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After months of largely ignoring his chief Republican primary rival, U.S. Sen. John McCain's re-election team has launched an online advertising campaign linking former state Sen. Kelli Ward to the "chemtrails" conspiracy theory.
But the chemtrails hearing was hardly a one-time incident. In her short political career, Ward has flirted with the conspiracy-theory fringe by making appearances on 9/11 truther radio programs, advising citizens to stay vigilant against UN helicopters, warning against government "indoctrination," and proposing an unusual theory that the Affordable Care Act was part of a plot to force rural residents to move to cities.
"Conspiracy theories are intellectually implausible because they require secrecy about complex coordination on a massive scale. When incorrect information about environmental quality issues is causing enough consternation to fill up a town hall meeting, it is a senator’s job to connect concerned constituents with expert government officials to correct and clarify misconceptions."
Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) re-election campaign on Monday mocked his primary opponent for entertaining constituents' chemtrail conspiracy theories. But it turns out McCain last year forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency a letter from a constituent concerned about chemtrails, and asked the EPA to respond.
McCain himself has suggested that Donald Trump's emergence as the party's presidential nominee could put his normally safely Republican seat in jeopardy this fall. "This may be the race of my life," he told donors at a private fundraiser, according to audio of the event leaked to Politico.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump held a rally in Phoenix last year that had McCain condemning some Arizonans as “crazies.” McCain said that Trump’s rally was “very hurtful to me,” and elaborated by explaining, “because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”
Ward, who represents a largely rural district in the state's northwest corner, is particularly concerned about a UN agreement called Agenda 21. Designed to promote sustainable development worldwide, the compact is nonbinding and has never been approved by the US Senate.
Nonetheless, Ward co-sponsored a bill in 2013 that would prohibit Arizona from complying with Agenda 21. As she explained at a hearing, Agenda 21 wasn't just about sustainability—it was about breaking the back of rural America in order to coerce citizens into moving to cities.
"I'd go so far to say that what we're doing with health care relates to Agenda 21 as well, because we'd like to see those rural hospitals close and fold under the pressure of not taking money from the federal government to hold them up," Ward said.
"Because when those things close, that does push people toward more centralized living in high-rise apartments [and] not in the rural areas, which tend to be freer thinkers and freer livers."