Why Arizona is the most important state to watch on Tuesday night

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Former President Barack Obama was clear about the Arizona gamble when he campaigned for the Democrats this past week.

If Republicans win key state offices, Obama said, “democracy as we know it may not survive in Arizona. That’s not an exaggeration. That’s the truth.”

It’s not wrong.

According to The Washington Post, 12 of the 13 Republican candidates for federal and state office in Arizona this year have questioned the results of the 2020 election.

Also included is Kari Lake, the party’s gubernatorial candidate. Lake has become a favorite of the Trumpist wing of the party thanks to his smooth camera presence (he was a local TV anchor for years). She is also referred to as the female version of the former president (although I would argue that Lake Trump is more strategic and has more of a message than ever).

The biggest thing he shares with Trump is that election denial is at the core of his messaging. He has repeatedly called the 2020 election “stolen” and said that if he had been governor, he would not have ensured the result in the state.

Lake has also not committed to accepting the results of his race. “I’m going to win the election, and I’m going to accept that result,” he recently told CNN’s Dana Bash.

The lake is only far away. Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters has promoted several conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Mark Finchem, the GOP candidate for secretary of state, has suggested there are ballots in some counties that should be thrown out because of alleged irregularities. (No evidence of these irregularities has ever been presented).

Arizona, then, is, as Obama said, a pure litmus test: is electoral denial something voters at least want to accept in candidates? Or is it something that attracts those candidates to voters?

And if the likes of Lake and Finchem control the electoral machinery by 2024, is there any hope of a fair and transparent result in any of the next election’s balance sheet?

point: Tuesday is a defining moment in Arizona history. This is a time when democracy is at stake.