What on earth has the Arizona Republican Party become?

Masada Siegel
·4 min read
<p>Arizona Governor Doug Ducey — who is a Republican — has been attacked by Trump for standing by the state’s results</p> (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey — who is a Republican — has been attacked by Trump for standing by the state’s results

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

On Monday, the official Twitter account of the Arizona Republican Party surprised many locals by asking if people would give their lives in the fight over the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The retweet was from right-wing activist Ali Alexander, in which he said he is "willing to give my life for this fight.”

"He is. Are you?" the state GOP added.

Later, another tweet appeared that read: “This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something.”

Incendiary comments from the GOP are a far cry from the Republican Party that many of us grew up with here in Arizona. This especially as the Republicans are known for their staunch support of the police, and their brand is built on the idea that they would never want to put them or any citizens in harm’s way. The tweet is not only shocking but dangerous.

“Some in the Arizona GOP leadership have embraced the fringe players and quack theories that only divide our country. If they want to become the fringe instead of being a major party, that’s their business. But this sort of reckless rhetoric will get somebody hurt and must be denounced now,” Grant Woods said in an email interview. Woods served as then-Representative McCain’s first chief of staff in the 1980s and was state attorney general from 1991 to 1999.

Words matter — especially words about “giving people’s lives — and unfortunately, Arizona is no stranger to gun violence. Indeed, the newly elected junior senator of Arizona, Senator Mark Kelly, knows firsthand how dangerous such rhetoric can be. His wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was a rising star in her party, was shot in the head in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011. She was attending an outdoor constituent meeting when a gunman attacked unexpectedly. Eighteen additional people were shot and six people were killed.

This past November, Vice President Joe Biden beat President Trump by over 10,000 votes in Arizona, turning the state blue for the first time in decades. Republican Governor Doug Ducey, while being a close associate of Trump, heard the voice of the people of Arizona and urged patience as every last vote was counted.

On November 30, in a series of tweets, Ducey defended Arizona’s election process after being attacked by Trump over the results.

“Arizona for years has had mail-in [ballots]. I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason. We have been doing early voting since 1992. Arizona didn’t explore or experiment this year. We didn’t cancel election day voting as some pushed for — we weren’t going to disenfranchise any voter,” he said.

Ducey stressed how every single signature is reviewed on early ballots by hand. He added that because of especially strict electoral laws, any “problems that exist in other states simply don’t apply here.”

The fractures within the Republican Party are becoming more pronounced; that much is evident by the pinned tweet at the top of the official Arizona Republican Party Twitter page which says: “DO NOT CERTIFY A FALSE ELECTION DATED NOV 30.”

These sorts of statements threaten to undermine the GOP party in Arizona and further turn off their constituents.

Stand Up Republic, a nonpartisan political group founded by 2016 independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn, provides a home for displaced conservatives who weren’t comfortable with Trump.

CJ Diegel, the group’s state leader, explained, “The Arizona GOP’s call for violence… shows that their leadership has officially lost touch with reality. We need to stand up for Arizona’s clear results and not get manipulated by online lunacy. Trump lost. Let’s not have our party go down with him. Most of us in Arizona would like to move forward as rational Republicans.”

Evan McMullin himself also weighed in on the divisiveness of the Arizona GOP.

"Republican leadership in Arizona has lost its grip on reality and continues to be a destructive force for the state and its own viability,” he said. “Its reckless rhetoric puts the party's supporters and others at risk, while alienating voters. Republicans need to be competitive. It's no wonder that the party lost the presidential and US Senate races this cycle and the state is now trending blue. Sadly for it and Arizona, I expect things to get worse for the party until it gets new leadership.”

One wonders what our beloved Arizona Senator McCain would say if he was watching the debacle unfold within his Republican Party.

Sadly, we will never find out. However, we do know what he did say after losing the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000, and perhaps it would be wise for all to heed his words of wisdom: ”I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land. I want the presidency in the best way, not the worst way.”