What the Devil won't tell you
Brnovich's mocking Cyber Ninjas letter punctuates his doom in Az Senate race
In light of his U.S. Senate primary flameout, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's letter to the state Legislature concerning Cyber Ninjas and undead voters looks now like a concession speech.
It could have been edited down to "No, I'm no longer crazy enough to lead the Republican Party."
So long GOP, you are leaving our world and entering a twilight zone of paranoia, rage and victimhood. Not even an already-elected official like Brnovich has a political future in that particular land of shadows and madness.
Brnovich believes a lot of loony stuff and has the empathy of a hammerhead shark, but he knows 2 + 2 = 4.
ERRRT. Disqualifying. Two plus two, as every Orwell reader knows, equals whatever the party says it does.
Brnovich's final fickle finger got extended to the Arizona State Senate when he announced the findings of an exhaustive investigation into claims that alleged dead voters cost Trump the election.
Brace for impact, Arizona. It's a lie.
Let's hit the background on the silliness.
The Republican-controlled Senate contracted with Florida firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct what only the parties involved would call an "audit." The plan was to cull through the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County. The survey (let's call it) didn't adhere to anything like audit industry standards. Cyber Ninjas only qualification for the job was its CEO's insistence Donald Trump had the election stolen from him.
Even then, the so-called audit's results showed President Joe Biden won Maricopa County by more than previously believed.
Of course, Cyber Ninjas' real job was to produce a "report" that found voting restrictions and counting changes to be absolutely necessary so no future election could lead to such a disastrous result. That result being that a Republican president lost.
The fraudit sent Brnovich's office a list of 282 dead Arizona voters alleged to have cast ballots in 2020.
Brnovich's people investigated and it turned out one dead voter did cast a ballot. Cyber Ninjas came up 281 short.
See, journalists are a bit hamstrung because we can't say there was no voter fraud. There are always a few cases here and there. However, voter fraud did not go septic during the 2020 election. No way was it anything close to decisive. Most of the dopes who try it get caught easily, because the election system is transparent and secure. If there is a homicide in Oro Valley, no one is going to rename it "Murderville."
A handful of cases of illegal voting does not make an election fraudulent.
My AG just sent me a letter
"Our agents investigated all individuals that Cyber Ninjas reported as dead and many were very surprised to learn they were allegedly deceased."
That's how Brnovich pretends he's Steven Colbert. It's not a mighty punchline but it's a telling one.
His office went further and investigated a whole bunch more allegations sent to his office and the final report included 5,943 cases. According to the letter, the allegations differentiate between dead voters and dead registered voters.
"Once again, these claims were thoroughly investigated and resulted in only a handful of potential cases. Some were so absurd the names and birthdays didn’t even match the deceased and others included dates of deaths after the election," Brnovich wrote.
See, that's the problem. People voted and died later. Voting clearly should be restricted to those who are not vulnerable to death. It's a cyborg-only franchise, I guess.
So I'm left looking at the August 2 primary election results and concluding: So that's what happened to Mark Brnovich.
I was wondering how he could have been hosed as badly as voters truly sprayed him down with loser juice.
Brnovich is the top law enforcement officer in Arizona. He's won two elections – three if we include a successful 2014 primary challenge against a scandal-plagued incumbent named Tom Horne. That was back when scandal-plagued was a disqualifying modifier.
He didn't crack 19 percent of the Republican vote. He finished third to energy executive Jim Lamons and tech mogul Blake Masters, who won the race. He didn't just finish third. He finished third like I would in a three-person marathon – sucking gas and twitching with full-body cramps.
He was never really relevant in the election.
Brnovich didn't say anything stupid (well ...). He didn't have a sex scandal. He didn't prove an apostate on any traditional conservative issue.
He sued Biden administration to block COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and dismissed the vaccines because people still could contract the virus.
He's trying to impose a total ban on abortion in Arizona, stemming from an 1864 territorial law. The law doesn't just predate statehood. It was written before doctors knew about germs. A state law passed this year banning all abortions after 15 weeks would otherwise take effect in September.
The case that tore the heart out of the Voting Rights of 1965 has his name on it. It's Brnovich v. DNC and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor. The decision ripped the remaining ventricle out of the Voting Rights Act. We're back to the right of the state trumping the rights of the individual.
His crime against the party was failing to assist Donald Trump in overturning the election results in Arizona. What wins in Republican politics right now is the steadfast belief that Republicans are not allowed to legally lose.
He also launched a civil investigation and not a criminal probe into the 2020 election but as of April, he didn't say he found any evidence of a conspiracy or anyone to criminally prosecute. He gave substance to the election-deniers complains that the system can be improved, so y'know, fraud is theoretically possible, but that wasn't enough, I guess.
Republicans lost. Crimes must have afoot. The only other option would be that Arizona voters chose not to re-elect as president an addled, twice-impeached xenophobe who couldn't tell the truth from a cheeseburger and used the White House as a tool for his own gain,
The party nominated Masters for Senate, Kari Lake for the governor's race, Mark Finchem to vie for secretary of state and oversee elections and Abe Hamadeh to take a shot at replacing Bronovich. All of them are running on the fascist lie that Trump won in 2020 because only their party is allowed to win.
See the elections are all rigged. Kari Lake said even the 2022 primary was fraudulent. Question: How much of the Republican vote is fraudulent, Kari? Another question: Will she seek to disqualify them if they vote for her in the general election?
I mean "people are saying ..."
I'm not giving up on this idea of Nepalese space lasers.
It's why there is some utility to investigating the claims so there's a record of why they are B.S. So long as the claims are vetted the way Brnovich's team did. He used real investigators with experience doing the job. Brnovich didn't contract the gig out to Rudy Giulian's son Andrew.
Once again, we live in a world where we are supposed to accept results when the Orange Mafia wins but totally discount them when they lose. That way, they win either way.
So much for the consent of the governed.
And this was where Brnovich went so wrong. He lives in a space-laserless world.
When a political candidate becomes an attorney general, that office holder must operate within the confines of the law and present cases to judges and juries. They can't lie in court just because it feels good. They can but consequences follow.
They are restrained by operational gravity, which presents an avatar of psychological competence. Not Trumpy enough!
House Speaker Rusty Bowers spent a lifetime fighting for right wing causes. He didn't magically appear as speaker. The GOP caucus elected him to the post. Then he told the truth under oath. Not Trumpy enough! We're a law and order party! Perjure yourself for the God Emperor! Freedom!
Are we all going for Cocoa-Puffs?
The date on Brnovich's letter was Aug. 1. He was basically laughing at the Republican base one headed to the polls.
It's politics 101: Don't publicly haze your party's base the day before an election. Well, it makes sense if Brnovich had internal polling that showed he had a snowball's chance in Yuma.
He easily could have held off on that letter for another 48 hours, after the voting stopped.
I read Brnovich's letter as a confession to his party: "I know I'm going to lose and I know why. I'm not coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs enough to win a Republican primary in Arizona in 2022."
So maybe he got some satisfaction out of snark. I can appreciate that.
The thing is though, if Masters, Lake, Finchem and Hamadeh win, they're in charge and all 7 million Arizonans. Will have to live in their false reality choking on their sugary artificial flavors?
Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.