Arizona GOP Senate Candidate Blake Masters— He Gets a Grade “F-“ in “Candidate Quality” September 4, 2022
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been correctly called many things by his Democratic opponents and political pundits. He has rightly been deemed a master obstructionist. He uses every tactic in the Senate to block Democrats from passing lots of legislation. To do this, he has elevated the constant use of the filibuster to an art form. He proudly bragged about his goal of trying to make Obama a “one term President.” Fortunately, he failed. McConnell declared that, “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama ‘You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.’” That High Court vacancy was the 2016 one that was caused by the death of hard- line Supreme Ct. Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia. McConnell blocked the GOP Senate majority from even holding hearings on Obama’s sterling nominee, Merrick Garland, now Biden’s Attorney General (See Emery, Snopes, 2/02/17). When Trump won,he put arch-conservative Neil Gorsuch in a seat that McConnell effectively stole for him. To do that, McConnell abruptly abolished the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Ct. Justices so that he could get the GOP Senate to put Gorsuch in with just 51 plus votes, the “nuclear option.” McConnell, who blocked hundreds of Obama nominees for federal judgeships, pushed through “conveyor belt” style over 218 federal judicial nominees for Demagogue Donald, mainly white male conservatives who will be on the bench after Trump and McConnell are long gone (pbsocal.org, 10/16/20, Boghani). McConnell has also been labeled by many as a prime hypocrite. In 2016, to keep progressive Garland off the High Court bench, he argued that only after the 11/2016 election should the American people get their say in appointing a Supreme Ct. Justice. Then in 10/2020, right after liberal Justice Ginsburg’s death, McConnell pushed through reactionary Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Ginsburg vacancy. Her Senate confirmation occurred just three weeks before the 2020 presidential election when lots of Americans had already cast votes, many against Trump. Barrett made a 6-3 conservative majority that helped overturn gun control and joined a 5-4 ruling overturning abortion rights. McConnell plays the “Long Game,” the title of his recent biography. He makes the Democrats look weak by bickering over his divisive tactics, and creates Senate legislative gridlock which he blames on the Democrats. As a result, the GOP was able to recapture the Senate majority several times. However much Democrats loathe McConnell, no one has ever accused him of not being a realist. On 8/18/2022, McConnell publicly downplayed expectations of his GOPers retaking Senate control in 11/2022. He stated that it was more likely that the House would flip “Red.” However, in the Senate, McConnell noted “candidate quality” in statewide Senate races has “a lot to do with the outcome.” Translation: McConnell is indicating that the group of 2022 GOP Senate nominees is not exactly one of high caliber. Look at Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania’s Dr. Oz, Georgia’s Herschel Walker, as well as Arizona’s Blake Masters. In McConnell’s book and that of many others, Masters gets a Grade “F-” in “candidate quality.” Let’s take a look at Blake Masters.
In the 8/02/2022 AZ primary, Blake Masters (36) defeated state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, businessman Jim Lamon, and two other candidates. This GOP primary was full of negative campaign ads and high spending. During a GOP primary debate, Masters stated he supported impeaching President Biden and removing him from office (cbsnews.com, Bidar, 6/24/22, Schwenk, 6/24/22, phoenixnewtimes.com). Denver, Colorado native Masters grew up in Tucson, AZ . He received a 2008 undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a 2012 law degree from Stanford Law (Schleifer, vox.com, 10/02/19, Lanard, motherjones.com, 9-10/2022).
Masters held far out fringe views even as a teenager. At age 19, after he had presumably studied history in high school, he spoke on chatrooms decrying U.S. entry into WWI and WWII. He even described a quote from Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering as being “particularly representative and poignant.” Goering, remember, was tried at Nuremberg for war crimes. He was Hitler’s right-hand man. He headed the Luftwaffe or Nazi Air force that killed thousands in London and the rest of Europe. Goering helped set up the concentration camps that slaughtered millions in the Holocaust and looted artwork from Jewish victims. Goering committed suicide during the Nuremberg trials. And this was Goering’s quote that Masters liked. Goering talked of leaders “always getting people to follow them.” These leaders did that by “telling them (people) they are being attacked and denouncing pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger, which works the same way in any country (“Jewish Insider,” 4/2022).” Masters also endorsed the conspiracy claim that the Houses of Morgan and Rothschild were linked to sinking the “Lusitania.” A German U-boat (submarine) torpedoed the “Lusitania” and killed Americans traveling on this ship. Its sinking was instrumental in getting the U.S. into WWI. Masters has invoked the anti-Semitic Rothschild dog whistle here, as do so many right-wing extremists. Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), denounced these comments. Primary rival Jim Lamon ran TV ads attacking these statements by Masters. Masters said that he “went too far.” He claimed that “no recent American wars have been just.” Huh? Apparently, fighting Nazi butchers in WWII doesn’t count as a “just war” for Masters. Masters noted that it was only “a matter of time before he got called antisemitic for criticizing wartime propaganda (nytimes.com, 7/06/22).” Well, Masters, if you don’t want to be called anti-Semitic, don’t proudly quote Nazi war criminals.
