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Kari Lake Is Acting Totally Crazy for a Reason

Kari Lake. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
Kari Lake speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Dillon Precision in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kari Lake Is Using the Donald Trump Playbook: MSNBC typically ranks near the bottom of my unofficial list of reputable news outlets. MSNBC is a nakedly partisan outlet fronting as an objective news source. I’m more likely to roll my eyes at an MSNBC headline than give it serious thought.

Rachel Maddow in particular, I avoid. She’s a hyperbolic, one-sided partisan creature.

Kari Lake: Why She Does What She Does

So, I was surprised to find myself agreeing with a recent MSNBC headline on Maddow’s blog: “Kari Lake has a lucrative incentive to push conspiracy theories.”

Written by Steve Benen, the article takes some deserved shots at Kari Lake, the failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate.

Lake’s behavior after the election was regrettable; what she did was “file some misguided lawsuits, tell the public that se secretly won the race se lost, and declare herself the state’s “duly elected governor.”” Lake even proposed that she “might yet be elevated to the governor’s office once the 2022 results are reversed.”

But, as Benen points out, spouting election integrity falsehoods was not all that Lake did after the election – she also did a ton of fundraising.

Lake using election conspiracies to raise money

The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts summed up Lake’s behavior pretty well: “Ever wonder why Lake won’t concede? Or at least storm off on some new adventure now that hardly anybody in Arizona (other than the conspiracy crowd) is paying attention? Ka-ching. Turns out election denial is a lucrative business.”

Emphasis on lucrative.

Between November 9th (the day after Lake lost the gubernatorial election to Katie Hobbs) and December 31st, Lake raised $2.5 million. That’s a lot for a candidate who just lost a gubernatorial election in Arizona.

Lake’s best single day of fundraising? The day Hobbs was declared the governor-elect.

What Lake seems to have figured out, according to Roberts, is that “there are big bucks to be made by undermining Arizona and its elections. Facts don’t matter. Just continue to invent new and ever more hair-raising ways in which the election was supposedly stolen [and] then stand back and watch the money roll in.”

Lake takes her cues from Trump

Lake was one of the (many) Trump-endorsed MAGA candidates that lost a battleground election last fall.

Lake is cut from the same cloth as Trump; her political playbook is the same, her ideology is the same – she even comes from a television background.

Trump recognized one of his own and heaped Lake with praise; Lake’s name has even been thrown around as a prospective Trump ticket mate for 2024. Adding Lake to the GOP ticket seems outlandish now as she’s never won an election, never served in elected office, and never worked in government – but that didn’t stop Trump in 2016.

Lake shares another distinction with Trump, that being they both reacted similarly to their election defeats. Trump denied that he lost the 2020 election to Biden; Lake denies that she lost the 2022 election to Hobbs. Both of course did lose. And both have reaped the financial benefits of denying their respective losses. “Donald Trump,” Benen wrote, “has been a pioneer in separating those who believed his election lies from their money.

In the aftermath of the 2020 defeat, the Republican raised millions of dollars from supporters.” The election denialism “created a perverse set of incentives.” Lying was financially rewarding. To keep the cash flow pumping, Trump keep lying.

Now, Lake is dealing with the same perverse incentive – and is making the same decision: to keep lying.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.