‘Krazy Kari’ Lake Doubles Down On Election Denialism In Clean Elections Interview

First, the preview. Steve Benen reports, Kari Lake gives away the game on ‘restoring confidence’ in voting:

In early September, gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake, a relentless election denier, argued that she’d seen evidence to substantiate her conspiracy theories, but she wouldn’t share it. “I’m not comfortable sharing it with the media,” the Arizona Republican said, adding, “Why would I hand anything over to the fake news?”

It was an odd position to take. Much of Lake’s rise to far-right prominence has been driven by her outlandish election claims, and if she had proof to support her conspiracy theories, it’d certainly be in her interests to present it to the public. Even if the GOP candidate doesn’t trust “the fake news,” Lake could simply publish her evidence online for everyone to see, or she could share it with one of the several outlets aligned with Republican politics.

The good news is, the Arizonan is no longer claiming to have secret evidence. The bad news is, Lake is instead sharing evidence that appears to be entirely made up. As a Washington Post analysis noted yesterday:

It’s telling that, in an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake invoked untrue “facts” in defense of her efforts to undermine confidence in her state’s elections.

As part of the ABC report, Lake peddled a series of lies, which she described as “facts,” to reporter Jonathan Karl, starting with a claim that “2,000 mail-in ballots were accepted by Maricopa County after Election Day in 2020 — after Election Day.” Karl, to his credit, told viewers that the claim is “just not true.”

But the Republican conspiracy theorist just kept going, pushing other bizarre assertions, none of which has been supported with any proof, and each of which Lake characterized as “facts.”

All things considered, the gubernatorial candidate probably should’ve stuck to the whole “secret evidence” posture.

But just hours after her interview with ABC aired, The Arizona Republic published a related report on its interview with Lake, in which she reflected on her confidence on her state’s electoral system.

“I wish I could sit here and say I have complete faith in the system, I don’t have faith in the system,” the Republican said. “And that’s why I’m going to work with lawmakers to come up with a way that we have secure elections.”

Part of the problem with this is that Lake’s rationale is built on a foundation of quicksand: The candidate doesn’t “have faith in the system” because she believes conspiracy theories she can’t substantiate

But I’m also reminded of a good point the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent raised last week:

The state of Arizona recently passed a law requiring proof of citizenship to vote, which the Brennan Center for Justice called “one of the worst voter suppression laws in the nation.” That law was passed in the name of achieving “election integrity.” Mysteriously, however, Lake is still declaring with direct-to-camera sincerity that people continue to have good reason to doubt election outcomes, even to the point of justifying her refusal to commit to accepting a loss.

Quite right. When GOP legislators passed an “election integrity” bill, they said it was necessary to “restore confidence” in Arizona’s system of elections. Those wildly unnecessary restrictions are now in place.

And yet, there’s the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, disregarding her party’s “election integrity” measure, claiming that she still lacks confidence in the system for reasons she won’t explain, all while opening the door to even more onerous limits on voting.

It’s almost as if unneeded measures, ostensibly designed to “restore confidence,” are little more than partisan scams, and for Republican election deniers and conspiracy theorists, no voting restrictions will ever be good enough.

Let’s be honest, what Republicans really want is that only registered Republicans are allowed to vote in sham elections, Russian style.

Next, “Krazy Kari” Lake gets her interview with conservative talk radio host Mike Broomfield as her Clean Elections interview.

12 News reports, Kari Lake TV interview brings debate drama to an end. Here’s what she said.

Arizona [media’s] two-month-long debate drama in the governor’s race came to a close Sunday.

Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake got the 30-minute, televised interview that was postponed two weeks ago.

Lake was interviewed by conservative radio host Mike Broomhead on AZTV, a locally owned station that broadcasts in metro Phoenix and Northern Arizona.

[H]ere are the top takeaways from Lake’s interview:

Conflicting message on elections

Lake is perhaps the most prominent and persistent Republican candidate in the country pushing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.

Several days before she won the Aug. 2 Republican primary, Lake claimed she had evidence of “cheating.” She has never provided that evidence.

During the Broomhead interview, Lake pushed conflicting messages: sowing doubt about the midterm election in which she’s on the ballot while urging people to get out and vote.

When asked whether she was confident that Arizona would have a fair election, Lake responded: “We’re seeing problem after problem…I wish I could sit here and say I have complete faith in the system. I don’t have faith in the system.”

Broomhead followed up: If she wins, why should Lake be confident that she won, and why should anybody vote if the election’s not fair? [Surprisingly good question from a slow-pitch softball host.]

Lake said the solution to alleged voting problems she described was more voting: “We’ve got to vote in droves… I believe we can outvote some of the problems.”

This is her way of saying that “If I win, It is legitimate, but if I lose, it is fraudulent and I will challenge the results,” just as she did with her primary race.

Exceptions in abortion laws?

