This morning, The Bulwark's Tim Miller wondered aloud what's going to happen with Trump's latest coup gambit-- the fake audit in Arizona-- becomes a GOP echo chamber talking point. He wrote that the insurrection is a Republican Party insurrection, not just a Trump insurrection and that it is "ongoing and the next potentially violent inflection point will come in the weeks after the results of the Arizona 'audit' are revealed. The audit, which is being conducted by the 'Cyber Ninjas' and funded at least in part by my old pal Lin Wood, is set to deliver some type of result soon. The state senate’s audit 'liaison' Ken Bennett (congrats on the fancy title, Ken) said that they expect the process will take most of the 'rest of this month.' Much like Trump’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping coup attempt, the Arizona audit is being ignored by Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Kevin Mccarthy, who are not engaging on the subject publicly and privately consider it shambolic sideshow. This while conservative allies dismiss those of us who are alarmed about the ongoing risks to democracy. Meanwhile the whole Arizona circus is being taken deadly seriously by Trump himself-- he called Republican pols who are ignoring the audit 'weak'-- and by his radicalized supporters who still want to 'stop the steal.' Doesn’t this all sound a little too familiar?
Last night in my car I heard an NPR announcer say something about expected violence from QAnon believers when their wild conspiracy theories prove to be false. This may have been what they're talking about.
Activists in the QAnon movement have described the audit as the first step in “The Great Awakening.” And Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward has threatened “arrests” of those who did not comply with the audit. (N.B.: The Arizona Republican Party does not yet have the power to detain citizens for crimes against MAGA.)
One Arizona GOP precinct committeewoman, Gail Golec, has quit her job as a real estate agent to focus on uncovering “fraud” full-time, which she details on her Facebook and YouTube pages. One America News has hired a local propagandist, Christina Bobb, to “cover the audit”-- while also fundraising for it.
... Steve Bannon’s War Room, which was the official podcast of the “Stop The Steal” rallies last fall, is playing the same role in unofficial fashion in Arizona and has found an audience for the grift. (At the time of this writing, War Room was the tenth-biggest news podcast on the Apple charts.) The thirstiest and craziest MAGA Republicans around the country have all made the hajj to Maricopa to either learn how they can bring the insurrection to their states or signal their allegiance to primary voters. The frontrunner in the Missouri race to succeed the retiring Senator Roy Blunt, Eric Greitens, is the latest of this latter group.
Again, I ask: Doesn’t this all sound pretty fucking familiar?!!!
Sometime soon the results of the Arizona audit will be brought forth. It seems quite likely, given the participants, that the auditor ninjas will claim that Donald Trump won Arizona. Or probably won Arizona-- who can say! Or would have won Arizona, if not for those meddling kids.
And if this happens, the former president and his MAGA media echo chamber will once again stoke the flames of insurrection. Q-adherents will convince themselves that one of the seven seals has been revealed. Millions (tens of millions) of Republicans throughout the country will believe it. And some of them will demand action.
So when the Arizona audit bell tolls, what exactly is McConnell and McCarthy’s plan?
Because it sure looks as though they are dooming us all to repeat the same history we just lived through, humoring Trump’s delusions and hoping that none of their supporters die in their imaginary fight for freedom this time.
That's exciting-- like in civil war exciting... and not just on Facebook, where the monopolistic platform allowed a digital marketing firm closely linked to the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA to run wild before the 2018 election, pretending to be a grassroots left-leaning group, while undermining Democratic solidarity. "Facebook," reported The Guardian, "was aware of the true identity of the advertiser – the conservative marketing firm Rally Forge – and the deceptive nature of the ads, documents seen by the Guardian show, but the company determined that they did not violate its policies. Rally Forge would go on to set up a pro-Trump domestic 'troll farm' for Turning Point Action, a 'sister' organization of Turning Point USA, in 2020, earning a permanent ban from Facebook. 'There were no policies at Facebook against pretending to be a group that did not exist, an abuse vector that has also been used by the governments of Honduras and Azerbaijan,' said Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee and whistleblower who played a small role in the investigation of the Green party ads."
Some of the fake ads: