All aboard the Wayback Machine!
The year is 1993. The state of Arizona has become a pariah in the business world as well as a national embarrassment due largely to its bigoted governor: Evan Mecham.
Why? Because just years prior, Mecham rescinded Arizona’s paid holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And a referendum put to voters failed to authorize the holiday, too. Ultimately, the NFL’s Super Bowl, set to take place in Arizona in 1993, was yanked from the state, along with the hundreds of millions of dollars in business that was going to come with it.
Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for Arizona governor in this year’s midterms, is tempting a similar fate. Lake, the right-wing conspiracy theorist doing her best Donald Trump impression, is vying to become governor using lies and fearmongering.
During an interview Sunday, she invited a potential boycott from the NFL or other businesses over her bigoted stance toward migrants approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. Lake has parroted calls from fellow conservatives who want the U.S. to take a warlike, more violent, stance toward migration by declaring migrants approaching the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invasion.”
With fentanyl, “we’re being poisoned by the cartels and the CCP. The communist regime out of China is behind this,” said Lake, using shorthand for the Chinese Communist Party.
Wrong. Even the right-leaning CATO Institute has come to acknowledge the facts: Most fentanyl is brought to the U.S. by Americans through legal ports of entry.
So … another way to put Lake’s claim: Americans are poisoning Americans.
Nonetheless, Lake’s antagonism should inspire nightmares among Arizonans. She’s not even governor — and may never be. Nonetheless, she’s admitting a willingness to flirt with financial banishment and the fallout that could arise from it.
People who remember the earlier Super Bowl debacle know it cost the state dearly.
And don’t be fooled by Lake — or any Arizona Republican, for that matter — putting on this self-portrayal as a rugged individualist. Arizona has a largely dependent (and fragile) economy that often requires statewide politicians to play nice with others in private even if they do put up a front as going it alone.
Tourism — that is, people consciously choosing to visit Arizona — is a main driver of the economy.
A doctor shortage has left Arizona seeking doctors from other states and even other countries.
A police shortage has Arizona seeking officer transfers from out of state.
It’s far easier to campaign than to govern. That’s why Kari Lake can walk around making proclamations and promises detached from reality, as she did in the interview Sunday. But claim as she may: Her disdain for many of her fellow Americans (and prospective Americans) isn’t merely a threat to democracy, it’s a threat to Arizona’s bottom line, too.