Democracy Can’t Afford a Governor Kari Lake

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Kari Lake has a charismatic personality that reflects her years as an Arizona media personality. She talks rapidly, much like carnival barkers Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz in the House of Representatives. And much like the Congressmen above, she lies with impunity. And she does it with self-confidence that ranks right up there with her hero, the disgraced 45th President of the United States.

And, if things do not change fast, Kari Lake will be the new governor of Arizona.

If you care about democracy, and I’m not sure how many Americans do at this point, Kari Lake must be defeated in the November election. If Arizona falls for this demagogue, the rest of us will have to pick up the pieces of what might be left of a democracy in tatters.

Kari Lake is an election denier and blind sycophant to Donald Trump. He’s proudly campaigned for her and is one of her most ardent supporters. At last count, Lake is but one of nearly 300 GOP candidates for office around the country this year who share Lake’s view on the 2020 election. They still say there was rampant fraud (hint: there was not), and many are still fighting for investigations into Trump’s loss.

What makes Lake’s possible win so dangerous, though, is that were Trump to run in 2024 and lose Arizona again, we cannot think for a minute that she would not resort to the kinds of shenanigans we were lucky to avoid in 2020. Republican governors like Georgia’s Brian Kemp and her state’s present governor, Doug Ducey, did what they were constitutionally required to do by signing off and certifying their state’s election of Joe Biden.

Judging by Lake’s performance on Sunday during her interview with Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union, we cannot have confidence that she will follow in Ducey and Kemp’s footsteps. While both are solidly conservative guys who will never be confused with being moderates, they did the right thing.

When Bash asked Lake if she would concede to her opponent, current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, her answer should send a chill up and down all Americans’ spines. After repeatedly changing the subject and failing to answer the question, Lake said, “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.” When Bash asked if she would accept Hobbs winning, again, she doubled down, “I’m going to win the election and will accept that result.”

She then called Hobbs a racist and said there was no way Arizona would vote for such a person. The bottom line is that it was a straightforward question to answer. A simple yes was all that was required. And Kari Lake could not do it. It’s the same as when Trump was asked the same thing leading up to the 2020 election. He was non-committal to the very same question then, just as Lake is now.

Unfortunately, an extremist candidate like Lake should be ripe for defeat. Yes, she’s a polished candidate because of the reasons mentioned above. But it would help if you had a strong Democrat to defeat her. We’re not seeing that kind of vigor from Katie Hobbs. She’s in danger of losing this race, and it might be too late to reverse Lake’s momentum.

To confront a candidate like Lake, you cannot be afraid to go toe to toe with her. And it appears that Hobbs is hesitant to do so. She’s currently dodging debates and offering lame excuses in the process.

Being called a coward, and a racist, as she was Sunday by Kari Lake, cannot be answered with Twitter responses and interviews alone. People need to see them on stage together, with Hobbs calling her opponent out for her extremist views and dangerous candidacy. Not debating gives the other side a ton of ammunition to smear and tag her as weak.

Recent polling suggests a very close race. FiveThirtyEight has Lake ahead by only 1 percent when averaging several different polls. However, the momentum is clearly with Lake at this point.

Look, it’s understandable why Hobbs would be wary of debating her opponent. She’ll interrupt, lie, talk rapidly, and make it extremely hard for Hobbs to make her points. In an interview with CNN following the one with Lake, she alluded to that fact. She’s decided it’s better to sit out a debate than let Lake dominate the conversation, much like Trump and other MAGA politicians do with gusto and bravado.

In many ways, though, Lake is a smoother and more polished version of Trump, which, as civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill pointed out on Twitter, makes her candidacy even more dangerous: “The soft focus lens, the closeness to the camera, the falsehoods, and outrages offered with preternatural calm and sincerity, really chill me.” Indeed.

Hobbs is naturally soft-spoken and risks being run over like a tractor-trailer. But at this point, she’s up against a rapidly approaching election day, wasting precious time responding to reporters continuously asking her why she won’t debate. She believes voters will not punish her for failing to debate because they’re worried about many other issues. That take, unfortunately, threatens to hand the seat to Kari Lake.

When you have an extreme opponent like Lake, you must show the people of Arizona the contrast in plain sight. Let them see her for what she is: A card-carrying MAGA extremist who will not abide by any norms or laws if she loses.

We have many Senate races across the country that will likely be tossups on election day. And Kari Lake has a lot of company as far as who can be the most extreme. And some of them may win. But in the Senate, at least, they will still have Joe Biden as president, and he can veto any radical legislation that comes his way. The same holds if Democrats lose the House.

So in that sense, checks and balances will thwart any GOP overreach for the next two years. But a governor like Kari Lake, in 2024, can throw the presidential election into the type of chaos that will make 2020 look like a student council race. Much like her failure to affirm that she’d accept a loss in her race, she also refused to say she’d certify a GOP loss in the 2024 presidential election.

