THE THINK TANK

Think Tank talks Jan. 6, future of GOP with Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer

Jun 17, 2022, 10:30 AM
Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer (Facebook Photo/BoyerAZ)...
Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer (Facebook Photo/BoyerAZ)
(Facebook Photo/BoyerAZ)

Republican Sen. Paul Boyer has often been the pivotal vote in the Arizona Senate.

The chamber is divided 16 to 14 in favor of the Republicans, which means that a single Republican defection can undermine any Republican legislation.

Boyer’s vote has proven pivotal: he has probably been that key swing vote more often than any of his colleagues.

For this reason, his take on the U.S. House’s Jan. 6 hearings is especially interesting. He joins the Think Tank this week along with longtime Republican consultant Chuck Coughlin.

The evidence presented by that committee so far, mostly given by Trump loyalists and even family members make it difficult to dispute several basic facts about the events of Jan. 6.

• The insurrection was violent, attempt to overthrow the election, and it was planned. Not everyone there was part of the plan, but key groups planned an assault and some of these were in contact with the White House and key members of Congress.
• Donald Trump knew about these plans and virtually all of his aides and inner circle had told him that he had lost the election.

These accusations are not especially new. What is new, however, is verification of them by key Trump partisan insiders, who historian Heather Cox Richardson said included Trump Attorney General William Barr, campaign manager Bill Stepien, White House lawyers, and even his own daughter, (who) testified under oath, that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen and that such claims were at least in part a way to cheat small donors out of $250 million – insisting on the Big Lie has become a requirement for Republican candidates.

These findings suggest the following question for our guests:

• No Republican candidate for statewide office has been willing make the simple declarative statement: Joe Biden won the election. Why? How many of these Republican leaders really believe the election was stolen, vs. saying so for pure political expediency.
• What about the rank-and-file Republicans who believe in Republican policy positions but don’t necessarily regard themselves as Trump loyalists? How large is this residual group? Will they vote for “stop the steal” true believers out of party loyalty or jump ship?

Schools and vouchers – Boyer was in studio with us to reflect on these larger issues when he was literally in the middle of legislative negotiations involving final legislation dealing with the expansion of school vouchers and educational funding. We took the opportunity to learn about the status of those negotiations.

Republicans have long wanted to expand school vouchers to the entire school population of the state. Democrats have opposed this and would like to see an increase in education funding, arguing that is usually comes out at near or at the bottom of the 50 states. A compromise is being discussed which would expand vouchers in exchange for increased public school funding. We ask him about the status of these discussions, and given his key role in forging a final agreement, what it would take for him to support a final deal.

Back to the insurrection aftermath – In our final segment, Chuck and Mike consider the question: Who is the real audience for these hearings?

• The general public is mostly committed, one way or another?
• The Justice Department, especially AG Merrick Garland, who will have to decide whether to pursue criminal indictments against key players including Trump?
• Or are they merely documenting facts for the historical record?

Finally, we consider the questions:

• Is Donald Trump personally viable as a candidate?
• What is the current value of a Trump endorsement, given the current mixed record?

The Think Tank airs on KTAR 92.3 FM on Saturday 6-7 p.m. and Sunday 9-10 p.m.

Podcasts are available after broadcast. Older shows are archived at www.mikeoneil.org.

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Think Tank talks Jan. 6, future of GOP with Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer