There was no shortage of cringeworthy moments during Thursday’s food fight, otherwise known as Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial debate.
There was the squabbling, of course, and the two leading candidates embracing their inner 8-year-old as they hurled insults at one another.
There was Scott Neely’s remark about his opponents, all of them accomplished in their respective professional fields: “I haven't been on a stage with this many women since I’ve been to a baby shower.”
But the cringiest, creepiest, scariest moment of all was when Kari Lake asked for a show of hands of how many of the four candidates believe the 2020 presidential election was “corrupt and stolen.”
Three hands immediately shot up.
After all this, they think the election was stolen
After sample audits and a “full forensic audit” found no evidence that the election was rigged …
After eight unsuccessful lawsuits, including a two-day detailed hearing that produced no evidence that Trump was robbed ...
After two independent investigations cleared the Dominion Voting Systems machinery and a third confirmed the election equipment was never hooked to the internet ...
After a hand count of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots confirmed the results of the election …
After every county election official in the state – both Republican and Democrat – certified the results as good and true, as did a Republican governor and a Republican attorney general ...
After then-President Donald Trump’s own attorney general said there was no credible evidence of widespread fraud …
After millions of dollars wasted and 18 months of searching turned up no proof of any widespread conspiracy …
... three of Arizona’s four Republicans running for governor believe the election was stolen.
If Kari Lake loses, 2022 is fraudulent, too?
Only Karrin Taylor Robson hasn’t taken the swan dive of delusion down that rabbit hole, though she’s quick to assure Republican voters that she doesn’t believe the election was fair.
But she, at least, stopped short of crying “Fraud!” given the complete and total absence of any credible evidence.
Meanwhile, Kari Lake continues to spout utter nonsense about hundreds of thousands of conspiracy-laced ballots that resulted in a “corrupt” election and an “illegitimate president”. She even suggested that she might not accept the results of the Aug. 2 primary unless she’s the winner.
“We have a movement. Our campaign is a movement,” she said, when asked whether she would accept the results of the primary election. “We’re going to show up in droves. They are going to have to cheat even harder to win it.”
So there you have it. If Kari Lake loses, the election must be fraudulent. (Haven’t we seen this movie before?)
And scariest part?
Kari Lake may just win this thing.
No proof that voters returned to their senses
I’d say our beloved state is in a state of temporary insanity except 18 months of psychosis is hardly temporary and there’s no evidence that a good chunk of this state’s voters are returning to their senses.
Election deniers are leading in the polls for the state’s three top jobs: Blake Masters (Senate); Mark Finchem (secretary of state) and Lake (governor). This, as early ballots for the Aug. 2 primary hit mailboxes next week.
Unless the non-deluded wing of the Republican Party prevails over the next month or Democrats somehow pull off a miracle in November, this swing state could well be about to careen from temporary insanity into full-blown, flat-out crazy.
As bellwethers go, this one should be clanging loudly all across the land.
Be afraid, America. Be very afraid.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why Arizona's Republican governor race should scare America