In 1/2011, Masters met Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel at Stanford Law. Thiel has an estimated net worth of $7.19 billion. He co-founded PayPal, Palantir Technologies, Founders Fund, and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel gave at least $1.25 million to Demagogue Donald in 2016. A GOPer, Thiel backs conservative libertarian causes (Lien, 2/15/18, nytimes.com, Streitfeld, 10/15/16). Masters and Thiel exchanged emails and Thiel invited Masters to attend a 2012 class of his. Thiel encouraged Masters to write a book, puffing up Thiel’s views. Masters’ book “Zero to One,” released in 9/2014, called “globalization the enemy of innovation (politico.com, 5/17/21, Isenstadt).” Masters went to work for Thiel, and became the chief operating officer of the investment firm Thiel Capital and President of the Thiel Foundation. After the 11/16 election, Thiel chose Masters to help assist in Donald’s transition to office (apnews.com, Cooper, 7/12/21, news.yahoo.com, Drucker, 7/12/22).
In 4/2021, Masters discussed running in the AZ GOP primary race to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly. ”Sugar Daddy” Thiel spent $10 million to set up a pro-Masters super PAC (Political Action Committee) to aid his potential candidacy. Masters officially jumped into this race in 7/2021. In 5/2022, Thiel gave the Masters super PAC an additional $3.5 million cash infusion (Stanley-Becker, 5/24/22, washingtonpost.com, Isenstadt, politico.com, 4/26/21, Metzger, 7/17/22, businessinsider.com). Within the first 36 hours of announcing his Senate bid, Masters received $575,000 by selling non-fungible tokens, NFTs. Early buyers of these NFTs received access to a private chat server and a copy of Masters’ book signed by both Masters and Thiel (fortune.com, 1/10/22, Quiroz-Gutierrez). Besides favorably quoting Nazi Goering, Masters encouraged people to read “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the manifesto written by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski that analyzes the negative impact of technology on society. Masters pointed to Kaczynski as a “subversive thinker” who should be more widely known (Pogue, 4/20/22, vanityfair.com, apnews.com, 7/30/22). Demagogue Donald helped Masters’ campaign take off by endorsing him (huffpost.com, Harvey, 8/29/22). As previously noted, Masters won the Grand Canyon State GOP Senate primary. He received about 40% of the vote (npr.org, 8/03/22, Shivaram).
Masters’ hard-right views have not changed since high school. He describes himself as “an America first conservative.” “Politico” rightly described his campaign views as those of a “hard-line nationalist (politico.com, npr.org,, Cooper, 7/12/21, apnews.com).” He opposes abortion. Masters has criticized the 1965 “Griswold v. CT” U.S. Supreme Ct. decision that recognized a right to obtain contraceptives. That case also enunciated the right to marital privacy upon which the “Roe v. Wade” abortion case was based. Masters has stated that if elected to the Senate, he would not outlaw contraception (politico.com, Stephenson, 5/27/22). Don’t believe him for a nano-second. Masters has declared that if he wins his Senate race, he will vote to confirm federal judicial nominees only if they “understand that Roe, Griswold, and Casey, (a 1992 case upholding pro-choice) were wrongly decided (Wang & Kitchener, 5/16/22, washingtonpost.com).” Masters aligns himself with ultra-right wing Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas is also interested in overturning “Griswold,” now that “Roe” has been reversed.
When the Supreme Ct. overturned “Roe” in Alito’s awful 2022 “Dobbs” opinion, Masters saw the public react in horror and declare itself overwhelmingly in favor of preserving that case’s right to privacy and women’s autonomy. Masters noticed that conservative/”Red” KS voted heavily in favor of preserving abortion rights after “Roe’s” reversal. Seeing that his anti-choice views were now a liability in a general election, Masters quietly deleted or scrubbed a section of his website at the end of August,2022 that said he was “100% pro-life.” Instead, Masters now states on that site that he favors “a federal personhood law that would ban abortions nationwide after the beginning of the third trimester,” unless the mother’s life is at risk (huffpost.com, Harvey, 8/29/22, Smith & Caputo, 8/25/22, Kilgore, 8/25/22, “Intelligencer”). NBC News and many other media outlets quickly reported Masters’ fake “flip-flop” stunt on abortion via his website scrubbing (See huffpost.com, Harvey, 8/29/22). Again, don’t believe Masters has changed his mind on abortion in any way. The “personhood” talk on his website is often used by anti-choice advocates. We saw this when anti-choice believers repeatedly put anti-abortion amendments on the ballot in CO using the term “personhood” in them. Fortunately, Coloradans voted down these anti-choice amendments. Arizonans must not similarly be fooled by Masters’ use of the “personhood” term. And speaking of the Supreme Court, Masters ludicrously called Biden’s African American female nominee and now Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson a “pedophile apologist (latimes.com, Barabak, 9/01/22).”
