Arizona Maintains Status as Conspiracy Central, and We’re All Dumber as a Result

By Alexander Lomax

Kelli Ward, since she played a large role in starting this mess

The old and tired phrase in local politics amongst left-leaning folks has been “You can’t spell crazy without AZ”. And while the state has certainly moderated some away from that moniker as well as the “meth lab of democracy” name that Senator Sinema famously labeled us, we have unfortunately become Ground Zero for the zaniest and dumbest political conspiracy theories in the country.

You almost certainly have heard plenty of the conspiracies related to the 2020 and 2022 elections. Never mind that a Republican was in control of Maricopa County elections in 2022, never mind that a Republican super-majority was in charge of oversight of county elections in both elections. Never mind that in 2020 the man accused of fixing the election (Adrian Fontes) somehow forgot to fix his own. Never mind that reasonable Republicans of all stripes acknowledged that the elections were fair. Never mind that numerous judges dismissed all lawsuits challenging the veracity of the election as having had no or little merit.

For any reasonable person, that many “never minds” would be overwhelming proof that the conspiracies had no merit. Yet fans of the previous president all across the country still believe these lies.

Meanwhile, the newest and most insane conspiracy theory is now taking hold in Arizona as well as across the country: that Governor Katie Hobbs and many elected officials, judges and leaders are in the pocket of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Does this sound crazy to you? Congratulations, you are a reasonable person. Unfortunately, it would seem that there are many, many unreasonable people in this country.

We have freshman legislator Liz Harris to thank for this new low. She aired a presentation with these absurdist charges in front of the entire legislature. And we must give credit to Republican leadership in both the House and Senate for condemning this action: both Senate President Warren Pederson and Speaker Ben Toma spoke out against this insanity. Of course, in the eyes of the conspiracy theorist, this means that they must be in on this as well!

That said, it feels like a “genie out of the bottle” moment: they were happy to let election conspiracies fester for a little while as long as it helped their chances for power, but now its gone too far. Now it is actively turning off reasonable voters, as the 2022 election results already demonstrated.

Meanwhile, the AZ GOP seems a slow motion car crash: they know they are turning away moderate voters and hurting future chances, but can they do anything about it?