Lake dodged a question on which of Arizona’s two existing abortion laws she would prefer – the ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy that took effect in September, or the near-total ban – dating to 1864 – that’s now hung up in court.

“We’re going to follow the laws on the book, and we don’t know at the end of the day right now where that stands,” she said.

When Broomhead asked whether Lake would sign legislation allowing exceptions in cases of incest or rape – neither law has that exception – Lake claimed: “I believe the 15-week bill does have that. I know people say it doesn’t.”

Her explanation didn’t clarify the statement. She went on to describe scenarios in which women who were raped or victims of incest would be helped through a pregnancy.

“The real death sentence should go to the person who rapes, not a baby,” she said.

Lake claimed more rapists would be “locked up” as a result of new abortion laws. “I think what will happen as we see new laws taking place or seeing babies being protected, we’re going to be locking up people who are rapists, and that’s a good thing that could come out of it.”

Border policy vs. super bowl

Lake said she believed she would have the authority as governor to declare an invasion at the border. [NO, she does not.]

Broomhead noted the Super Bowl will be held in Glendale in February. Would Lake be concerned about potential blowback from the NFL over an invasion declaration?

“You want to tell me that a bunch of football teams owned by billionaires are OK with fentanyl pouring across our border and … killing our young people?” Lake said.

“If the NFL is OK with that, they’ve got to do some soul searching.”

If this state is foolish enough to elect the “Big Lie” election denier team of Kari Lake – Mark Finchem – Abe Hamadeh – Blake Masters to office, the NFL should immediately move the Super Bowl to Los Angeles to penalize the state of Arizona for knowingly electing White Christian Nationalist fascists to office. “If the NFL is OK with that, then they’ve really got to do some soul searching.” Major League Baseball moved the All-Star game out of Atlanta last year because Republicans enacted Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression bills (as did Arizona, which led to calls for the NFL to move this year’s Super Bowl).

Experts say Lake’s “declaration” [of a border “invasion”] would violate U.S. Supreme Court precedent and federal law. According to the Arizona Republic, her staff has acknowledge a declaration would be met by a federal lawsuit.

Avoids questions on dreamers

Broomhead asked how the country should handle the continuing uncertainty over the fate of Dreamers, undocumented residents who were brought into the United States as children. The 10-year-old DACA program that protects them from deportation has been hung up in the courts.

“I’m running for governor of Arizona, that’s a federal issue, right? [So is the border “Kerazy Kari.”] And so I don’t need to decide that. But what I can do is keep people from coming across the border and that’s what I plan to do.”

Lake wasn’t asked about Proposition 308 on the November ballot, which would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Arizona’s public universities and community colleges. In 2006, Arizona voters banned all state benefits for undocumented residents.

End state’s standardized tests?

Lake reiterated her belief that Arizona’s universal voucher expansion would force the public schools to change the way they educate children. The Empowerment Scholarship Account program gives families $7,000 per child to pay for parochial or private school, as well as other activities.

Lake also indicated she would try to do away with Arizona’s standardized tests.

“There’s nothing worse than when you can tell a teacher is just teaching to the test,” she said. “You’re actually not teaching the children. And so we’re going to pull that kind of program where we’re not having to teach to the test anymore. We’re going to actually stimulate our children’s brains.”

‘Wean’ cities off taxes

Lake has vowed to eliminate municipalities’ taxes on groceries and rent, in order to give Arizonans a break from high inflation. (The state doesn’t tax groceries or rent.) [Neither do all municipalities.]

Lake said the state would reimburse governments for the loss of what amounts to $400 million in tax revenue. The city sales taxes help pay for public safety and other basic services in many cities and towns that don’t have large tax bases.

The goal, Lake said, is to “wean” cities and towns off the tax revenue over five years, by helping them come up with a plan to live without it. She said Arizona’s growth would help make up for the lost tax revenue.

So “Krazy Kari” Lake is for “Defund the Police,” because this is what her plan actually would do.

When Lake rolled out the plan last month, a Lake policy adviser said the state had a $5 billion surplus, more than enough to cover the lost revenue. [NOT if we have a recession.]

But according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee – the state Legislature’s independent financial analyst – the next governor will have a $2.8 billion surplus to work with. Within two years, according to JLBC data, the projected surplus would cover less than half the lost tax revenue.

Refused to take media questions

Lake spoke to reporters for two minutes after her interview taping on Saturday but refused to take questions. Lake said she had to get to another event.

She has criticized Hobbs relentlessly for avoiding reporters’ questions after Hobbs’ one-on-one gubernatorial interview on Arizona PBS last week.

Lake’s interview was taped Saturday afternoon for broadcast at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Under guidelines set by the debate sponsor, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, media attending the taping Saturday weren’t allowed to record the interview but were permitted to report what they heard during the interview, as well as comments by Lake afterward.

Wait, what? Broomfield never even asked about the single most important issue facing Arizona next year (and in future years), our impending water crisis?

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