Wendy Rogers Is Exporting Her Political Merde to France

Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, a Republican from Flagstaff, rallies behind former President Donald Trump in Florence, Arizona, in January 2022.
Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, a Republican from Flagstaff, rallies behind former President Donald Trump in Florence, Arizona, in January 2022. Jacob Tyler Dunn

Not content with peddling election fraud conspiracy theories stateside, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers is now exporting her own brand of Nutella to France, which ended its presidential election on Sunday.

That night, Rogers regurgitated a trope about stolen elections on Twitter. That's not news for the first-term Flagstaff Republican, but this time, she wasn’t talking about Arizona or the United States.

Against the backdrop of war in Ukraine, a national housing crisis, and swelling support of far-left candidates among notoriously apathetic young voters in France, incumbent Emmanuel Macron defeated right-wing leader Marine Le Pen to become the first French president in two decades to win a second term.

Le Pen’s bleach-blonde hair and “France First” rallying cry are reminiscent of the emergent “America First” slogan popularized by former President Donald Trump. Indeed, Le Pen has been dubbed “the French Donald Trump.”

Mirroring American political theater, Macron’s wife, Brigitte, has been disparagingly called a transgender woman who was born a man thanks to a bizarre disinformation campaign linked to Le Pen’s National Rally party.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama was the victim of a similar disinformation campaign that resurfaced during the 2020 American presidential election.

Macron won by a comfortable margin of 17 percentage points, securing 58.5 percent of the national vote. Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party still garnered record support with 41.5 percent of the vote.

And here the parallels, not to mention irony or hypocrisy, continue.

“Macron stole the election,” Rogers tweeted on Sunday night. “Dig deeper our fellow French patriots! You guys know how to party like it is 1776.”

Twitter flagged this tweet as “misleading.” Likes, shares, and replies have been disabled.

Historical note, Wendy: The French were not partying in '76. It took another 13 years under their tyrant king before the French Revolution sparked into life in 1789. It ushered in what historians dubbed the Reign of Terror, guillotines and all.

But never mind all that. Rogers’ criticism of the current French democratic process is puzzling, given her track record in the Senate.

Two months ago, she introduced Senate Bill 1338, which would require all ballots in Arizona to be hand-counted, and touted it as the most secure way to conduct elections. Now Rogers is pointing her finger at France for botching its election security detail.

Even after France conducted the election using only hand-counted paper ballots, Rogers said she smelled a rigged contest, proving that alt-right American election fraud conspiracy theories transcend international borders and expiration dates. Call it Bull Without Borders.

The only voting methods authorized by the French Constitutional Council were casting ballots in person and by proxy. Several experts have debunked the theory that unvaccinated people would not be able to access the polling stations.

Each of France’s 48.7 million registered voters across 12 time zones on seven continents cast paper ballots in envelopes behind the curtains of polling booths over the weekend.

French balloters are required to present identifying documents in order to vote.

Election experts also have warned that most accusations of voter fraud are the result of disinformation campaigns, many of which are aimed at undermining citizens' trust in the electoral process. The French Ministry of the Interior explained that in France, "no fraud has been reported" and "the risks of fraud have never been proven.”

France nixed mail-in voting in 1975 amid concerns of potential voter fraud.

Rogers pointed to Doug Logan, CEO of the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas firm hired by the Arizona Senate in March 2021 to recount more than 2 million votes in Maricopa County, as her inspiration for drafting the legislation that would mirror Arizonan and French election processes.

That’s in spite of the partisan-funded and widely ridiculed audit reaffirming President Joe Biden’s 10,000-vote victory in the Grand Canyon State.

“This does away with the machines,” Rogers said in remarks about her proposed legislation reported by The Associated Press in February. “When I interviewed cyber forensic expert Doug Logan … he told me that the biggest finding he has from the audit is that the more technology we use, the more chance there is to cheat.”

What now, Windy Wendy, for an encore?

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Elias Weiss is a staff writer at the Phoenix New Times. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he reported first for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was editor of the Chatham Star-Tribune in Southern Virginia, where he covered politics and law. In 2020, the Virginia Press Association awarded him first place in the categories of Government Writing and Breaking News Writing for non-daily newspapers statewide.
Contact: Elias Weiss