What the Devil won't tell you
Maybe I'm amazed: Advice for Arizona Republicans after losing the un-losable 2022 election
Kari Lake has lost her race for governor.
Seriously, the Trumpist Republican needs to hire someone to follow her around for a year and laugh at her, just to recalibrate her ego. The woman was strutting so hard during the last two weeks of the campaign, I thought her first move in office would have been to rename the state Karizona.
Then she lost to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (Katie Hobbs!). Hobbs' debate debacle turned a one-night story about a probable poor performance into a six-week drubbing about her being too chicken. "I'm not good in front of people" is not the best campaign message to close with. But it worked.
Lake lost to her. Lake was the new MAGA superstar. The media couldn't get enough of her stage presence. She was the next vice president of the United States, alright. She may be a fascist but that voice.
Yeah, well, if Lake walks into the governor's office in January she'll be arrested for trespassing. She's nothing but a former newscaster.
Hobbs' victory leaves the Republican Legislature caught flat-footed. They can pass all the voter suppression bills they want. They'll just get vetoed.
Lake's loss means that the Republicans Arizona wipeout is nearly monumental. It's also proof that Donald John Trump is electoral ebola in Arizona.
Democrat Mark Kelly won re-election to the U.S. Senate, defeating Trump endorsed Republican Blake Masters. Adrian Fontes beat back Republican Oathkeeper and Trump-endorsed Mark Finchem. All Finchem wanted to do was toss out entire counties' votes if he didn't like the results. What's the big deal, right?
Kris Mayes may still score a victory in the attorney general race against Republican MAGA warrior Abe Hamadeh. Democrat Jevin Hodge isn't going to beat six-term incumbent Republican David Schweikert but even so, Democrats found themselves a new swing district after his narrow loss.
The Republicans maintain a one-seat edge in both houses of the Legislature, but Democrats now know they have a path to taking control. If this was a good year for the Republicans in the capitol complex, they can no longer afford a bad year.
How did Republicans blow this? Here's a hint: It wasn't the Democrats' tactical or strategic brilliance. The duck-and-cover strategy is a sure loser. Just ask Mike Dukakis. The only way it wins is if some of the dumber members of the other side start asking, "What's this self-destruct button do?"
So here's some friendly advice for next time. Call it a roadmap back to sanity so we can all go back to the happier times of Frank Antenori, Al Melvin and Jan Brewer — when the party wasn't a bunch of pyromaniacs, but was plenty damn conservative and often edged into being pretty loopy enough.
So, y'know... Ms. Lake, maybe don't mock an 82-year-old assault victim allegedly attacked by one of your partisans. Even if it is the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and you don't like her very much. It's a little something called "acting like a human being."
Maybe, Ms. Lake, just say you will accept the election results win or lose. Voters don't want another four years of sore loser-ing. Had you said you'd accept defeat, you would have probably won.
To the rest of you, I know that a lot of you are actually nice people and smart people.
You might want to flesh out a governing philosophy that's something a bit more robust than just "triggering libs."
Maybe next time don't act as though your greatest leadership skill is being tough enough to behave like the worst person in any room you occupy.
Try that out, Republicans. Maybe get a life-saving vaccine. Maybe wear a mask. Maybe don't punch out flight attendants for telling you it's airline policy that you wear one.
Maybe don't call a proud old conservative a pedophile because he wouldn't lie about the last election. Extra credit: Don't do it through a PA system attached to trucks circling House Speaker Rusty Bowers' neighborhood.
Maybe understand that Arizona voters don't hate immigrants. In fact, they approved in-state tuition for DREAMERS, undocumented migrants who came into the country as kids and have grown up in these United States of America.
Hatred isn't a good look for any season.
Oh, here's another idea. Maybe don't openly confess to having no discernible values and only caring about power. It gives the libs a victory dance of vindication.
Lately I've been wondering if y'all know that the rest of us can hear you when you say this stuff toward a camera.
When you do, be nice.
Leaving races on the table
Maybe don't 86 good candidates because they don't share your hallucinations about whatever new conspiracy the interwebz most recently conjured.
Republican Karrin Taylor Robson would be preparing her transition to the governor's office today —but she wasn't Trumpy enough. How likely is Hobbs to sign GOP legislation over the next four years?
