What the Devil won't tell you
Off my chest: Lake's bogus promise, misunderstood inflation rates & crime stats confound Az midterm
Good news, everyone. We can all relax.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has said she will accept the results of the Nov. 8 election.
She told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that she would accept a loss if the election were fair, honest and transparent.
Three guesses as to who gets to decide if her loss is fair, honest and transparent: Kari Lake. In other words, Lake will accept the results only if she wins. If she loses, count on bat-guano crazy.
Remember, Lake said the primary election that she won was corrupt. She doesn't even have to lose to launch torpedoes at the U.S.S. Democracy.
The part about that interview that is the most telling was Lake's contempt for the question. Why are you focusing on this single issue and not the other issues that matter?, is her attitude.
Karl seemed to get defensive. He should have replied: "If a sitting governor blows up democracy, government will no longer be accountable to the people on any issue ever again. So that kind of trumps everything else."
Lake bragged this summer about conversations that she had with Donald Trump about how she always brings the topic back to stolen elections. Fine, she said that admitting Joe Biden won 81 million votes insults her intelligence. On Oct. 17, she refused to say she would accept the results if she lost.
Lake's campaign made a big to-do in a press release about Democrat Katie Hobbs refusing to debate. The gist was "would you hire someone for a job if they refused to interview for it?"
Well now, that depends. If the other candidate were to say during her interview "I think you'll find me smart, a self starter and if things don't go my way, I'll burn the workplace down. So let's talk about a social media strategy I have...," then bosses would be within their rights to say "No, let's circle back to that other thing you said about arson."
Well, Lake would, no doubt, be incredulous that her confessed pyromania would dominate the interview.
As governor, Lake would be in a position to reject election results she doesn't like. So she can help Trump seize power in 2024. Then in 2026 if voters turn her out of office as a result, she can try to "nope" her way to a second term.
Arizona has been a red state. It now has two Democratic senators (I'm counting Kyrsten Sinema) and five Democratic U.S. House members. The GOP is at zero and four. So no wonder the Republican Party is finding problems with democracy. It's not that people are voting illegally. It's that they are voting for the wrong candidates.
Lake's dangerous loopiness does muddy what I've always thought is an inherent flaw in state elections.
I'm not sure the secretary of state should be allowed to run for higher office. Hell, they should probably be term-limited to a single four-year hitch.
Secretaries of state are charged with running statewide elections. So when they are on the ballot, it's like being the ref and the point guard.
It's never been a problem before. We've had Republicans like Betsy Bayless, Ken Bennett and Jan "Scorpions for Breakfast" Brewer and never had to wonder "Golly, if the GOP loses, will the secretary of state hit Arizona with a 'Nu-uhhhhh'?"
We don't have to worry about Hobbs.
Republican candidate Mark Finchem would be that kind of guy. In fact, he's promising to be that kind of guy.
All it takes is one person in that position to ruin it for everyone.
The person who oversees elections should not be overseeing their own.
We have to worry about it because Finchem has been running on a platform of "election results I don't like are fraudulent."
As Arizonans are worried about inflation, they might just elect him.
What does the Arizona secretary of state have to do with inflation? Not a goddamned thing.
Voting in an election fraudster to oversee democracy because voters are mad about inflation is like hiring kleptomaniac to house sit because voters are mad the Denver Broncos can't manage touchdowns. The former has nothing to do with the latter, but the latter will strip the house clean.
This column gives me a chance to get some things off my chest related to the coverage of inflation by the national media. It's been limited to "Inflation is bad. Sucks for Biden."
Maybe take some time to explain inflation with the nuance of, oh, I don't know, Johnny Depp's marriage. If we're going to 86 democracy because inflation is bad, maybe explain what the heck inflation is, where it comes from and what anyone not on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board can do about it.
Inflation is a function of the supply of too much money chasing too few goods. It's not a reason to cast a vote in a state office. The state government doesn't coin money. A governor can't control inflation.
This is one issue where both parties are kind of full of it. Lake and Hobbs both pledge to put more money in people's pockets through tax cuts and/or subsidies.
That does the opposite of fighting inflation.
Arizona State University Professor Dennis Hoffman, who's advised all governors for the last 40 years, pointed out to KPNX in Phoenix that the best way for a governor to fight inflation is to raise taxes and not spend the money. Sop it out of the economy like a paper towel on a spill.
Jon Stewart actually did an interview with Johns Hopkins economist Steven Hanke, a conservative in the libertarian mold, who laid a compelling theory about what caused inflation.
It has to do with monetizing the debt. The Fed financed coronavirus-stimulus with new money rather than letting the Treasury Department sell U.S. bonds to people using money already in the economy and pay for those deficits.
How hard is that, Chuck Todd?
From the left, check out U.K. bond trader turned class warrior Gary Stevenson explain how the rich getting richer lead to an explosion in asset prices (like homes).
At the end of the day, the American people have power over inflation. Just stop buying X at Y price. A price is an offer. Don't like the offer? Refuse it. Wait for a counter offer.
Prices on everything are up and consumers haven't stopped buying anything.
While I'm on issues that are driving turnout (other than the GOP's extremist threat to self-governance).
We've got crime.
Crime, crime, crime. Why, it's gotten so we can't even walk down the street without being mugged, killed or someone robbing us of something and beating us with something else.
It's probably immigrants and the woke mob in cahoots with woke-er prosecutors, right?
Interestingly, crime in Tucson is down so far this year. It's not down a lot overall but according to Tucson Police Department numbers, reported crimes have fallen off 3.5 percent over last year and is down 15 percent over a five year rolling average that started in 2017.
Of course it's not as simple as that. Crime is down in some categories and up in others.
Compared to a five-year average between 2016 and 2020, crime is down double digit percent in sexual assaults and larceny, but up at least 10 percent in arson or robbery.
Checking out Phoenix (stats are only available through the first two quarters of this year) it looks like crime is rising from 2021 to 2022.
Overall crime is up 7 percent. There were 47 homicides between January and June 2021 but the figure stood at 65 between the same period this year.
Maricopa County has a Republican county attorney. In fact, it's had two in the last few years. Rachel Mitchell – of Brett Kavanaugh fame – replaced Alister Adel, who resigned. Pima County has Democrat Laura Conover.
So clearly we can conclude that Republican crime-fighting policies lead to more crime, right?
No. That's not how things work. Crime is a complicated issue that can't be reduced to easy scapegoats like criminal justice reform or immigration.
So maybe keep our eyes on the bouncing ball of democracy's prospects.
Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who worked in daily journalism for nearly 25 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.