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Former GOP Leader on Trump, Democracy, and the U.S. “They’ve Lost It”

Rusty Bowers is making his way toward the door. His own Republican party has kicked him out of the office without any fanfare after he served the state of Arizona as a congressman for a total of 18 years, including the most recent four as speaker of the state’s house of representatives.

Republican from Arizona who challenged Trump in the primaries but ultimately lost says “I’d do it again in an instant”

Last month he lost his effort to stay in the Arizona legislature in a primary contest in which his opponent was endorsed by Donald Trump.

David Farnsworth, the opponent, made an unusual pitch to voters. He claimed that the presidential election for 2020 had not only been stolen from Donald Trump but that it had been stolen in a satanic manner by “the devil himself.”

As a form of retribution, Bowers was fired. After the powerful testimony, he gave in June to the January 6 hearings, in which he revealed the pressure he was put under to overturn Arizona’s election result, the Trump acolytes who have gained control of the state’s Republican party over the past two years desired to exact their vengeance on him. They did this in response to the testimony he gave in June.

This is a tale that is extremely typical of Arizona. However, it is also a cautionary tale for the entire United States of America, which makes it a uniquely American tale.

Within six hours of the interview with Bowers being published by the Guardian, Liz Cheney was similarly defeated in a primary election for her congressional seat in Wyoming. In addition to that, the former third most powerful Republican leader in the United States Congress was given a sentence of punishment.

My definition of fascism is the mentality that if we don’t do what we want, we will simply get rid of you, move forward without you, and carry out our agenda by ourselves.

In the instance of Bowers, his attackers in the Arizona Republican party intended to punish him because he had persistently refused to perform what they wanted him to do, as well as what Trump wanted him to do.

He had declined to use his power as leader of the house to invoke an “arcane Arizonan law” – whose text has never been found – that would allow the legislature to cast out the will of 3.4 million voters who had handed victory to Joe Biden and switch the outcome unilaterally to Trump.

This law would have allowed the legislature to cast out the will of 3.4 million voters who had handed victory to Joe Biden.

Bowers has a word for the kind of thinking that you just described. “The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on and do it ourselves – that to me is fascism,” you say. “That is fascism.”

In January, Bowers will officially step down from his position as a legislator in the state of Arizona. Now he is free to express his opinions. In an interview he gave this week to the Guardian, he did precisely that for almost two hours’ worth of conversation.

The phrase “the constitution is hanging by a thread” comes to mind. Adam Riding / The Guardian is credited for the photograph.

Amid the chaos caused by the stolen election in 2020, he expressed his honest opinion regarding the phone talks he had with Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani.

He spoke about the “clown circus” of Trump loyalists who tried to bully him into subverting the election, as well as the “emotional violence” that has been embraced by increasingly powerful sections of the Republican party in Arizona and nationally.

He also spoke about the “emotional violence” that has been embraced by increasingly powerful sections of the Democratic party in Arizona and nationally.

He also expressed his opinion regarding the very real threat that is currently posed to democracy in the United States of America, which, to his utter surprise, was posed by members of his own party.

He explained to me that the constitutional order is “dangling by a thread.” “The amusing part is that all along I had the impression that the other guys would win. And I am on that side.

That we, of all people, would be the ones to sell off our constitutional protections in exchange for a few votes breaks my heart to think about. That completely boggles my mind.

I cannot be considered a guy of means.

Bowers is going to discuss all of that and a great deal more. But before we get to that, he’d want to take me on a tour of his place of worship.

He made plans for us to meet at the ranch that his family owns “so you can get a better understanding of why I think the way I do.”

The ranch is located at the end of a five-mile stretch of dramatically winding dirt road, which is about 90 minutes drive east of Phoenix. The ranch is nestled in a hollow among desert hills.

A wildfire tore through the region around fifteen months ago, causing the stately cottonwoods and sycamores in the area to be destroyed and sending flames well up above the hills.