Next time you get a candidate like Mark Finchem, who won't shut up about fake news about the election in 2020, maybe don't nominate him for the office that oversees elections if he advocates throwing out the vote totals in the state's biggest county.
Did it occur to you guys that Maricopa County voters might not like the idea that their votes would be discarded because Secretary of State Finchem watched a Youtube video made by people hearing voices in their heads?
How's this: if you have proof that the election was stolen, present it in a court of law to a judge who can do something about it.
Maybe go with regular crazies like right-wing Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a Senate race instead of Blake Masters, who comes off like he may just be stalking your sister.
Yeah, see, maybe don't nominate for Senate a wholly-owned subsidiary of a tech billionaire to run against tech oligarchs. Masters got virtually all of his primary money from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Thiel bemoans a government so suffocating of his personal liberty and capacity for fulfillment that he only made north of $4 billion.
Just take a second to process the pain felt for a man suffocated by the yoke of organized civilization.
Ready to move on?
Maybe don't fess up to the plan to crash the American economy into the debt ceiling, while running on a promise to fix the economy. I mean triggering a global crash will fix inflation but it's the only way to let Biden off the hook for the economy if it stays sour.
Maybe don't disclose your secret plan to de-fund Ukraine's heroic resistance to Russia, when your party is already suspected of being in the tank for Russia.
Maybe don't campaign against inflation and talk about immediately moving to impeach Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
Hint: Holding hearings on Major Biden's connection to foreign Alpo dealers won't do a damn thing to control the velocity in the aggregated money supply.
When you say things that make you seem crazy in Georgia and Washington, people assume you are crazy in Arizona.
Closer to home
My fine Republian friends, why are you elevating white nationalist Sen. Wendy Rogers to the head of the Arizona Senate Elections Committee? You understand white nationalism is the new PC term for white supremacy, right? It's basically the modern Ku Klux Klan, spiffed up to trend on social media.
If the goal is to make everyone feel better about elections, she might not be the best choice to write those rules.
Then again, Hobbs will just veto it.
It's not voter fraud that's hurting you folks in the red hats. It's that your party is trading dependable suburban voters for a bunch of gamers waiting in Cornville for the reincarnation of John F. Kennedy Jr.
If none of this is fair, denounce cults like QAnon, who deal in reptilian conspiracies and await the day they can publicly murder their political opponents.
And abortion ... mother of creation, what did you guys do? No exceptions for rape? Nope. Incest? Nope. That's fine. Suburban women don't decide any elections— except for all of them.
If I'm advising Republicans, maybe talk to a swing voter or two rather than getting in their face and shouting "Sheeple!"
Maybe don't tell supporters of the late Sen. John McCain to eat shit and die. Just because 11 of you got off on "censuring" him in your little internal confabs doesn't mean plenty of rock-ribbed Republican voters in this state (and plenty of independents and even Democrats) don't still deeply respect his long tenure in politics.
A couple final points to consider...
Maybe next time, don't storm the U.S. Capitol – I'm just throwing it out there and seeing if a Proud Boy beats it with a flagpole.
Oh yeah, maybe don't beat cops with flagpoles or any other flags or implements of patriotism. Just don't beat cops. How's that?
Maybe next time, don't declare those who did a bunch of "freedom fighters" engaged in "legitimate political discourse."
Perhaps, just perhaps, maybe don't hire a group of crackpots named "Cyber Ninjas" to conduct a months-long audit conforming to no known professional principles. The name Cyber Ninjas didn't give you pause?
I'm just going to go out on a limb here. It may not have been the best idea to force all Republican candidates for office to swear allegiance to the one Republican to lose Arizona's electoral votes in a two-way race since the days before television.
Voters are still in charge, thank you very much. It's not the media, the deep state, George Soros, woke Twitter, college professors or transgender athletes. Article VII, Sec. 7 of the Arizona Constitution still says whomever has the most votes wins.
I know. You don't think 81 million people voted for Joe Biden to be president.
Know what? I agree. A record number of people would not vote for him.
Let me explain to you what they voted against.
They voted against the most offensive, corrupt, irritating, narcissistic, irredeemable and omnipresent blast furnace of ghastly human malevolence ever to occupy public office in America.
His name is Donald. Forget that name.
Keep putting him on the ballot – physically or spiritually – and someday soon, Bernie Sanders will dismiss Arizona as a bunch of crazy liberals.
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 himself won’t.