I don't go to Arizona as much as I used to. They had a couple of really good radio stations that were always willing to lead the way in breaking new bands-- my new bands. So sometimes I would go to visit. Like Houston, Phoenix had lots of people on X, so tons of fans for Depeche Mode, Erasure, Book of Love, Yaz... lots of stuff we used to put out. And everything was so inexpensive there compared to L.A. or compared to any big city. But I always felt like my brain was melting when I went there. It was unbearably hot. That would account for the horrible state of Maricopa County politics-- not just hideous, monstrous Republicans like Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko, David Schweikert, but then you get a pyscho-case Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, as bad as any Republican-- not even a lesser evil!
Anyway, the great state of, was in the news yesterday for two things that are working their way through the wackadoodle state legislature: ending democracy and emulating El Salvador in making bitcoin legal tender. One at a time, since they're not really related except that the people behind them have serious cases of Arizona melted brain syndrome.
First off, CNN reported that Republican state Rep John Fillmore introduced legislation this week that would, among other things, get rid of almost all absentee and early voting in the state and mandate all votes be HAND-counted within 24 hours of polling sites being closed. 'We should have voting, in my opinion, in person, one day on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day,' Fillmore said on Wednesday in support of his bill. 'We need to get back to 1958-style voting.'" In 1958, the population of was approaching 400,000. Today it is approaching 2 million. Nonetheless, almost by definition, conservatives want to regress to the 1950s. And, as CNN.com reminded its readers, "So-called 'literacy tests' were still legal in the late 1950s, as were poll taxes. Both measures were aimed at limiting the votes-- and influence-- of African American voters.
But then it gets really crazy. "But Fillmore's bill would go even further than putting strictures on when and how you can vote. It would also empower the state legislature to accept or reject election results in the state. Yes, really: Under [Fillmore's] proposal, lawmakers would meet to either 'accept or reject election results' following primary and general elections. If legislators reject the results, any qualified voter 'may file an action in the Superior Court to request that a new election be held,' according to the bill. Fillmore said lawmakers should possess authority as 'representatives of the people' to review the vote count."
Er, that feels, how to say it, totally un-democratic? The legislature would be able to overturn the election results based only on an ill-defined review of the process? The potential to abjure the will of the people in order to advance a partisan agenda seems vast.
Lest you think Fillmore is on a lonely quest to subvert democracy, well, he's not. Fifteen Republican legislators have signed on to Fillmore's bill, including Rep. Mark Finchem, the Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona secretary of state.
Remember too that this is Arizona, the state in which Trump-aligned Republicans pushed a sham audit of the 2020 presidential election vote. Despite the many irregularities in the process, it still failed to produce any evidence that the result-- Joe Biden beat Trump by just under 11,000 votes-- was incorrect. "The ballots that were provided to us to count in the coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvass numbers," said one of the men charged with overseeing the so-called audit.
It's not clear whether Fillmore's bill can pass either chamber; Republicans hold single-seat edges in both the state House and state Senate. And while Gov. Doug Ducey is a Republican, he has not been someone willing to go along with Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
That legislation like this is even proposed, however, speaks to how far down the rabbit hole Republicans have gone when it comes to Trump's conspiracy theories about the last election.
I don't know if anyone in the state legislature is even nearly as crazy as Wendy Rogers, a state senator. It's hard to imagine anyone could be. A 68 year old virulently racist Kentuckian member of the Oath Keepers and a confirmed QAnon activist, she represents a big rural swath of central Arizona, portions of Coconino, Gila, Yavapai and Navajo counties. She was elected in 2020 by running as a fascist against a far right conservative incumbent Republican, Sylvia Allen. Among Rogers' heroes are Kyle Rittenauer and Robert E. Lee, both of whose praises she sings publicly. She has also urged rightwing Arizonans who, like her, believe Trump was cheated out of a second term, to "buy more ammo." And apparently he was the crackpot who started claiming that the Trump insurrectionists were Antifa members. She pulled that at of her ass.
Her latest antic is a bill to make bitcoin legal tender in Arizona, allowing Arizonans to pay debts and taxes using the ersatz, wildly fluctuating "currency." It's an increasingly popular idea on the fringes of the extreme right. And right up her anti-America alley.