Criticism is an absolute given if you run for a high public office; regardless of who you are, what party you’re in and what your background is, you are certain to get some slings and arrows flying at you. Governor Katie Hobbs has taken plenty of those slings and arrows, some being legitimate and some ridiculous. Now a new accusation has come around, but this one with some legitimate evidence.
In 2017 Hobbs posted a tweet where she was critical of then-President Trump. Her tweet, while rather hyperbolic and nowhere near her own jurisdiction as a state Senator, was not the least bit unusual for someone in her position. After all, if you tried to cancel any state legislator who was critical of Joe Biden, half of red-state America would be inundated with apologies from politicians. But while the tweet itself got her roasted on the platform, that wasn’t the end of it.
After a contentious 2020 election which she oversaw as Secretary of State, online activists used this against her to support their view that the election was stolen. She then reached out to Twitter from her SoS email address in an attempt to get them to resolve this situation. Perhaps most perplexingly, she claimed to not have evidence of doing so, after blocking those perpetrators immediately.
It should be noted that Twitter apparently did not act on this; even though Hobbs apparently offered no evidence, they hypothetically could have performed queries to root out some bad actors. While there was certainly some degree of ideological tilt in parts of the Twitter organization (and likely still is in some capacity at “X”), they apparently had no desire to do Hobbs’s homework for her.
It is also worth noting that political harassment has been a serious problem on the platform, and America’s Ground Zero for that seemed to be Arizona. The amount of vitriol that Hobbs got for that in a role that doesn’t count votes, for someone who largely seems to have done her job in a rather innocuous way is a shameful and sometimes dangerous reflection of the worst of us, as well as the work of operatives who are able and willing to harness the worst of us. They tapped into and weaponized ignorance; those were often far greater evils than the thin skin of an elected official.
That said, the way with which she made this attempt was just about the definition of amateur. To submit complaints within the app is normal; I think it’s safe to say that most users have done so at some point, and absolutely none of us reading or writing this have received the cumulative level of hate that Hobbs has. But to email them FROM HER OFFICIAL EMAIL ADDRESS instead of deploying someone who works in her office, especially knowing that it would be subject to FOIA requests is…quite short-sighted. To do so without ammunition in the way of screenshots that demonstrate the gravity of the problem was…incredibly puzzling. It was a move that seemed to be a snap decision based on emotion, not a thought-out response.
So is this a game-changer? Well, is a politician demonstrating thin skin and making a poorly thought-out Hail Mary request in the heat of a moment a game changer? If that’s the case, there would be too many game-changers to count in our country in the recent past. Now that Hobbs has real power, it would likely serve the AZ GOP to focus on potential suppression in areas where she does have power, instead of throwing impactless red meat clickbait to people who will oppose her whatever she does.