The Phoenix Civic Center, built with the support of Councilman Barry Goldwater, was seen as an example of profligacy by hardcore right-wingers. This side of the center faces Central. Today most of the site is the Phoenix Art Museum.
It is tempting to see the likes of Diane Douglas, John Huppenthal, Tom Horne-y, "Better Call Sal" DiCiccio and the entire Kookocracy as a recent phenomenon in Arizona. It's certainly comforting to us natives.
Barry Goldwater wasn't raving mad, we will tell you (the "lobbing one into the men's room of the Kremlin" was a joke). He came to regret his early opposition to federal civil rights laws, and was instrumental in helping desegregate Phoenix's schools. He desegregated Goldwater's Department Store, as well as promoting minority managers. As a city councilman, Goldwater supported public improvements, including bonds for the 1950 Civic Center (and he backed every Phoenix bond measure thereafter). In the 1980s and 1990s, Arizona's new conservatives repudiated him.
The truth is that Arizona was always a conservative state, in a narrow definition of the term. But for decades most citizens understood it wouldn't have existed without enormous federal largesse. No wonder majorities voted for FDR all four times he stood for the presidency. Sen. Carl Hayden was a progressive and New Deal Democrat. His fellow Democratic Senator, Ernest McFarland was the father of the GI Bill.
But the Kookocracy has roots that reach back more than half a century in Phoenix, to a forgotten City Council election.