In The News

‘Democracy is teetering’: at ground zero for Trump’s big lie in Arizona

03.16.2024 Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

A single statistic underlines the looming danger hanging over the 2024 presidential contest. More than half – 53% – of Arizonans are currently represented in the state legislature by Republicans with a proven track record of election denial.

That arresting figure comes from the election threat index, a database compiled by the voting rights organization Public Wise. The directory is designed as an accountability tool, tracking local and state officials who spread misinformation and participate in legislation undermining democracy. “This is a race to the bottom,” said Reginald Bolding, a Public Wise adviser and former Democratic minority leader in the Arizona house. “We are seeing the Republican party reward whoever’s most extreme about elections.” All the big names in Arizona’s flourishing market in election denial remain active traders. Kari Lake, the Phoenix TV anchor who reinvented herself as a Trump acolyte, continues to deny her idol’s 2020 presidential defeat as well as her own failure in Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial race; she is now running for a US Senate seat. Mark Finchem, the former state legislator and member of the Oath Keepers militia who was present at the US Capitol insurrection on 6 January 2021, is attempting to return to the Arizona legislature in a state senate seat. He has founded an election-denial outfit, the Election Fairness Institute, and, as the monitoring group Media Matters has revealed, continues to brag about uncovering “phantom voters” while offering zero evidence.