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Opinion

What the Devil won't tell you

No joke: It's time to treat Arizona fraudit like a threat to the republic

Trumped-up election review is a blatant & boring attempt to justify GOP moves to toss out democracy

The hot take on the Cyber Ninjas election “fraudit” is that the whole lot of them are idiots.

The months-long, millions-spent perusal of ballots by Trump supporters and kooky self-proclaimed "experts" eventually found that President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump in Maricopa County. No shinola, Sherlock. We knew that already.

Well, Biden actually won by about 300 more votes than the Maricopa County elections people reported, the reviewers said they found.

After nearly a year of yammering about how Trump really won Arizona but had it stolen from his grasp, the Arizona State Senate’s attack on election integrity seems to have come up completely empty.

The instinct to laugh and roll eyes is understandable. I did.

But this crap is about as funny as a mass roadside grave.

The fraudit – and nothing about this thing is on the level – gave the Republicans what they wanted. It’s a bound report with the word “audit” on it that declares problems in the election with “critical” and “high” problems to solve through more voter suppression.

Yes, they are idiots, but they are the most dangerous idiots in U.S. history and they have to be stopped. Sitting out 2022 is no longer an option.

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Here’s one example: Oro Valley state Rep. Mark Finchem received Trump’s endorsement in the Republican primary for the office of secretary of state. Winning that race next year would put the Jan. 6 Capitol tourist in charge of overseeing and certifying Arizona's elections. Finchem could win. His odds are probably 50-50. He has repeatedly said Biden lost Arizona and the state should (and can) overturn the 2020 election.

Think he’ll allow a Joe Biden victory in the state in 2024? Not a chance. Will he even allow a Democratic takeover of the state Legislature where they remain two seats away from power in both houses? No way.

Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo pretty much nailed the threat posed in the months ahead as Republicans seek to keep the state red at all costs.

“Now these candidates, and the radical right members of the Senate will move the goalposts even further, they’ll ship their claims about the audit results,” he said.

Arizona is changing and the Trumpites don't like it. So they'll cheat to maintain power.

There is talk in the Legislature right now of establishing a “voter nullification committee” to overturn the will of the voters if they dare cast their ballots for Democrats. It sounds crazy. It will likely never happen – just like a sitting president would never launch a mob attack on the peaceful transfer of power, right?

In this Republican Party, yesterday's crazy becomes today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's new normal faster than you can say "Ivanka."

It’s time to stop thinking these guys aren’t serious or “it’s just talk” or that there is anything at all "normal" about this.

I don't take the audit presentation seriously or intend to give it life with too many words. The intent behind it brutal, and that's what needs to be driven into Arizona's collective skull.

Axes to grind

Still, I give them a chance. The presentation given to senators Friday began with Shiva Ayyadura to discuss signatures on the envelopes of returned mail-in ballots. OK.

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Journalists and concerned citizens tune in to let him talk. Two things I want to know about a signature review: Is the expert an actual expert and is he dispassionate?

Ayyadura — or as the syllabically challenged Republican officials have been calling him, "Dr. Shiva" —  was quoted saying "we’re all n---ers on the white liberal deep state reservation.”

He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020 as a Republican in Massachusetts. He got booted off Twitter earlier this year after he claimed that officials had destroyed millions of ballots and caused him to lose.

I'm going to go with this guy having an axe to grind and he has an orange dog in the fight. So I don't care what his expertise is. He claims to have "invented email." He's 57 years old. The first email was sent in 1971. That math checks out about as well as the figures he jumbled about during his presentation to the Arizona Senate on Friday.

Then Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan began boasting of his involvement with the debunked claim of election fraud in Antrim County, Michigan. So I checked out of the dull slog of a "hearing" about the fraudit results. The tedium is a tactic: bore people so much that they'll assume there are some facts in what you're droning on about.

But not before both of them talked talked the importance of transparency.

The Florida company Cyber Ninjas has zero experience in audits or in elections and won’t make the procedures they used public, to give them a chance to stand up to public scrutiny. 

So when the cyber ninja turtles tell us 23,000 people voted from the wrong address, how do we believe them?

If I was the only one allowed to watch the original Star Wars trilogy and the rest of the world were never allowed to see it, I could report that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father's gay lover.

None of this is righteous. All of this is a fraud.

The one and only purpose

The fraudit was only meant to serve one purpose: Deny the people their electoral remedy.

The goal is not to make sure that voters trust the results. There are about as many Democrats or Democrat-leaners in this state as Republicans, but the GOP ram their "election integrity" laws through without seeking any bipartisan consensus. 

