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The events in Arizona illustrate how election deniers, despite losing in the 2020 election, have continued to remain in the spotlight and hold key roles in the Republican Party. The indictments of 17 people, including prominent figures like Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows, for conspiracy, fraud, and forgery related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, have not deterred their political ambitions. Some of the lower-profile defendants have actually seen their political stature rise, such as State Senator Jake Hoffman, who was elected to serve as one of the two national committeemen from Arizona, giving him a significant role in shaping the party’s direction.

Despite facing legal challenges, the election deniers are still actively involved in the political landscape. Gina Swoboda, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, and Christina Bobb, a right-wing cable personality and lawyer, continue to play important roles in the party. Meanwhile, candidates like Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Abe Hamadeh, and Mark Finchem, who all promoted denialist rhetoric during the 2020 election, are running for various positions in upcoming elections, indicating that the philosophy of challenging election results still holds sway within the party.

The return of these election deniers to the political arena has been welcomed by Democrats who have been able to make gains in Arizona as the Republican Party moves further to the right. However, scholars and experts express concerns that those who sought to overturn the 2020 election results may be willing to do it again in the future, posing a threat to the integrity of the democratic process. The consequences of continued election denialism could have long-lasting impacts on the political culture of the country.

Former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has escalated significantly since his time in office, moving beyond populist politics into what scholars describe as “wannabe fascism.” Trump’s recent speeches have embraced fascist tropes, declaring his rivals to be “vermin” and accusing migrants of “poisoning the blood” of the United States. His claims about migrants have become more conspiratorial, accusing President Biden of orchestrating a plot to overthrow the United States by allowing undocumented migrants in, without providing evidence to support his claims.

In the midst of these political developments, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is aggressively working to secure a spot on the ballot in key battleground states like Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. Kennedy’s campaign has raised accusations of impropriety due to the use of paid operatives in his efforts to gain ballot access. In a close election where every vote counts, the presence of third-party and independent candidates like Kennedy could have a significant impact on the outcome, highlighting the importance of who voters have the option to choose from on the ballot.

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