John Colson: The Arizona ‘fraudit’ — No end in sight

John Colson
Hit & Run

Some may have difficulty recalling the “fraudit” in the state of Arizona, a re-examination of the recent presidential election which once dominated headlines and the blogosphere across this country and which ought to be a ridiculous relic of history by now.

But it’s still with us, although other than the frenzied Republican “base” of deliberately deluded voters, most non-indoctrinated observers now view the exercise as just a rather pathetic and completely groundless way for our former president to keep claiming, without evidence, that he won the 2020 contest.

A recent article in the New Yorker, by Jane Mayer, notes that the “audit” is being promoted and funded largely by right-wing fanatics, Q-Anon devotees and other ne’er do wells desperate to find evidence — any evidence at all will do — to prop up ex-President Donald Trump’s fantasy known as the Big Lie.

And the Big Lie, of course, is that shadowy forces somehow stole the election from Trump and gave it to President Joe Biden — all of this despite the fact that in Arizona and every other state in the nation, actual election officials have concluded that the 2020 election was among the most fair and least problematic elections in recent times.

But the “audit” has been used as a springboard for a host of post-2020 legislation in a number of states aimed supposedly at making sure such a “theft” will never happen again, including new laws aimed at eliminating voting rights from anyone who is not an old, white, Republican Trump supporter.

There are even some laws intended to strip the powers of election management from technically unbiased civil servants, and give those powers to partisan state politicians, who then supposedly would have the authority to essentially cancel the results of any election yielding an outcome they did not like.

It is proposals such as this that have election observers shaking in their boots about the future of our American democratic experiment.

“I’m scared shitless,” declared law professor Richard Hasen of California in Mayer’s article.

“It’s not just about voter suppression,” Hasen continued. “What I’m really worried about is election subversion. Election officials are being put in place who will mess with the count.”

Mayer documents that the money behind the audit is from an array of deeply partisan, right-wing organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Federalist Society, all posing as mainstream political groups with the blessing of the Republican Party.

Arizona’s secretary of state, Democrat Katie Hobbs, told Mayer that while the “audit” may have its comical aspects, “it’s dangerous. It’s feeding the kind of misinformation that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection” and attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Hobbs reported that she has received death threats, had her home surrounded by armed protesters angered by her positions and her statements defending the Arizona electoral results, and other attempts at harassment and intimidation.

“But I’m not going to cave in to their tactics,” she told Mayer. “Because I think they’re laying the groundwork to steal the 2024 elections.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island who has researched dark money in politics, maintains that many of the hyper-conservative groups once focused on such causes as capturing the courts and overturning abortion rights, are now concentrating on voter-suppression as their chosen tactic.

Interestingly, the “audit” in Arizona, which began last March and was supposed to be finished by May, remains firmly locked in the “ongoing” phase, as reported by news agencies across the country.

The firm doing the “audit,” hired by the Republican-controlled Arizona legislature and known as CyberNinjas, has yet to issue any kind of report on its findings.

Instead, the “auditors” continue to go down various dead-end side roads in their desperate hunt to find something to bolster the mission given to them by their right-wing masters, which of course is to overturn the election results and give the presidency back to Trump by hook or crook.

Trump, you may recall, once boasted he would be brought back to the White House by August, thanks to efforts such as the Arizona fraudit and related, similar tactics under consideration in other states.

Obviously, that did not happen.

But Trump and his supporters are relying on continued attention in the news media to keep his name front and center among his base, whose real fear is that they are about to lose their power and privilege as the dominant caste in the U.S. unless they can keep citizens of color, students and women from heading to the voting booth in future elections.

What we are watching, dear readers, is a slow-motion coup d’etat by the radical right, white supremacists and aging power brokers whose only goal is to keep themselves at the top of the cultural and political heap in this country.

Think about it.

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