Sanda Clark of Green Valley, the lone Democrat running in rural LD19, spoke at the October 24, 2022 meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.

“To me, this election is not about Democrats or Republicans. In this election, the choice between democracy or autocracy and fascism, and we need to call Republican candidates for what they are: they’re fascists,” Clark said. And she should know, having spent the first 14 years of her life in a dictatorship in Romania.

“So for me, this is a must-win election for our future, for our children’s future, for this planet’s future, for decency for humanity,” she said. Clark is running for AZ House (see www.clark4az.com) in the MAGA-dominated LD19.

Republican candidates are extreme and dangerous, including Kari Lake for Governor (running against Democrat Katie Hobbs), Mark Finchem for Secretary of state (running against Democrat Adrian Fontes) and Abe Hamadeh for Attorney General (running against Kris Mayes).

“So it’s time that we prosecute those insurrectionists, with Mark Finchem being one of them. He shouldn’t even be able to be considered to run, let alone win. But let me tell you if any of these people take control, and win, we are finished. And this will be the very last election that is a free election,” she said. “This is not a joke. If Republicans win, we are not going to have elections where we have known them. Democracy may be on its way out. And we are going to be, at best, Hungary.”

“We cannot allow Democrats to stay home. This is such an important election. It’s really about us remaining a Democracy or becoming an authoritarian country. Please tell everybody to come out and vote. We must vote. We must vote for democracy.”

“If the Republicans take over, they have already said they are going to do away with Social Security and Medicare.” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the head of the Senate GOP campaign arm, released a plan in February to eliminate both earned benefits for seniors. “It’ll be a very small circle of people who are going to profit if the Republicans take over — the super extra rich who are going to become super, super duper, extra rich. And those in the middle class will become the poor class. That’s how I see it.”

Clark broke down in tears when she said, “I’m running truthfully as a very grateful American. I’ve had a great life in this country. I love this country, and I can’t imagine it losing to fascism. I just can’t. It would kill me. I would not want to live here under the fascist regime.

“So if you are silent, you are collaborating with fascism, and you’re a supporter of those ideas. We need to stand up, we need to speak up, we need to be counted and to say: no, this is not for us.” She encouraged Democrats to make a donation to the LD19 Democrats.

Life in a dictatorship

Sanda Clark spent her first 14 years under the dictatorship in Romania. She was told by the repressive government what to read, what classes to take and how to vote. The secret police arrested anybody who spoke out. Spies were everywhere — classmates, neighbors and even family members could be informers. Everyone was monitored, and no one had any privacy. There was no private ownership of property – everything was government controlled.

Republicans plan an authoritarian regime, with cameras in the classrooms, ending Medicare and Social Security in five years, eliminating personal and reproductive rights, overthrowing past elections, ordering teachers not to teach about slavery and racism, eliminating voting by mail, and pardoning violent Oath Keepers who violently took over the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“The Oath Keepers and all of those militias, they remind me of the Gestapo and they remind me of the Romania National Legionnaires,” she said. “The Legionnaires would intimidate, they would spy on you, they would try and get information from your neighbors about you.” She added, “that’s what happens when you’re living under a totalitarian regime. You’re afraid of everything. “