Arizona Wannabe Senator Kelli Ward Doesn't Know Who Mike Cernovich Is, Where She Parked Her Car This Morning
Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward isn't even in Congress and she's already trying to cop Paul Ryan's style. The House Speaker has an annoying habit of feigning complete ignorance over unpleasant matters that should involve him as both an elected official and a functioning adult. He never reads Donald Trump's tweets and most recently he claimed to "never pay much attention" to the corrupt actions of now-former head of the EPA Scott Pruitt. If you put a camera in front of Rudy Giuliani, he'd tell you that ignorance of the law is totally an excuse (it's totally not but that's Rudy for you). However, Ward has taken this to the next level: Total ignorance excuses everything.
When Ward appeared on MSNBC's "Kasie DC" Sunday night, host Kasie Hunt questioned her about the choice to invite far-right activist Mike Cernovich to tag along on Ward's upcoming statewide bus tour where she plans to personally meet everyone who's not voting for her. Cernovich is the misogynistic asshole behind "Pizzagate," which -- stupid name aside -- was actually a deranged conspiracy theory that resulted in an even bigger asshole with a gun shooting up a D.C. pizzeria. Ward apparently had heard nothing about this. She doesn't even eat pizza.
"I don't really know what Mike Cernovich's views are," Ward said. "I know he's got an audience and we want to serve everyone."
"I want to serve Republicans, I want to serve conservatives, I want to serve independents, I want to serve people who aren't political at all and I want to serve those Democrats who are rejecting the radical left," she continued.
Talent bookers on late-night talk shows have higher standards than this. Ward knows Cernovich has an audience but she doesn't care how he got that audience. I shudder to look that deeply into her campaign contributions: "I don't really know what Michael Corleone's views are. I just know he's got money and we want to serve everyone."
If Ward had taken time away from her busy schedule as a conspiracy theorist and Farrah Fawcett cosplayer to do a quick Google search on Cernovich, she'd have learned that people who believe in crazy things like, say, "diversity is white genocide," might also believe in slightly less crazy ideas such as single-payer health care and universal basic income. (Kind of like how The Joker is a vocal supporter of clean energy.) She might as well invite Cynthia Nixon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, except neither of those candidates promotes rape.
Hunt tried to helpfully remind Ward that Cernovich was human garbage, but Ward chose to just double down on dumbness.
"Mike Cernovich has been associated with the Pizzagate theory that led to shots being fired at Comet Pizza here in Washington," Hunt said. "Do you believe what has been said about Hillary Clinton and pizza and all this nonsense that has been on the internet?"
Ward declined to deny the false conspiracy theory.
"All I know about Hillary Clinton is that she would have been a terrible president," Ward said.
"I don't know much, but I know Hillary sucks, and that may be all I need to know." That's sort of an ongoing rank-and-file Republican theme when rationalizing previous and even ongoing support of Trump. Perhaps Ward and Cernovich can perform this number at open mics across the state of Arizona.
Ward isn't even the worst of the candidates hoping to fill the Senate seat Jeff Flake is vacating this year. Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt, decided to take his racist act to a larger stage. Sadly, the Trump administration's kiddie jails have made Arpaio's anti-immigrant actions almost quaint in comparison. Arpaio's Trump-granted pardon, which pretty much no one thought was a good idea, frees him up to split the conservative wackadoodle vote with Ward. Almost normal but still terrible Martha McSally is the likely primary winner. She currently has a 20-point lead over the two dunderheads.
Trump hasn't endorsed any of the three Republican candidates. Maybe frequent critics Flake and John McCain have pissed him off so much that he's done with all Arizona senators. If polls hold, though, Trump might have to contend with Democrat Krysten Sinema in 2019, and she'll probably do more than just throw shade on the Senate floor.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.