The main house came within ten feet of being completely burned, and his art studio, which included many of his landscape paintings as well as a significant percentage of his legislative records, was completely destroyed by the fire.

I inquire of him what exactly this breathtakingly gorgeous yet desolate terrain implies about the nature of his political character. He responded by saying, “Well, I’m not a guy of means.”

“We settle our bills as we go along. We are compelled to labour, to engage in activities that require the use of our hands. That provides you with a new perspective on the value of life. Things have a bigger meaning.”

According to Bowers, his fundamental beliefs were inculcated in him when he was a child and he was raised within the Republican tradition of conservatism.

He is the parent of seven children, the youngest of whom, Kacey, passed away one year ago. “At the most fundamental level, the importance of family, faith, and community cannot be overstated. You are not going to make it on your own out here, on territory as harsh as this.”

Bowers, now 69 years old, is a fourth-generation native of Arizona. He was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is more commonly referred to as the Mormon church. His religious beliefs, coupled with his other significant interest in art (he is a painter and sculptor), are plainly evident everywhere you look.

In 1846 and 1847, members of the Mormon faith embarked on a monumental journey spanning 1,100 miles across the United States. The front of the main house is adorned with three large bronzes that depict this journey.

I participated in the Trump campaign, went to his rallies, and even shared the stage with the candidate at one point.

For Bowers, the terms conservatism and Republican party could be used interchangeably right from the start. “Believing in God and the notion that you should be held accountable for how you treat other people were pretty conservative views on my part, and they formed the cornerstone of my political philosophy.”

He considers himself to be “pro-life,” believes that God was the source of inspiration for the United States Constitution, and cast his ballot for Trump in the presidential election of 2020.

According to what he shared, “I campaigned for Trump, I attended his rallies, and I stepped up on the platform with him.”

However, at some point in the process, things began to go in a different direction. A chasm opened up between his traditional Republican values and those of a new generation of activists who were energised by Trump and his embrace of conspiracy theories and strongman politics. These activists were part of a new cadre that was energised by Trump.

Bowers now realises that the first shots of the conflict were fired not around the presidential election in 2020 but rather earlier in the year, in the initial days of Covid. This realisation comes as a result of the benefit of hindsight.

The Trump loyalist Republicans in the Arizona house displayed the same disdain for the rules and the same bullying style in their antics against masks, which was later to erupt in the stolen election. They also displayed the same bullying style.

He described it as “something like a warm-up show.”

After then, the first indications that Trump would not accept the loss in the 2020 race began to emerge. Bowers, on the other hand, had long anticipated that the contest for governor of Arizona would be a close one.

“We were very much aware that a demographic of women 18 to 40 years old, college-educated, professional, and with small children were not voting for Donald Trump,” he said. “We were very much aware that these women were not voting for Donald Trump.”

Bowers was not surprised to learn that Biden had won the state with a margin of victory of 10,457 votes, which was the smallest margin of victory of any state.

But the situation became so tense when armed Trump supporters demonstrated outside counting sites in Maricopa county and demanded “audits” that the president decided to go take a look for himself.


He assembled a team of reliable attorneys, and together they headed to conduct an investigation into the counting procedure.

“I witnessed an unbelievable number of protocols that were adhered to and signed off on by volunteers, including Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Republicans, for crying out loud! Yes, Republicans! And they did it by the rules.

A phone call came to Bowers from the White House on November 22nd, 2020, exactly two weeks after it was announced that Joe Biden would succeed Barack Obama as President of the United States. The fate of Trump and Giuliani hung in the balance.

After some pleasantries were said, they got down to the serious task at hand. According to Giuliani, they discovered 200,000 illegal immigrants and 6,000 dead people who had voted in Arizona.

Giuliani said this discovery was made in Arizona. Giuliani persuaded him to convene a special committee of the Arizona legislature to investigate the allegations of fraud by telling him, “That is something that needs to be fixed.”

