The Wall Street Journal is endorsing Kari Lake for governor of Arizona because she’s in favor of vouchers for parents who want to use state money to help pay for private school education. That’s the key issue in the race, according to America’s Flagship Conservative Editorial Page:
Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor, whom the Journal is endorsing, may be in favor of school choice, but that’s a little beside the point when you consider the larger picture. Kari Lake has declared that the 2020 election was “corrupt and stolen.” Regarding the current president of the United States, she has expressed pity, urging that “Deep down, I think we all know this illegitimate fool in the White House—I feel sorry for him—didn’t win. I hope Americans are smart enough to know that.” She has no patience for temporizers. “It is not enough to say you are for ‘Election Integrity’ if you are not for DECERTIFYING the 2020 election if wrongdoing, fraud or different results are revealed,” she tweeted last year. She then boasted that she was the only candidate for governor calling for decertification of the 2020 election.
In addition to the standard denial of the 2020 election, Lake has also adopted the smarmy tactics Trump has normalized in the GOP. When former congressman Matt Salmon, one of her primary opponents, demurred about putting cameras in every Arizona classroom, she accused him of coddling pedophiles and sneered that he was too weak to be governor.
There is no fiction she has not willingly endorsed. She told a group of young women that they shouldn’t take precautions about COVID because “the truth is that hydroxychloroquine works and other inexpensive treatments work.” Her campaign merch featured a t-shirt with the image of a burning mask. Naturally, she has denounced vaccine mandates.
She told Steve Bannon that her opponent would likely be in jail by election day, and advised another audience that as governor she would criminally prosecute journalists who “dupe the public.” During her primary race, she suggested that fraud was already underway. A week before the voting, she announced, “We’re already detecting some stealing going on.” And despite her victory, she carried a sledgehammer onstage on primary night and pantomimed smashing electronic voting machines. Her loyalty to the orange Jesus is total. After the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, she declared that “Our government is rotten to the core.”
That’s the GOP nominee for governor of Arizona. What does the Wall Street Journal do with these awkward realities? The board interprets them as problems only insofar as they make it harder for her to win:
GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake hasn’t helped herself or her party by insisting that the 2020 election was stolen. Her election fraud claims put off many Republicans and independents and are a loser in the general election. A winning and unifying issue for Republicans this November is school choice.
The important thing is for the election-denying cult member to win, so let’s find something that can distract disaffected Republicans and independents.
A key dynamic in American politics at the moment is that almost all normie Republicans have turned out to be A-OK with crypto-fascist — the “crypto” part of this is rapidly disappearing — candidates, if the alternative is voting for a Democrat, or even just not voting. As the linked article points out, Lake may actually be the least unhinged, relatively speaking, of the major GOP candidates in Arizona this fall:
It’s just possible that Lake is the most mainstream of the major Republican candidates in Arizona this year. The GOP nominee for Senate is Blake Masters, an election denier who spices up the usual fare with great replacement talk. “The Democrats dream of mass amnesty, because they want to import a new electorate” he says. He attributes America’s problems with gun violence to “Black people frankly.” (This is what passes for “brave” talk in white nationalist circles.) Masters muses about firing the whole federal workforce. Sounds a bit outlandish, but that’s mild compared to his other reveals. When asked for a “subversive” thinker he admires, he responded that “I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this. How about, like, Theodore Kaczynski?” Yes, Wall Street Journal editorial board, how about that? The GOP candidate for Senate thinks we should all consider the writings of the Unabomber. Let me guess: The Journal thinks the important thing is that he not say such things because it might impede his electability, right?
But wait, we’re not finished with Arizona’s contributions to national insanity. The Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona is not just an election-denying extremist enemy of democracy, but a card-carrying member of the Oath Keepers, the fine gentlemen who are currently being tried in federal court for seditious conspiracy. Like his brothers in arms, Mark Finchem was at the Capitol on January 6th, though he has not been charged. Asked whether he would certify the election in 2024 if Biden were to win Arizona and he were secretary of state, Finchem said he couldn’t imagine it.
The make plutocracy great again right wingers who run the WSJ’s editorial page are going to keep pretending the GOP hasn’t turned into an authoritarian cult for as long as it’s necessary to protect their marginal tax rates. They’re willing to do that even if it kills them . . . correction, even if it kills a lot of other people.
History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.