricopa County is hardly the only place in America where long lines appear on Election Day, so Grijalva and a collection of other Democrats—including Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego in Arizona—have introduced the Voting Access Act.

Grijalva told The Skinny that the legislation doesn't do everything that needs to happen to secure Americans' right to vote. That would require a changes to the Voting Rights Act that was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Grijalva doesn't expect the GOP-controlled House to do much with the Voting Rights Act—or, as he put it, "It's going to be difficult to turn around some of the suppression strategies that have been put into place around the country."

But the Voting Access Act has lower ambitions—like putting into place a requirement that nobody has to wait more than an hour to cast a ballot; standards for how many polling places there should be in a jurisdiction; making sure that polling places are set up to accommodate people with disabilities; and standards to make sure that that voters get accurate information about voting, according to a summary of the legislation.

Grijalva said the legislation includes grants to the states to help them comply with the proposed law.

"The idea was to enhance participation and access," Grijalva said. "It's more of a carrot than a stick."

Court Challenge

Pima County Board of Supervisors candidate faces eligibility challenge

Richard Hernandez, an independent who is seeking to challenge Democratic Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez in November, is fighting to keep his spot on the ballot.

Kathy Kennedy, a Valadez supporter, filed suit to knock Hernandez from the ballot, saying that he failed to turn in enough valid signatures.

Hernandez needed to turn in at least 810 valid signatures. He turned in 1,056 signatures but the lawsuit against him alleges that he turned in hundreds of invalid signatures.

A report from Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriquez concluded that Hernandez was at least 26 signatures short of the required 810.

Hernandez was due in court on Tuesday, June 21, to make the case that he should remain on the ballot. That was past The Skinny's deadline, but Hernandez said he'd represent himself in court and laid out some legal reasons why the court should accept the signatures that were disqualified.

"The whole country is clamoring that we need to change from the traditional, establishment people and I believe they are doing everything they can to stop that from happening," Hernandez said. "I think the people should be heard. They are targeting me because I believe I can win this election. I would say this to my opponent: Shame on you. Let the people decide who they want as a representative."

Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on Dish, DirecTV and broadcast. You can hear the show on KXCI, 91.3 FM, at 5 p.m. Sundays or watch it online at This week's scheduled guests include Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson; Board of Supervisors candidate John Winchester, a Republican running against Supervisor Ally Miller in the GOP primary; and Arizona House of Representatives candidate Kirsten Engel.