On Monday afternoon, Donald Trump endorsed a state representative named Mark Finchem to be the next secretary of state in Arizona.
“It is my great honor to endorse a true warrior, Representative Mark Finchem, of the Great State of Arizona, for the position of Secretary of State,” Trump wrote in a statement from his Save America PAC. “He is a patriot who has fought for our Country right from his earliest moments in government. Mark was willing to say what few others had the courage to say. In addition to his incredibly powerful stance on the massive Voter Fraud that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, he is strong on Crime, Borders, our currently under siege Second Amendment, and loves our Military and our Vets.”
As you likely figured out from that statement, Finchem supports the “Big Lie” — the debunked notion that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from Trump. But Finchem does a LOT more than support the Big Lie.
As the Arizona Republic notes, Finchem was not only in Washington for the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally but also explained the insurrection at the US Capitol that followed the gathering as “what happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.” There have been allegations that Finchem was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol but he has denied them – although he refuses to release his texts and other communications from that day.
And Finchem has been one of the loudest advocates for the somehow still-ongoing audit of ballots in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix. In fact, Finchem even found a way to profit off the deeply flawed audit, selling T-shirts that read “#ProveIt.”
“I am starting the #ProveIt campaign right now,” Finchem tweeted by way of explanation in July. “I am sick and tired of the liberal officials and media gaslighting us with fictitious attacks about the election - but they are doing everything they can to STOP our forensic audits and efforts to find out the truth.”
And Finchem’s quackery goes well beyond the Big Lie and its Arizona tendrils.
Finchem is also expected to be a speaker at the “Patriot Double Down,” a QAnon gathering in Las Vegas next month. You know QAnon, the conspiracy group that believes, among other things, that pedophiles have infiltrated the top jobs in American government and will be found out and imprisoned before the end of Donald Trump’s term … oh wait.
Back in July, CNN noted that Finchem “has repeated conspiracy theories on fringe conservative media and at least one high-profile podcast known for being supportive of QAnon,” and quotes him saying:
“We’ve got a serious problem in this nation. There’s a lot of people involved in a pedophile network in the distribution of children … And, unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of elected officials that are involved in that.”
This, yes, this is the person that the former president of the United States thinks should be in charge of elections in Arizona. This is the man Trump called, on Monday, a ” true warrior” and a “patriot,” which tells you everything you need to know about how warped the former President’s reality actually is.
Because Trump remains the unquestioned leader of the Republican Party, Finchem’s chances of winning soared thanks to the endorsement. “Thank you, President Trump for your endorsement,” he tweeted. “You are leading the way on restoring election integrity. I am truly honored to be recognized for the hard work I put in and will continue to do to restore the integrity of our elections.”
If the idea of someone with Finchem’s conspiracy driven beliefs being in charge of a critical swing state’s election process, you aren’t paying attention. This is how confidence in American elections erodes. And if and when that happens, we will be in a country that is literally unrecognizable.