How to keep losing elections

Think of Arizona Republicans as lab rats. GOP strategists do.

What’s going on in Arizona GOP circles illustrates why Republicans are losing elections they should win. But they’re learning nothing from it. A Politico article published on Friday, February 3, 2023, goes into the details (read it here).

As background, a majority of Arizona voters lean Republican, but Democrats ran the table in the 2022 midterm elections because thousands of Republican voters refused to vote for the crazy GOP candidates. 

The Politico articles details this. It says,

“In an analysis of the vote in Maricopa County, where a majority of Arizona’s votes are cast, a group of elections experts, including Benny White, a former data analyst for the state Republican Party, found Lake and other hard-right candidates had turned off thousands of voters who otherwise leaned Republican. In the governor’s race, about 40,000 voters who favored Republicans in other races on their ballots did not vote for Lake; about 33,000 of them actually voted for the Democrat, Katie Hobbs, instead. At least part of the reason so many Republican-leaning voters defected, White told me, was Lake’s insistence on feeding the base’s addiction to election denialism.”

What are the chances Arizona’s Republicans will wake up to this fact, and deal with it by running candidates who aren’t crazy? Virtually none.

Not when you have the outgoing party chair, Kelli Ward, saying, “Things at the party are going great.” Stan Barnes, a former state representative and GOP consultant, called the 2022 Arizona elections “a perfect political science experiment,” but then said, “We had the best candidate in anyone’s lifetime in Kari Lake.” The 40,000 Republican voters who defected didn’t think so. Lake’s opponent won by 17,117 votes.

Barnes’ blindness to what’s obvious — his party lost because of toxic candidates — explains why Arizona Republicans are in a ditch they can’t climb out of.

The Politico article explains the root cause of that blindness: Arizona’s grassroots Republicans don’t believe their candidates lost. They believe they won, but the election was stolen from them. If you’re convinced the problem is the election system, not your candidates, you won’t see the problem with your candidates or do anything to nominate better candidates. That’s where the Arizona GOP is today.

They’re aware of their shrinking base. At a rally held at a Phoenix megachurch, one attendee told a reporter that “there had to be something Republicans could do to win over ‘normals,’” but acknowledged “that’s a tough nut to crack.” Sure is, when you go around calling people who disagree with you on some issues “the enemy,” run against Democrats on a platform of “fighting evil,” and post gunmen at ballot drop boxes.

Inside the church, a man named Mark Del Maestro went on stage, was given a microphone, and introduced himself as a Vietnam veteran. Then he said, “We should duct tape people to a tree in a dog park, so the dogs can pee on them. And then, when they’re there for a few hours and they have to crap in their pants, they can wallow in their own shit.” The emcee, a Republican National Committee member, joked, “I don’t know how much duct tape we have here.”

That’s not how you win over “normals” (i.e., voters who aren’t crazy). In normal society, this kind of talk normally triggers an intervention of some sort: A referral to counseling; perhaps a judge’s restraining order requiring surrender of guns, accompanied by a referral to mandatory anger management classes as a condition of staying out of jail.

Is it really that hard to understand why people who are candidates for mental health treatment lose elections?

The Republican nutjobs in Arizona are exceptionally extreme, but they’re not unique. All across America, Republicans are gripped by rage, violent ideation, and irrational thinking. The rest of society is running away from them. This is a party on a sled run to oblivion.

Photo above: This retired sheriff’s detective asserts Democrats winning elections is like “if somebody shot their mother or raped their daughter.” That’s not how you attract swing voters to your party.

Return to The-Ave.US Home Page

Comments are closed.