The main ingredient of the Maricopa County audit is a​ppalling, unapologetic 'cynicism': columnist

The main ingredient of the Maricopa County audit is a​ppalling, unapologetic 'cynicism': columnist

In Maricopa County, Arizona, far-right Trumpistas are continuing to conduct an audit of the 2020 presidential election results — an audit that, unlike the legitimate bipartisan Arizona vote recounts that were conducted after the election, has excluded non-Trumpian participation. Critics of the audit have been slamming it for pandering to the false and totally debunked claim that President Joe Biden stole the election from former President Donald Trump. In a column published on May 19, Arizona-based journalism professor and Washington Post opinion writer Fernanda Santos agrees that the audit is not only based on the Big Lie, but is also motivated by a deep and appalling cynicism.

Santos, a native of Brazil who teaches journalism at Arizona State University in Tempe, opens her column by noting that Jack Sellers the Republican who chairs the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — has slammed the audit as "a sham process," "a circus" and "a grift disguised as an audit." Sellers recently complained, "It's time to be done with this craziness and get on with our county's critical business."

"Still," Santos writes, "the Arizona Senate's Republican president, Karen Fann, vowed Tuesday that the audit — championed by Trump and his far-right supporters — would continue…. Ridiculous as that all seems, this campaign to cast doubt on the 2020 election is a serious matter. Consider: The founder of Cyber Ninjas, the company handling the so-called audit, is the same man who authored a document spreading 'stop the steal' lies. The audit's official Twitter account regularly attacks Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat and critic of the project, who was recently assigned police protection because of death threats."

Santos goes on to say that Trump supporters have a deeply cynical reason for pushing the Maricopa audit farce: money. Trumpistas have been using the audit as a fundraising opportunity.

"Private pro-Trump groups are raising outside money to cover the cost of the election review, for which Fann, the Senate president, implausibly budgeted just $150,000," Santos explains. "Some of the cost is already being borne by Arizona taxpayers. Fann has said she doesn't think 'there's ever any waste of money if we are ensuring that our elections are good.' In any case, the energy and attention diverted to the recount is inexcusable. The depth of the cynicism here is evident."

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