Sunday, 04 Dec 2022

Democracy on the ballot: the man fighting to keep Arizonas election out of an extremists hands

Democracy on the ballot: the man fighting to keep Arizonas election out of an extremists hands


Democracy on the ballot: the man fighting to keep Arizonas election out of an extremists hands

"BELIEVE". The word is written in large blue letters above the door of Adrian Fontes's campaign office in Scottsdale, Arizona, a replica of Ted Lasso's motivational sign from the hit TV show featuring an American football coach thrown into the bear pit of the English Premier League.

"It speaks to me," Fontes explained. "It says that 'You can do it' is a question of faith."

Then there's the sign on the other side of the door. Pinned discreetly to the back, where few visitors get to see it, is a printed notice that says: "Adrian, don't fuck it up!"

If the "BELIEVE" sign speaks to Fontes, then the F-sign - created by his campaign chair - should speak to millions of other Americans. They may not know it yet, but their future as citizens of one of the world's oldest democracies could depend on it.

At least that's how Fontes sees the upcoming midterm election in which he is standing for statewide office. Asked what is at stake on 8 November, what hangs upon him not F-ing it up, he replied: "Literally the fate of the republic, and the free world too if you accept that America is still its leader. We are potentially looking at the democracy that upholds the United States of America no longer functioning."

That may sound hyperbolic, especially as the position for which he is running, secretary of state, is relatively obscure and in normal times would barely get a mention outside Arizona. But these are not normal times, and Fontes's race is attracting international attention.

The cause for such high-decibel concern is his opponent. Mark Finchem, an extremist dressed in cowboy's clothing, is the epitome of the Donald Trump-adulating election denier.

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