During former President Donald Trump's four years in the White House, conservative pundit Charlie Sykes was among his most persistent critics on the right — and during the 2020 election, Sykes enthusiastically supported now-President Joe Biden. Three months into Biden's presidency, Sykes laments the GOP's ongoing Trumpification in an April 28 column for The Bulwark. And the Wisconsin resident cites the vote audit in Maricopa County, Arizona as a glaring example of the "season of crazy" that is plaguing the Republican Party.
Republicans in the Arizona State Senate recently ordered an audit of the vote in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix — hiring the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit and using One America News (a cable television channel that prides itself on being to the right of Fox News) for the livestream. The presidential election results in Arizona have long since been thoroughly vetted and certified by Arizona's conservative Republican governor, Doug Ducey, but the April 2021 audit plays well to the QAnon crowd and far-right conspiracy theorists who buy into Trump's debunked and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Sykes writes, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Arizona election audit, which is surely one of the most guano-soaked bits of weirdness in our never-ending season of crazy…. They ordered the 'audit' despite the fact that three previous recounts had shown no problems and no evidence of fraud. Despite that, the GOP senators insisted on a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in the county that represents two-thirds of the vote statewide.... Predictably, the 'audit' has so far been a clusterfuck."
The conservative pundit adds that although the Arizona audit is a ridiculous waste of time, far-right conspiracy theorists are taking it quite seriously.
Sykes explains, "The Arizona story is worth keeping an eye on for at least two reasons: (1) It will likely be used to feed the Big Lie and sundry conspiracy theories, and (2) it is an indication of the metastasizing crazy in the GOP."
Sykes discussed the Arizona audit during an April 26 appearance on MSNBC:
The Arizona audit isn't the only GOP "craziness" that Sykes discusses in his column. The conservative pundit also attacks Republicans for their "bullshit narrative" that Biden is declaring war on meat consumption and slams former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's recent comments on Native Americans.
Santorum, during a speech for Young America's Foundation, made some clueless comments on U.S. history and told attendees, "We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here…. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn't much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith."
In response, Sykes writes, "Maybe Santorum could come to Milwaukee, named after the Algonquin word 'Millioke,' or Waukesha, from the Potawatomi word for 'fox,' here in Wisconsin, originally 'Meskonsing,' to discuss his understanding of the nullity of Native American culture. If he wants, he could also read up on the origins of corn, and peanuts, and cranberries."