Extremist GOP governors in swing states, especially those who refuse to say they’d accept losses, statewide or national, would be a clear and present danger to our democracy. We got lucky in 2020. Every Republican governor did right by the American people, despite Trump and his cronies attempt to coerce and threaten those same governors to do otherwise.

It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the 2024 presidential election hinges upon whether the governor of Arizona will certify a Trump (or other GOP candidate) loss or collude with the State Legislature to offer up their own set of phony electors.

There’s much at stake in the Arizona race for governor in a few weeks. It seems at this point that things are slipping away from Katie Hobbs. There’s still a chance she could change her mind and agree to at least one debate with Kari Lake. But it’s not looking likely that will be the case. Let’s hope the Hobbs campaign has a change of heart.

Otherwise, she must hope that the people of Arizona give her a pass for not debating. But the stakes are way too high to take that chance. Waking up the day after the election this year to a Kari Lake victory will undoubtedly add fuel to an already smoldering fire of our democracy in peril.

We can only hope that Katie Hobbs has a change of heart.

30 comments

  1. Jeff, Arizona has 4,351,446 registered voters. 1,434,838 (34.5%) of them are Republicans. By my calculations, more than 1.1 million of those registered voters are evangelical Christians. I think it’s safe to assume that nearly all those 1.1 million evangelicals are registered as Republicans. That means that about 80 percent of the state’s Republicans are evangelicals. That being the case, all Lake needs to do is claim to be “pro-life” and portray Hobbs as pro-abortion and she’ll have nearly all of those 1.1 million votes locked up, no matter what else she says or does. Like Trump, she’ll be free to be a total jerk. Just play the “pro-life” card, and nothing else will matter, evangelicals will turn out in force.
    She probably will win, sad to say.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sad to say indeed Jerry. I suspect you’re spot on. I’m thinking it’s going to rest upon turnout as well as how independents break. I think a better candidate could beat Lake. I’m just not confident Hobbs is that candidate. I get her apprehension to debate Lake. But I think it was a strategic mistake. I hope I’m wrong

      Like

    1. Thanks, as always Dr Rex! Obviously electing Trump wasn’t enough of a warning sign for some folks. Crazy seems to be the number one criteria for many voters. Ughhh

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Kari Lake is a b*tch extraordinaire who is power-hungry and who says “to hell with the people of this nation.” Part of the problem I see with the debate scenario is that debate moderators need to keep a loudmouth like Lake in line. They should NOT be allowed to interrupt their opponent’s responses, should NOT be allowed to turn the debate into a circus. The framers of the Constitution must surely be tossing and turning in their graves right now. (Good post, by the way, Jeff!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jill, and thanks for the reblog! Totally agree. Perhaps if Hobbs could get the right kind of debate, with strict rules and diligent moderators, she might agree to it. Obviously that wasn’t an option. We shall see if it was the right decision. I’m not hopeful. The crazier the better for idiotic no-nothing American voters. Makes me so angry

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    There are so many truly horrible candidates on the ballot this November that I’ve lost count. However, a few stand out in my mind … Oz, Vance, Walker, Mastriano, and Lake for starters. Kari Lake is the most unconscionable woman I can imagine … she has none. My writing partner Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has done a good job of showing us just what Ms. Lake is and I hope Arizona voters are wise enough to keep her OUT of the governor’s mansion! Thanks, Jeff!!!

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    1. Jill, what specifically is it about these candidates that is so horrible? I agree with Jeff on a couple of things. 1. it’s a strategic error for hobs not to debate her and 2. when asked about accepting the results of the election coming up, she should have emphatically said “yes, absolutely”. Saying otherwise is not only bad optics but it doesn’t engender faith in her candidacy. Saying that she’s going to win even before the election isn’t conficence, it’s arrogance.
      I’ve never, ever heard her say that Biden was an illagitimate president but I’ve heard plenty of democrat candidates and representatives say that the same was for trump from 2016 on, some of these politicians even refused to certify the election on January 6, 2017. Does that make them insurrectionists as well? If it’s good for one party, it should be good for the other. How about it/ What do you say?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Any candidate who says up front that they will not agree to concede if they lose an election does not belong on the ballot in my book. Any candidate who promotes conspiracy theories among his/her supporters does not belong in a position of power. Ms. Lake still claims that the 2020 election was won by Trump, even though every claim of a fraudulent election has been aggressively investigated and proven false. So no, I don’t think she belongs in the governor’s mansion in Arizona or Timbuktu. Nobody attempted to overturn the 2016 election. Yes, many of us felt it was unfair that Trump lost the popular vote, but due to gerrymandering and the electoral college, was ushered into office anyway, but we did NOT attempt to overturn the election. President Obama and his staff ensured a peaceful transition of power, even though some dirty tricks were used in Trump’s favour, such as Russian involvement and lies told about Hillary Clinton. Still … nobody attempted to stop him from taking office as they did Biden. The culture, the landscape, has changed because of the election deniers who still, after two years, claim it was an unfair election, even when Trump’s own people said it was a fair and honest election.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. oh and don’t forget that Stacey Abrams has refused to concede her losses so in essence, she is also an election denier and by your own definition, should never be able to seek or hold public office again. This all goes both ways you know, just to be fair minded about it all.