They clearly don’t give two prickly pears if the opposition have doubts about that.

The true goal is to make people doubt the results of our elections, no matter how secure and accurate they actually are.

Fann was eating up the ninja turtles report. So we know what's coming.

"This has never been about overturning the election; this has never been about decertifying," the state Senate president said Friday. Funny how every other Trumper in the state hasn't shut up about decertifying the election.

What's really happening: GOP lawmakers are telling anyone who would vote against them: “Bite us. You are not in power. You never will be because we’ll never let you be so long as we’re in power.”

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The Republicans are seeking a permanent majority that's immune from the public will. The right to vote is just a technicality.

According to a Pew poll taken in June, 67 percent of Republican respondents called voting a privilege and not a right. This is the party that claims to be all about the the Constitution, which includes the right to vote.

One of the audit's recommendations sounds innocuous enough. It requires the final election canvass reconcile with the final “voted file.” Except what does that mean? Does that mean that the election count must be perfect? Say the count in Pima County varies by a 10 or 12 votes and a candidate loses by 4,000. Can the secretary of state then invalidate the whole election and name the loser as the "true" winner?

Finchem is running on this very proposition: That if the voters vote to reduce or eliminate Republican lawmakers’ authority, he’ll just flip the election results. He wants it done for Trump? Why wouldn’t he do it in Legislative District 9?

The big bet

The Republicans are fighting themselves and history, to a degree.

The new Republican Party isn't as good as the old Republican Party at the basics.

"That is a true statement," Senate President Karen Fann said during Friday's hearing of Biden having more votes than Trump.

Democrats and Republicans ruled by Newtonian physics have been given a cannon to defend the election with. The audit says Biden won. It's not a partisan exercise to point out that its methods were as haphazard and unfounded as its inspiration. That leaves the Trumpites in the position of having to defend it with stumbling PowerPoints.

Usually, it's Democrats defending presentation slides and easels from incoming fire ("Well, if you look at point nine of our 16-point plan...).

In coming years, Millennials and Gen Z will likely tilt the country further and further to the left, to the point that a 51-49 Democratic country becomes a 56-44 Democratic country.

The more important bet — and the history's jury remains out on this — is that more people want to end democracy than are willing to fight to save it.

Consider that one of the top polling firms in the country found Trump beats Biden with some of his biggest numbers. That's after he oversaw the death of 500,000 Americans and after he launched an attack on the U.S. Capitol. Voters seem to be saying "Meh, Afghanistan was messy."

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And when has the Republican Legislature paid for anything at the ballot box since 1966?

The bet itself is hardly stupid.

That coming demographic could take back power, but I'm not sure how peaceful it would be. Just ask the Shia and the Sunnis, or the Albanians and the Serbs.

The one legitimate law

So they have to go now, before it’s too late. Too late may be 2023. And I would say this about Democrats doing the same thing. It's not about policy. It's about our heritage.

In 2022, the state lawmakers elected by Arizona voters will get to decide who wins the presidential election and maybe others.

I’ve been all over this subject and found an article by Amherst Law Prof. Austin Sarat that really boils it down well. 

Yes, they can. 

The audit isn't about the past. It's about a future of one party's codified entitlement.

Maricopa Supervisor Gallardo talked about how this disease has infected our neighbors: “Just look at the Republican U.S. Senate primary. For the past few months, Arizonans have been forced to watch these candidates go back and forth to announce claims that Trump actually won Arizona."

He added that Republicans have created “a purity test to say if you don’t believe in this audit, if you don’t believe that president and former President Trump won, you’re not Republican enough.”

In 5,000 years of civilized human history we've had 200-odd years of constitutional democracy deciding how some of us are governed. This is rare and fragile. 

The Republicans are clear. They’re going to lie their asses off and burn down the federal constitutional democratic republican heritage of our state and nation. They don’t intend to govern. With or without the consent of the governed, they intend to rule.

Voters have to stop them while they still can.

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.


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1 comment on this story

1
74 comments
Sep 25, 2021, 7:00 am
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Why is it that the so-called Democratic Party is so impotent against the craziest bunch of nutters to ever burrow their way into any state legislature.

Where’s their candidate for AZ Attorney General? They don’t have one. Who’s running against this nut case Fincham? One loser and an also ran. You don’t beat something with nothing. The AZ Democratic Party is useless. Complain all you want about the crazies, at least they run.

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Trump speaking at an event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, June 23, 2020.

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