You should know that Trump wasn’t even remotely angry. He posed no danger in any way. He was the bulldog, Giuliani. Giuliani.

Bowers had a clear recollection of how Trump and Giuliani acted as the “good policeman” and the “bad cop” during that call.

“Donald Trump, as you well know, he was not upset. He posed no danger in any way. He never once threatened me by saying something along the lines of “I’m going to get you if you don’t do this.” Giuliani, he was the bulldog in that situation.”

In response, Bowers acted courteously yet firmly. He instructed the two that they were required to present concrete evidence. “I told her, ‘Until you bring me something, I’m not going to do anything like this. Let’s see it. I’m not going to let there be any clowning around in the house of representatives.'”

That is when Trump and Giuliani presented their second idea, which was much more controversial than the first. They had learned that there was an “arcane Arizona legislation” that would allow the Republican-controlled legislature in Arizona to send Trump alternatives to Congress instead of Biden’s electors if they used this “arcane Arizona law.” Bowers is the Republican legislator in Arizona.

It took a second, but eventually, I understood what was going on. It was requested of Bowers that he use diktat to reverse the results of the election.

“I’m not a constitutional law scholar, but I get what you’re trying to say. He recalled believing at the time that they wanted him to disregard the vote of his own people. “I responded, ‘Oh, wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait. So you’re asking me to go against the will of the people in Arizona and toss their vote out, right?

In June, during the fourth hearing of the House Committee on the 6th of January, Bowers was given the oath of office before giving his testimony.

Bowers provided a categorical reaction to the routine between the good cop and the bad officer. He shared with them, “I took an oath to the American constitution, the state constitution, and the laws of this state.” Which one of those am I supposed to break first?”

However, it wasn’t the end of it. Bowers was subjected to a barrage of demands that he interfere with the election, some of which originated from the White House while others came from “America First” lawmakers located closer to Bowers’ home.

The lobbying of the speaker of the house continued right up until the evening of January 5, when John Eastman, a conservative law professor who was advising Trump on his attempt at an electoral coup, called him on his cell phone and urged him to “decertify” the electors.

This occurred just hours before the presidential inauguration. Eastman advised him to “Just do it, and let the courts figure out all of the details.”

Bowers demonstrated his directness in that instance as well. He responded with a “No.”

As January 6 drew nearer, the accusations that the election had been stolen reached a fever pitch, and the attacks on Bowers got more personal.

At his home in Mesa, a group of angry supporters known as the “Trump train” arrived honking their horns and driving pickup trucks decorated with Maga flags. Some of the supporters carried digital signs proclaiming that he was a paedophile.

He would leave the safety of the house to confront the demonstrators so that he could keep his family safe. One of the men had a tattoo on his breast that depicted three bars, indicating that he was a member of the ultra-right-wing paramilitary group known as the Three Percenters.

The individual was yelling profanities and wielding a gun at the same time. “I had no choice but to come as close to him as possible to protect myself if he went for the pistol.”

I never once entertained the idea of giving up. No way. I don’t like bullies.

The worst of it was that during a few of these dangerous demonstrations, his daughter Kacey was inside the house dying in bed from liver failure.

She was the one thing that made it worse. “She would frequently question, ‘What are those people doing out there?'” Her feelings were clearly hurt.

She told me, ‘I’m going to die.’ I said, ‘Honey, you’re not going to die.’ Since she was emotional, our goal was to help her maintain a positive outlook.

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Kacey Bowers did pass away on January 28, exactly three weeks after the armed uprising at the United States Capitol.

I questioned Bowers about whether or not, throughout all of this, he had ever questioned whether or not he had the strength to stand up to the assault. Were his morals put to the test?

He said, “I never once entertained the idea of throwing in the towel.” “No way. I don’t like bullies. One thing that has been the same throughout my life is that “I. Do. Not. Like. Bullies.”

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