Kari Lake is how democracies die
“I’m gonna win the election and I will accept that result."
Kari Lake went on CNN on Sunday and acknowledged an ugly truth about Trumpism — it only accepts elections insofar as Trumpers win them. And when one of the major parties in a two party system turns against democracy, every election cycle is an existential threat.
Lake is anything but a fringe character. The TV news anchor-turned-Arizona Republican governor hopeful is probably the closest thing MAGA has to a rising star. Seeing her on TV, you can understand why Trump loves her — she’s clearly a skilled and polished communicator. But just below the hazy filters she uses for her cable hits is deep adherence to the lie that Trump had the 2020 election stolen from him. She’s even said that had she been governor in 2020, she would’ve refused to certify Biden’s victory.
Lake can lie with impunity on Fox News and Newsmax and even on CBS. CNN State of the Union host Dana Bash did a commendable job exposing her, but even that didn’t stop Lake from pushing the big lie. All in all, the interview captured the cynical game Republicans are playing in a nutshell.
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Bash, to her credit, didn’t waste time before she challenged Lake to cite actual evidence of fraud, and it quickly became clear she didn’t have anything beyond vague references to internet conspiracy theories and the feelings of Trump supporters who have been getting lied to for years now.
But the most telling moment came a bit later, when Lake wouldn’t even commit to accepting the results of her own election.
“I’m gonna win the election and I will accept that result,“ said Lake repeatedly, the implication being she won’t accept a loss.
“The people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs,” she added, even though polls show the race basically tied.
While Lake said the quiet part out loud Sunday morning, the leader of her movement posted a statement on Truth Social accusing American Jews of being inadequately appreciative and concluded it on this ominous note: “US Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — Before it is too late!”
Lake’s election lies are obviously a different sort of terrible than Trump’s casual anti-semitism, but they’re products of the same fundamental rottenness. Both demonstrate that the true stakes of this election cycle are much greater than gas prices.
As MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan put it, “it’s 11 am and so far already today the former Republican president has posted a threat to America’s Jews and the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arizona has gone on live TV and refused to accept the result of her coming election. Tell me again how we’re not facing fascism.”
About that Herschel Walker debate
If Lake represents a slightly more sanitized version of Trumpism, Herschel Walker embodies the unfortunate truth that there really is no bottom. That was evident during the most viral moment from Walker’s highly anticipated debate Friday with Raphael Warnock, when Walker brandished a fake police badge in a clownish effort to demonstrate he’s tough on crime.
But there was another moment from the debate that I thought captured something important about our political moment.