The Road to 2024

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October 18, 2021 9:28 a.m.

Kari Lake, the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Arizona after an endorsement by former President Trump, has called for the imprisonment of the state’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, along with other election officials and various journalists over the 2020 election. Hobbs is also a leading Democratic candidate for governor. Arizona holds its next gubernatorial election in 2022 and the state will certainly be hotly contested in the 2024 presidential election.

This captures another dimension of 2022 and 2024 as turning point elections. As we’ve discussed in other reporting, Republicans are working diligently to replace conservative Republicans who didn’t support the Big Lie, especially in roles that will play a key role in election administration. So a particularly bad 2022 for Democrats could set up a 2024 election in which the presidency is essentially pre-stolen.

But there’s another dimension which we can see here. Gubernatorial elections in mid-term years always have an advantage for the out-party. But running Trump extremists who are demanding their opponents go to prison could end up electing Democrats. I’m not being pollyannish about. An off-year election is a good time to elect extremists. But it captures what amounts to a high-stakes double or nothing character to these next two years.

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