Masters did another scrubbing job on his website over the 2020 election issue. He initially stated on his website, “We need to get serious about election integrity. The 2020 election was a rotten mess---if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today and America would be so much better off.” Now, Masters’ site just says, “We need to get serious about election integrity (Harvey, huffpost.com, 8/29/22).” Of course, “election integrity” still means suppressing Democratic votes, especially those of the poor and people of color. However, this phrase sounds fairly harmless if one does not know the context. Masters was a key figure in supporting Donald’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” He supported a voter audit in Maricopa County, home of Phoenix. In an 11/2021 campaign ad, Masters stated he thought “Trump won in 2020.” Masters appeared at a fundraiser with Donald at Mar-a-Lago shorty after this ad aired. Donald endorsed Masters in 6/2022 (Cooper & Colvin, latimes.com, 6/03/22, Rogers & Warren, cnn.com, 7/17/21).
“Flip-flopper” Masters has suggested privatizing Social Security. However, facing a general election, he has suddenly called for increases in this program (az.com, Roberts, 2022). Masters opposed American aid to Ukraine, a country fighting a brutal invasion by Russia (politico.com, Stephenson, 5/27/22). Trump, remember, initially praised Putin for this action. Even though his patron Thiel is a proudly married gay man, Masters opposes the “Obergefell v. Hodges” Supreme Ct. decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Masters believes that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marry (thedailybeast.com, 6/27/22, Sollenberger). While campaigning on a talk show, Masters stated that “gun violence” was an issue. He added, “It’s about gangs. It’s people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don’t want to do anything about that (Jackson, usatoday.com, 6/08/22).” Wow, Masters is blowing the racist dog whistle really hard. In a sarcastic Twitter post on 8/28/22, Masters suggested that the nation’s economic struggles were connected to increased gender and racial diversity on the Federal Reserve. On 8/29/22, Masters attacked “the Democrats’ diversity obsession.” He described VP Kamala Harris as a beneficiary of an “affirmative action regime (nytimes.com, Astor, 8/29/22).” Masters has promoted a version of the “great replacement theory.” That “theory,” held by many white supremacists, is that Democrats are trying to bring more immigrants into the U.S. to “dilute the political power of native-born citizens (nytimes.com, Astor, 8/29/22).” In a 3/2022 meeting with Tea Partiers, Masters also questioned whether the 1/06/2021 Capitol attack was set up by the FBI (Rogers & Raju, cnn.com, 6/08/22).
As previously stated, Masters will be facing Dem. Senator Mark Kelly (58). Mark Kelly and his identical twin brother Scott were former naval aviators and both flew several Space Shuttle missions. Mark Kelly’s wife is former AZ Dem. Congressmember Gabby (Gabrielle) Giffords. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head by a deranged individual in 1/2011 and suffered severe brain injuries. She had to resign her congressional seat. Before she was shot, Giffords was thinking of running for the Senate. Instead, her husband Mark ran in 2018 to replace the late GOP Senator John McCain who had died of brain cancer. This was Kelly’s first political campaign and he won it to serve out the remainder of McCain’s term. In 11/2022, Kelly will be running against Masters for his own full six-year term. As a rookie candidate, Kelly had the “right stuff.” The Cook Political Report profiled Kelly in 3/2020 as the “Democrats’ best recruit (Cohen & Cook, 2022 Political Almanac, “Gabby,” G. Giffords & M. Kelly, 2011).” Kelly and his wife Gabby are, of course, unlike Masters, strong advocates for gun control and have been involved with gun control organizations (See Cohen & Cook 2022). In the Senate, Kelly, who represents a swing state that Biden narrowly carried, was rated as one of the most bipartisan Senators by Georgetown University’s Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy (kelly.senate.gov, 5/03/22). Still, Sen. Kelly usually votes with the Democrats and with President Biden. Under Demagogue Donald’s administration, Kelly voted with Trump just 20% of the time (projectsfivethirtyeight.com).
Lots of Arizona GOPers strongly believe in Masters’ extremist views. The polls have Kelly leading, but many of them give him just a small edge against Masters, around 4%-5%. A GOP McConnell-affiliated PAC has cancelled $8 million of television, radio, and digital ads that would have gone to Masters, because it believes that the general AZ electorate won’t buy Masters’ fringe views (nytimes.com, Astor, 8/29/22). However, Masters’ patron Peter Thiel will keep sending money to him. And should Masters look better in later polls, bet on “realist” McConnell to come back and financially prop Masters up. AZ Democrats, independents, and moderate GOPers must come out in droves plus this November to repudiate the fringe attitudes, extremism, and bigotry Masters stands for. MAGA follower Masters must receive a drubbing. Our democracy’s survival, as President Biden said in his terrific 9/01/22 Philadelphia Independence Hall speech, depends on destroying this extremist MAGA movement. As Biden aptly declared, at the end of this speech, to root out MAGA and preserve democracy, we must, “Vote! Vote! Vote (nytimes.com, Kanno-Youngs & Shear, 9/01/22)!”