Did Doug Ducey hang up on Trump yesterday while certifying Arizona's election results?

An amazing clip which I somehow missed yesterday. You’ll need to turn the sound on your computer way up to hear it (at least I did) but that is indeed “Hail to the Chief” playing when Ducey’s phone rings. And it happens to be true — Ducey *did* say publicly in July that he changed his ringtone to HTTC to let him know when a call was coming from the White House.

Trump or some aide (Mark Meadows?) was probably watching the certification on a cable feed and thought it’d be worth trying to dial up Ducey at the last second and threaten him before he signed off. He may have sent the president to voicemail!

We have the same mystery here as we had with the complaints about Brian Kemp in Georgia. What, precisely, does Trump want governors to do?

Kemp said the same thing when he certified Georgia’s results. The law required him to do so, so he did. That’s all the dispute between him (and Ducey) and Trump boils down to: The governors believe their duty is to the law, Trump believes their duty is to him. We’re so far beyond basic American norms in what he’s doing, or haplessly trying to do, that I don’t know what to call it anymore.

Naturally there were loads of supporters in addition to the president himself chiming in yesterday that Ducey must pay for doing his job, never mind that Trump’s still free to challenge the election results in court:

It’s just another loyalty test, except this time with an Orwellian flourish that Ducey has somehow “betrayed” the people of Arizona by not letting himself be bullied into obstructing their choice for president. I wonder if the fact that Ducey is in his second term and can’t run again until 2026 emboldened him to stand up to Trump this way. Maybe not: Kemp isn’t term-limited but he also refused to let Trump strongarm him. These guys will bend a lot in doing what the president wants them to do but even they have their red lines, like throwing out elections. It’s reassuring to know that there are some values which Trump-era Republicans are willing to risk their professional ambitions to defend.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Ducey’s playing a long game here. He has two more years as governor, at which point he’ll either become a private citizen *or* he’ll challenge Mark Kelly for Senate in 2022 (or Kyrsten Sinema in 2024). Ducey’s probably the best-known Republican in the state now who isn’t named “McCain” and Arizona is no longer a gimme for the GOP. It’s represented in the Senate by two Democrats and its state party, led by Kelli Ward, has become fringier over time. If Republicans nominate someone like Ward to face Kelly, he might win easily among an increasingly blue electorate. Ducey would present a stiffer challenge and is probably whom McConnell will want to recruit for the race, but Trump is apt to hold a grudge due to Ducey’s brazen show of disloyalty in prioritizing democracy over the president’s interest in holding onto power. Likely result: Ducey is successfully primaried by some Ward type who then ends up losing to Kelly, guaranteeing a near-decade of Democrats holding that seat.

Or maybe Ducey will win the primary but then be unelectable in the general due to hard feelings among Trumpers leading them to stay home. The GOP’s already coping with that in the Georgia Senate runoffs:

“You can’t say the system is rigged but elect these two senators,” said Eric Johnson, a campaign adviser to Kelly Loeffler, one of the G.O.P. Senate candidates, and a former Republican leader of the Georgia Senate. “At some point [Trump] either drops it or he says I want everybody to vote and get their friends to vote so that the margins are so large that they can’t steal it.”…

“I had someone message me just last week saying: ‘Nope, I’m done. Can’t trust the election. Never voting again,’” said Buzz Brockway, a former Republican state representative. “The president has a very dedicated group of supporters who don’t really support the broader Republican Party — they support him.”…

“I’ve had very close friends write me and say, ‘I have a Republican governor and secretary of state, and they’re both useless, so why do I stay involved?’” [Newt] Gingrich said.

Convincing populist Republicans in Arizona that there was some grand fraud presided over by Doug Ducey which Trump’s team remains oddly unable to prove in court smells like the perfect recipe to keep AZ voting blue for a good long while. Either the next few statewide nominees will be fringy types who end up scaring off swing voters or they’ll be Ducey-types whom the base ends up boycotting. Good news for Kelly and Sinema.

Here’s Trump yesterday during Giuliani’s and Jenna Ellis’s press conference with Republican state legislators airing his grievances:

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