I’m a people-pleasin’ fool who wants everybody to like me – which makes talk radio a really stupid career choice, right? Actually, a worse career choice for a people-pleaser would be an attorney. And even worse than that: an elected official who’s an attorney… like Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich.
This pecking order of likability was put to the test when I spotted the AG out for breakfast on a recent Saturday. I wanted to walk up to him and say, “Howdy!” Ultimately, however, I was glad he didn’t notice me in the corner, given what I’d said on the radio about his interim 2020 election report – namely, that the report was more scrambled than anything on his plate that morning, and beneath a guy running for the U.S. Senate. Not very appetizing, right? So, I finished my chorizo and eggs and split. (My other glaring character defect is avoiding conflict.)
At least I feel satisfied, based on the wimpy wording in the report, that Brno is every bit the people-pleaser I am. He used terms like “potential misconduct” and “potential vulnerabilities,” and said that early ballot signature verification “may be insufficient to guard against abuse.” Finally – and here comes the red meat – the report indicated his office had uncovered “instances of fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes.”
Fraud?! “Yes!” screamed every dude who has a “Trump Won” flag flappin’ from the back of his truck.
Hold on, though. None of the fraud he mentioned has anything to do with public officials or election workers. In fact, of the 3.4 million ballots cast in Arizona’s 2020 general election, only nine led to charges of voting crimes by the AG’s office – with a whole two in Maricopa County (both were for completing ballots for dead parents).
No massive misdeeds and no “widespread fraud” like Arizona GOP party chair Kelli Ward claimed the AG’s report showed. The report did use one phrase I know made her happy, because it’s one I’ve seen used by people who can’t imagine that enough Republicans were fed up enough with Donald Trump for him to lose Arizona – that the nine charges of voting crimes “raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona.” Sigh.
Lao Tzu said, “Care about what other people think and you’ll always be their prisoner.” If that’s true, Brnovich is handcuffed to Trumpers who, despite zero affirming evidence, continue insisting “something” was hugely amiss in Maricopa County’s 2020 presidential balloting.
To his credit, Brno resisted using the term “widespread fraud,” though I’m sure he wanted to. Fulfilling Trump’s stolen election fantasy could lead to a long-sought-after Trump endorsement in Brnovich’s Senate campaign.
If only there was a shred of evidence to back it up.
Jim Sharpe is the host of Arizona’s Morning News on KTAR-FM 92.3 (weekdays 5-9 a.m.). Visit ktar.com to find more information about his on-air work.