By Shane Maher, Staff Writer
You hear it every few Novembers: “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” This cliche has been said about nearly every race dating back to the beginning of American politics. Now it may never really be known which election is the “most important,” but the stakes of this cycle definitely make it one worth paying attention to.
If republicans pick up 5 seats in the House of Representatives, they will be able to block Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, as well as prohibit investigations into Donald Trump. All over the country there are over 200 Republicans on the ballot who fully deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election and will likely do so again if a Democrat were to win in 2024.
In Georgia, Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a pro-life Republican was allegedly found to have paid for a woman’s abortion with a check and “get well soon” card being shown as proof. There’s so much to unpack this election cycle, but there is one lone state that could quite easily change the world. That state is Arizona, and its potential impact should terrify you.
Let’s start with describing a process: typically in a Presidential election, the people vote, and then the State Representatives make sure the ballots are in check. For a presidential candidate to officially be declared the winner, the Governor and Secretary of State must certify the results.
But what if they don’t? In this scenario the State House of Representatives decides the winner, yet due to redistricting and flawed gerrymandering, the vote would almost always be won by the Republican. Fairly certifying Arizona’s result is incredibly important since it’s a battleground state in Presidential elections. This means it is more than likely that out of around 90 hotly contested electoral votes, the entire election could easily come down to Arizona’s 12. The entire election, consisting of 150+ million voters, could very easily hinge on who’s the Governor and Secretary of State of Arizona.
The Arizona Governor’s race has been a heated matchup. The two candidates could not be more different. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has had a career in politics. She started out in the Arizona House of Representatives and eventually worked up the ranks to become the Arizona Senate Minority leader. Now she is the current Arizona Secretary of State and was assigned the task of certifying the Arizona election results for Joe Biden, which she did swiftly and without any fuss.
Kari Lake, on the other hand, has never run for any public office before. She worked as a news broadcaster for KSAZ in Phoenix Arizona for 22 years. Despite never being elected to any position, she has found tremendous success given her experience as a public speaker and endorsement from Donald Trump.
There are plenty of races all across the country that pitch a solid Democrat against a crazy right-winger like Ms. Lake. In Nevada, Senate Republican nominee Adam Laxalt is another election denier, but he has a very good chance of winning, according to the fivethirtyeight forecast. (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2022-election-forecast/)
Yet, if he were elected to the Senate, very little could be done on his part to overturn an election in Nevada.
In the Pennsylvania Governor’s election, Josh Shapiro is facing off against Doug Mastriano, a Trump endorsed candidate who was in attendance at the January 6th insurrection and fully intends to overturn a potential Biden 2024 victory. But he currently has a 5% chance of winning despite Pennsylvania usually hosting very close elections. The people seem to see through his insanity.
But Kari Lake is different. She knows what she’s doing.
“Kari lake is sort of like Sarah Palin in that she leans into this sort of ‘mama-bear’ persona, which has been very effective.” says reporter John Heilman on his TV show “The Circus.”
Heilman is right. The election conspiracies and radical anti-abortion views are cloaked by the outline of a strong, poised candidate. It’s her 22 years of news anchor experience that portray her as calm, collected, focused. Voters find comfort in her clear direct speech no matter what it is she’s saying.
She also employs a certain degree of Trump-like attention seeking tactics which have also proven effective. Kaite Hobbs has refused to debate Ms. Lake in order to not give her radical views any more of a spotlight. In response to this, at an event when Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake were scheduled to do back to back town halls, Lake refused to leave the stage in an attempt to confront Hobbs and by default was removed from the venue.
“If there’s gonna be a media circus you better be the ringleader,” says Alan Dershowitz, a top lawyer for O.J. Simpson who used the media heavily in his public campaign to make out his client’s innocence.
This was likely an attempt to gain attention when denied a debate, and it proved effective. Since this altercation, she’s taken the lead in the polls after closely trailing for months on end. With early voting already starting on October 12th, the effects of this can already be tangible in Arizona’s most consequential election in its history.
The Secretary of State race pits Democrat Adrian Fontes against Republican Mark Finchem. There’s not much to say about Fontes, given that he would complete the ordinary duties of the relatively boring secretary of state job. It’s Mark Finchem that makes this race worth watching. Commonly displayed in a cowboy hat and brash clothing, he is a very outspoken conservative. He’s a former oathkeeper who was in attendance at the January 6th insurrection. He did not enter the capitol, but marched with protesters in an effort to override a free and fair election. In regards to his own race, when asked what his response would be if he loses he promised
“No concession from this guy.”
His views on the 2020 election make it so blatantly clear that he would not respect the voting process. In May he assured republican voters “we would have won if I were in office [in 2020.]”
What’s scary about this race is its lack of coverage. The position of “secretary of state” is supposed to be a boring one and you’re not supposed to care all that much. But once people like Mark Finchem start undermining the basic principles of our democracy, it becomes important. However, with the unawareness and disattention of this race, it could allow him to slide into office, and no matter the vote, Republicans would always win.
It can be said with confidence that no issue is more important than Democracy. Without it, the ability to fight for anything becomes lost. Decisions on abortion, immigration, and who’s President is all dependent on the people’s decision to actually change those issues.
The process of losing one’s voice stems from the voters. Vladimir Putin for instance, was elected to his position and stripped away voting rights. One can only imagine how Russian voters must feel about that election. Surely many would go back and change their vote if they could. Democracy dies at the ballot box. This is the crossroads, Arizona voters will either hasten down a path of slowly stripping away the freedoms always taken for granted, or draw the line. This is the most important election of their lifetime.
Author’s note: If you are as invested in this as I am I strongly urge you to do phone banking in Arizona. I personally have informed many voters about the stakes of this election and even changed a few minds. I must say nothing is more gratifying. If you are curious about making a difference email me at email@example.com and I can help set you up. It’s really easy and fun. (plus you get community service hours.)