In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, the national media and the Hillary Clinton campaign devised a plan to elevate Donald Trump and so-called “lunacy” over a field of up-and-coming Republican politicians. According to New York Times journalist Amy Chozick, who was embedded with Hillary Clinton’s campaign from inception to death, campaign manager Robby Mook called a meeting with an agenda of specifically asking “How do we maximize Donald Trump?” Chozick also noted how Mook “salivated when a debate came on, and Trump would start to speak. ‘Shhhhh,’ Robby said, practically pressing his nose up to the TV. ‘I’ve gahtz to get me some Trump.’”
We all know how that worked out. Yet fast-forward to the 2022 midterm elections — and Democrats are using the same strategy in several key races across the country that will tilt the balance of power. One such race in Arizona has captivated Democrats and the media, where Republican candidate Kari Lake benefited from Democratic efforts to boost the “crazy” candidate. Once again it looks like the Dems are going to come to regret it.
Lake, who has been a leading voice for Donald Trump’s 2020 election claims, is on a short rocket ship ride to MAGA stardom. Early in the GOP primary, Democrats deployed tactics such as statewide mailers attacking Lake’s opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson. The goal was to elevate Lake, who has been labeled an election denier, into the general election against secretary of state Katie Hobbs. The strategy worked. Lake secured the nomination and Democrats swiftly turned on Lake, just as they did Trump in 2016.
Now a full-blown panic has set in, as Lake has pulled away in the polls thanks to an inept campaign by Hobbs that saw her refuse to debate Lake in front of voters. As for Lake? Democrats don’t seem to know what hit them, and who they were actually messing with. Lake is a seasoned media professional, having worked almost twenty years in Arizona, making herself a familiar face. Her experience in media has honed her skills as a particularly deadly weapon against them. She is rarely caught off guard and challenges what she sees as press bias in a cool and calm manner. She is already being floated as a strong contender to be a running mate for another Trump run, something she has stated she is not interested in. It’s possible that Lake has her aims set higher than VP.
Once again Democrats created a verifiable rock star of the right in Kari Lake — and once again they will only have themselves to blame when she wins. It’s worth remembering this the next time Joe Biden orders his acolytes to pressure-wash the homeless people out of one of our city’s stations so he can intone that “democracy itself” is at stake. If that’s the case, bucko, then why did you guys spend so much putting all of these “election-deniers,” the “extreme MAGA element of the Republican Party,” on the ballot?
Plus, Lake can navigate probes about her “election denialism” from hostile reporters by turning the question around and asking the same of Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams. While she existed on the fringes of conservative media, even National Review brought her into the fold when she deftly answered a question on abortion. If Lake becomes a coalition builder inside the GOP, in much the same way Florida governor Ron DeSantis has, she could be an unstoppable force — perhaps the one true heir to Donald Trump, someone else who has earned praise for his navigation of media attacks.
There has been much talk of DeSantis in recent months picking up the mantle of Trump and so-called “Trumpism,” whatever that actually means. But it is Kari Lake who looks poised to take that slot, first in Arizona, then perhaps on a national level. Thank you, Democrats!