        I hope you’re doing well.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Stacey Abrams is an outlier Scott. She’s wrong for allowing herself to be lumped in with election deniers. Truth be told though, Brian Kemp was the Secretary of State when they ran against each other the first time. Some of the voting laws they’ve implemented are clearly meant to be suppressive in nature. E.g, why make it a crime to provide water for folks who are standing in line for hours? Why eliminate/reduce drop off locations? Why purge thousands of voters and make it harder to register? Shouldn’t we make an effort to make it easier to vote, instead of harder?
        And one more thing. Hillary conceded. Al Gore conceded. 147 GOP Reps voted not to certify Biden’s victory. Even after the violent mob ransacked the Capitol and beat/injured 140 cops. Comparing Abrams and literally a handful of Dems who objected to Trumps victory, to what happened on January 6 is a complete false equivalence. Surely you agree?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. all I’m saying is that even if people bring up the fact that there seemed to be some irregularities, such as when trump was ahead in some swing states and then magically overnight, after everyone apparently went home, he was behind in those same states the next morning, even if you bring up that subject, you’re called an election denier or told you’re making false equivalencies, implying that you’re not a rational human being for even daring to question something official. Does that sound like freedom to you? Do you like being told over and over and over that you’re not a logical person because you have some uncomfortable questions? If there were really no shenanigans, why psychologically shut people down for asking such questions? If the evidence is really in your favor, should you not be happy to allow debate and be happy that you’re being challenged? After all, if you’re right, what do you have to worry about/

        Think about it.

        .

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      5. The reason, Scott, for the change in results on election night was pretty simple wasn’t it? They had to count the votes. Most of the mail-in votes weren’t even counted until the next day and beyond. This was all known. Trump knew it. He was told by his advisors. They knew he lost. He knew he lost. Yet, he still kept spewing the lie that it was stolen. 60 court challenges by Trumps crackpot lawyers. 60 losses. Do you understand the false equivalence Scott? And, he’s the only president in history who did not concede. Ever. And he still hasn’t. He’s dangerous and he’s the sole cause of Jan 6. He must be held to account for this. I’m sure you agree

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Where I come from, that leaves 2,916,608 Democrat and Independent voters, or twice as many as Republican voters. While some Independents may vote Republucan, there should be no reason to believe Lake and her Repugh cronies will win many seats.
    What is needed all across America is a campaign to get as many people ss possible to cast ballots. Make everyone believe their votes will determine if democracy can survive in the USA. If they don’t vote this year, they may never get another chance to vote in their lifetimes!

    Meanwhile, I understand the most important office in most states is the Secretary of State, who is in charge of elections and election-related rulings. While I do not want to see Lake become governor, I think it is more important to see a Democrat win that office, so that is the race I would be concentrating on, and writing about. Or have I been misinformed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not wrong rawgod. Secretary of States are extremely important in state elections. And there are several MAGA candidates running in states across the country. Worst case scenario? A crackpot like Lake, AND a crackpot election denying Secretary of State both elected in the same state. That would be a disaster. And it absolutely could happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So I have heard, so I can see. You (general pronoun for Americans) cannot stop the MAGAts from voting, nor should you. But you can outnumber them, because there are more lovers of democracy than there are wannabe autotheocrats. The more people you get to cast ballots, the greater the chances of destroying the MAGAt hordes. Numbers of voters are always important, but this time around it is so extremely important to get all possible voters to make a statement in every race they can compete in.
        I personally have little use for most Democratic candidates, but this election I have abolutely no use for ANY Republican candidate! Whatever reason you can use to get people to vote, use it! Please!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I make no apologies for having any extremely grumpy hard European-Left side for my character. It comes from a heritage of witnessing disruptive folk out for their own narrow group, and a folk memory of the suffering down the centuries.
    This may explain to my good American friends why I use in all sincerity the possibly seeming paradoxical statement.
    ‘It’s folk like Lake, Trump, De Santis, Banner and Carlson, to name but few* who are perfect examples why Gulags can be useful institutions’

    I am Roger Jacob, and I disapprove any message saying I should run for office – have to be practical about these things.

    * I could have named more of course, but why pollute a good blog.

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  6. I couldn’t agree more Roger. Seeing some of these folks in a gulag would be gratifying to say the least. Maybe a public shaming in a stockade? Now we’re talking!

    Like

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