Kari Lake’s plan for the US Senate: ‘The end of democracy’

kari lake

Former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake leaves after she spoke during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 4, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservatives gathered at the four-day annual conference to discuss the Republican agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Camaron Stevenson

February 27, 2024

The world’s most far-right political leaders flocked to National Harbor, Maryland, last week for a conservative conference where attendants idolized dictatorships, praised political violence, and called for “the end of democracy.”

Arizona US Senate candidate Kari Lake was among the merch booths of Trump swag and Jan. 6 Insurrection participants in attendance at the conference, where she spoke before a crowd about disproven claims of election fraud and derided US support for Ukraine in the Russo-Ukrainian War.

“We have lawlessness on our streets because of stolen elections,” said Lake. “We have a fraud sitting in office by the name of Katie Hobbs—the squatter, who is trespassing in the governor’s office.”

Hobbs defeated Lake in the Arizona governor’s race in 2022, a defeat which Lake has refused to accept.

Dictators praised, democracy derided

In addition to attributing imagined election interference to the state’s crime rate—which has actually decreased by nearly 20% since Hobbs took office—Lake spoke with far-right media figure Jack Posobiec, who earlier at the conference called for the end of American democracy.

“Welcome to the end of democracy; we’re here to overthrow it completely,” said Posobiec. “We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6 but we will endeavor to get rid of it.”

Posobiec, a former US Navy intelligence officer who has ties to the anti-government militant organizations the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, continued his anti-democratic rhetoric during his discussion with Lake. The two extolled the actions of autocrats like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and El Salvador President-elect Nayib Bukele.

“If you were elected to the United States Senate this year, can we as a country finally pull ourselves out of this globalist system?” Posobiec asked her, referencing conspiracy theories about a secret world government.

“Absolutely,” Lake responded. “President Trump is the man to do this. We’re watching men, people like Viktor Orbán turn things around in Hungary. We’re watching El Salvador; we’re watching these nations where it looked like all hope was lost, and they’ve turned things around.”

Taking notes on other authoritarian takeovers

Both Orbán and Bukele are recognized globally as hard-right, authoritarian leaders who have put their respective countries’ democratic institutions in a precarious position. In Hungary, Orbán has engulfed the country’s judicial branch into the executive, taken control of public media and silenced privately-owned news outlets, and established a supermajority for his party in parliament, allowing him to change the constitution to suit his ambitions.

Bukele, who subverted El Salvador’s laws on term limits last month to secure another five years in office, has described himself as “the coolest dictator in the world.” During his first term, he declared a state of emergency and empowered law enforcement to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Since his declaration in 2022, 75,000 El Salvador residents—or one in every 45 adults—have been imprisoned, according to The New York Times.

These are the world leaders fawned over by Lake and Posobiec, and whom they hope Trump would model a second term after. It appears to be part of Trump’s plan for the presidency as well; he told a crowd in December 2023 that would start his term by acting as a dictator on the first day in office.

While nearly 75% of Republican respondents to a January 2024 UMass Amherst poll said they support Trump’s dictatorial ambitions, the majority of US residents do not. In a January 2023 poll conducted by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, nearly 80% of respondents said they preferred a democracy over a dictatorship.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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