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Psst, candidates: Voters are tired of hearing about Trump and the 2020 election

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 7/30/2022 Jon Gabriel
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Politicians pay consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars to create winning themes and messages for statewide races. For national races, this grows into millions.

Yet many of these very, very wealthy campaign experts refuse to let common sense into their PowerPoints. Like the fact that elections are about the future, not the past. Your campaigns are about the voters, not some ex-politician who doesn’t live in the state you want to lead.

Nationally, Democrats have fallen into this trap with their endless hearings on Jan. 6. Finding out the facts about that ugly day is a net benefit, but it won’t change the midterms one bit. Voters will base their choice on their lives in November 2022, not something that happened two years ago on the other side of the country. 

Former President Donald Trump hugs Kari Lake, candidate for Arizona governor, during a Save America rally at the Findlay Toyota Center on Friday, July 22, 2022, in Prescott Valley. © Antranik Tavitian/The Republic Former President Donald Trump hugs Kari Lake, candidate for Arizona governor, during a Save America rally at the Findlay Toyota Center on Friday, July 22, 2022, in Prescott Valley.

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In the same way, Arizonans are concerned with today’s problems and future solutions, not Donald Trump’s narrow loss of the state in 2020.

Well-paid political advisers don’t accept this simple fact, at least if several GOP primary campaigns are any guide. Instead of representing their constituents, these candidates are vying to represent a guy stuck at the 12th hole at Mar-a-Lago.

We care about issues, not your fealty to Trump

Many voters care more about issues than personalities. If a politician will advance my peculiar platform, they get my vote. Since I support school choice, sound economics, low regulation and letting states make most of their rules instead of Washington, I usually vote GOP, with a Libertarian here or there.

Pulse of electorate: New poll shows what Arizona voters agree on

As such, I’m not concerned with a candidate’s speaking voice, Instagram feed or hairstyle, but what they do. And if a contender doesn’t seem to care much about me or their own community, I won’t care much about them.

Nothing personal; just politics.

So, it’s bizarre to see at least one Republican in every race bending over backward to cater to, talk about and be photographed with an ex-president. I care about Arizona, not Donald Trump.

Look, I wish the guy health, wealth and a low golf handicap, but we’re talking about the next two, four or six years of leadership for the Grand Canyon State. Call me provincial, but candidates should focus on Arizonans, not a single New Yorker turned Floridian.

He’s not hiring you. We are.

Want to win? Tell us how you'll improve Arizona

Many of us know more about Arizona than Trump or half the candidates running. We don’t care who he endorses or condemns; we’re too busy working extra hours to cover gas and groceries. Tell me how a Governor Lake or Senator Masters will improve our lives, not The Donald’s.

“Yeah, but we gotta stop the steal!” First off, Biden won Arizona. Second, even if there were a “steal,” you can’t stop what happened two years ago. This election is about today, not yesterday.

Flip your calendar and focus on 2022 for a change.

“But Governor Ducey betrayed Trump by certifying the votes!” No, he followed the law, honored the votes cast by Arizonans, and is wrapping up his second term of delivering more conservative reform than any governor in state history. (If nothing else, that gives his endorsement a lot more weight than someone who’s never lived here.)

Again, nothing personal. I wish every GOP candidate a low golf handicap. But whoever wins the Tuesday primary needs to drop the cheerleading for Trump and start cheerleading for your potential constituents.

We don’t need leaders gazing into their rearview mirrors but driving toward policies that will better the health and wealth of all Arizonans.

That’s how you win. And you didn’t need to pay a quarter-million-dollar political consultant fee.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Republic and azcentral.com. On Twitter: @exjon.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Psst, candidates: Voters are tired of hearing about Trump and the 2020 election

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