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Arizona Continues Its Descent Into Madness
Just when you thought the Arizona GOP couldn't become more detached from reality.....
Back in February, I wrote about the Arizona Republican Party’s descent into nihilism. In that piece, I wrote:
The party of Goldwater and McCain not only lost its way, it seems to have put on a tinfoil hat, burned the bridge behind it, and are prepping for the end times.
And yet Arizona Republicans, both within the party and within the General Assembly, continue to double-down on this moronic strategy of dividing the party and alienating non-Trump conservative Republicans, who continue to leave the party in droves.
Somehow, in some way, Arizona Republicans are continuing to find new ways to ratchet things up.
Just when it seemed Arizona Republicans couldn’t make more of a spectacle, they found another way.
As the party hardens around its fealty to former President Donald Trump, the GOP is filling up its midterm ballot with a roster of conspiracy theorists and extremists that could threaten the party’s prospects in a state that’s drifted leftward in recent elections.
The latest of those candidates is Ron Watkins, a celebrity in the QAnon conspiracy world suspected of being Q, who announced his plans to run for Congress last week.
It isn’t just that Watkins embraces the baseless claim that the November election was stolen. It’s that an entire ticket is running on that falsehood now. The state’s congressional delegation features Rep. Paul Gosar, who spoke earlier this year at a conference organized by a white nationalist, and Rep. Andy Biggs, who falsely maintains “we don’t know” who won the presidential election in Arizona.
State Rep. Mark Finchem, one of the chief proponents of the discredited post-election ballot review in Arizona, has been endorsed by Trump in his bid for secretary of state. And Kari Lake, the former TV anchor who has become a frontrunner for governor, still insists Trump carried the state and said recently that she would not have certified the 2020 election.
You should read the entire sad, sordid thing.
Yes, despite the fact that the Arizona audit blew up in their faces, despite the fact that the party continues to hemorrhage mainstream Republicans, despite the fact that there is an election next year and that Democrats have a real opportunity to win a Gubernatorial election since 2006, Arizona Republicans are continue to act out conspiracy tinged fantasies that even Art Bell wouldn’t have given the time to.
Here’s a telling quote from an elected Republican in Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona and seemingly the center of the Arizona GOP vortex of vapidity;
“The goalposts keep moving,” said Bill Gates, a Republican Maricopa County supervisor. “It used to be that we got into genuine debates about whether you’re more of a conservative or a moderate. We used to debate over ideology. And now it is how far you can go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. And if you’re unwilling to do it, it doesn’t matter if you’re pro-life, if you’ve never voted for a tax increase. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, unfortunately.”
Sadly, I’ve seen that type of thinking permeate Republican minds across the country. The number of times that I personally have been called a “RINO” or a “Fake Conservative” because I oppose Trumpism, believed the election results, etc. It doesn’t matter that I am more conservative than Trump and most Trump minions on every single policy that (allegedly) matters to them; since my goal is to win elections and influence policy instead of “owning the libs” I am the problem.
Back in Arizona, Republicans are in a race to the bottom, giving up more and more principles of the party in order to stay in good standing with Trump’s Cult of Personality.
And yet, that is still not enough for some people. Former Republicans Daniel McCary and Wade Wilson. They are trying to bolt the Arizona GOP to form a new party. I’ll let them explain in their own words:
The only way to see how corrupt the voting is and to determine how big the constitutional conservative movement is MAY be to start a new party. In Arizona we need to establish a list of people that would like to start a new party. This is not an official party registration.
Weird considering he said that he doesn’t want to start a new party, just take over the Arizona Republican Party. But the entire Patriot Party gambit seems to involve a belief that Trump is a socialist (possibly accurate) and a personal vendetta against Wendy Rodgers, one of the former famous Trump sycophants in Arizona.
Regardless of whatever these guys are doing, Arizona Republicans look like they are going to be coming in for a rude awakening come next year. I have a funny feeling that when the results of the 2022 election come in the grown ups in their GOP (if there are any left by that point) will realize that dumpster fire that has been wrought by the party’s descent into madness and mayhem. Sadly for Arizonans who have been supporting Republicans for years, that may be the only thing that snaps the party and its voters out of it.