“Column: In Arizona, a crackpot gets promoted and underscores the danger to democracy”

Mark Barabak LAT column:

Meet Wendy Rogers.

Her political credentials include antisemitism, a hyperactive promotion of outlandish conspiracy theories, a fondness for the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Vladimir Putin, and consorting with the outspoken racist and white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

In a well-earned rebuke, Rogers was censured by colleagues in Arizona’s state Senate last year after calling for her political foes to be hanged. The vote was bipartisan and overwhelming.

Despite all that, or maybe because of it, the Republican now heads the state Senate’s Elections Committee.

You can always count on Arizona for crazy.

The state, an emergent presidential battleground, has become a political fun house, a carnival of continuing election denialism where clownish politicians and grifters proudly parade. (Often, they’re one and the same.)

You may recall that zany audit — quote, unquote — of presidential ballots in Maricopa County, which included an eagle-eyed examination for traces of bamboo — evidence, it was said, of Chinese meddling in the 2020 election.

The result not only confirmed Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump but added a few votes to the Democrat’s winning total.

Or you may recollect that slate of election deniers — candidates for U.S. Senate and Arizona’s governor, attorney general and secretary of state — who bid for a top-down takeover of the state and its election process.

The quartet met with deserved defeat in November, and the refusal of several of them to admit they lost has turned them into walking punchlines. (“Kari Lake Furious After Arizona Awards Her Participation Trophy,” the New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz gibed in a poke at the sore-losing gubernatorial hopeful.)

It would be funny, in a sort of all’s-well-that-ends-well fashion, if it wasn’t so serious. Clearly the threat to our democracy, and its nemeses, haven’t gone away.

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