'Cautionary warning' as Arizona GOP goes broke to acquiesce MAGA election deniers: conservative

'Cautionary warning' as Arizona GOP goes broke to acquiesce MAGA election deniers: conservative

On Election Night 2020, television news veteran Chris Stirewalt — who was in charge of Fox News' decision desk — dropped a major bombshell: Democratic now-President Joe Biden had defeated Republican then-President Donald Trump in Arizona. A state that had been closely identified with the conservatism of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) and his successor, Sen. John McCain, had gone Democrat in a presidential election.

Stirewalt's accurate reporting, however, infuriated Trump and his devotees, and Fox News subsequently fired him. Stirewalt scooped the competition, and it cost him his job.

MAGA Republicans spent months falsely claiming that Arizona had been stolen from Trump. But that claim was repeatedly debunked, and Stirewalt's Election Night reporting was held up as factual time and time again.

READ MORE: Trump turns against 'spotlight hound' Kari Lake as possible 2024 running mate: report

Regardless, the Arizona Republican Party went all-in on Trump's Big Lie, and in a Daily Beast opinion column published on July 10, Never Trump conservative Matt Lewis stresses that they have paid a heavy price for it financially.

"For Republicans who are worried the Trump Party is turning into a rump party," Lewis argues, "the Arizona GOP serves as a cautionary warning: Things can always get worse…. The obvious conclusion is that election denial hurts the deniers."

Lewis lays out some reasons why election denialism can be bad for a state GOP financially.

"First, obsessively worrying about having a future election stolen from you can divert energy away from voter-contact programs that might actually prevent, you know, losing elections in the first place," the conservative columnist explains. "Second, in the aftermath of a loss, pretending you won guarantees zero lessons are learned, even as it continues eating up money — in, say, legal fees — and diverts attention from future elections."

READ MORE: 'A whole new level of wackadoodle': Kari Lake promotes theory that Trump won California

Lewis continues, "Third, donors don't want to give money to a crazy party.... This is a national problem for Republicans, but Arizona has had it twice as bad — first when Trump claimed he won the state in 2020, and next, when Trump's disciple Kari Lake followed his same script in 2022."

Arizona hasn't turned deep blue like Massachusetts, Maryland or California, but it is much more of a swing state than it was 30 or 40 years ago. And the state now has a Democratic U.S. senator (Mark Kelly), a formerly Democratic U.S. senator turned independent (Kyrsten Sinema), a Democratic secretary of state (Adrian Fontes) and a Democratic governor: Katie Hobbs.

"Despite Lake's subsequent loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs," Lewis laments, "there is no reason to believe that Arizona Republicans — or any other Republicans, for that matter — are tired of losing, yet. As John McCain used to always say, 'It’s always darkest.... before it turns pitch black."

READ MORE: Arizona GOP leaders: College Republicans tricked them into attending white supremacist event

Read Matt Lewis' full Daily Beast opinion column at this link (subscription required).

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