Area right-wingers endanger public health, as directed, for love of Trump

Rally Las Vegas Trump Covid
Las Vegas demonstrators in Las Vegas, April 17.(Screenshot from video posted on Twitter by Nevada Republican congressional candidate Dan Rodimer)

Hundreds of your fellow Nevadans joined thousands of their right-wing kindred spirits nationwide Saturday to breathe on each other so they can spend the next 14 days or so going around breathing on everyone else.

Why do this dangerous and rude thing? Other than they thought it would make liberals mad? 

Ostensibly, because they want to “Reopen Nevada.” 

The real reason they did it, of course, was because Donald Trump and multiple ultra-partisan right-wing organizations told them to.

Trump Friday, in defiance of his own reluctantly and belatedly issued social distancing guidance, fired off “LIBERATE” tweets aimed at the swing states of Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. 

All of you who have always wondered how an excruciatingly self-centered game show host would lead the nation as president during a pandemic, well, now you know.

If we had to have a game show host as president, why couldn’t it have been Gene Rayburn?

Anyway, sort of a bummer for our hapless Nevada rugged individualists who are eager to jeopardize the health of themselves, their families, their friends, their neighbors, and their communities so as to show support for Trump. He couldn’t even be bothered to give them a measly “LIBERATE” tweet all their own. 


At least Nevadans attending the Trump campaign rallies, which is what they were, do enjoy plenty of sympathetic support from Nevada officials.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler drove from his rural heartland community of Minden all the way, which is to say perhaps as much as 15 miles, to Carson City. Wheeler is most famous for once saying that he would vote to reestablish slavery in the United States if his constituents wanted him to. Saturday he must have been convinced his constituents wanted him to go up the road and get the corona and bring it back to them, so he did his best to oblige.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who thinks aggressive social distancing measures that appear to be working in slowing the spread of the virus are “total insanity,” inexplicably refrained from rallying with her like-minded Southern Nevadans at the Las Vegas Trump campaign rally (which is what it was). But by recklessly condemning those measures earlier in the week like a common Fox News host, the mayor had already provided ample moral support for Nevada’s movement to Make Covid Great Again.

Speaking of total insanity, the U.S. has been administering about 150,000 tests a day, on a good day. For the economy to begin to safely reopen, it is estimated we should be performing a bare minimum of 500,000 tests a day.

To restore public confidence to a point where tens of thousands of Americans agree to get on airplanes with each other to attend conventions and/or take pleasure trips — in other words, to truly reopen Nevada’s economy — the U.S. will need to test millions — plural — of people each day. Perhaps no place in the U.S. will be harder and take longer to “reopen” than Nevada, where about 75 percent of the population live and work in one tourist reliant metropolitan area. Perhaps no single state’s economic future is more dependent on widely available nationwide testing than Nevada’s.

It is generally frowned upon in polite commentariat circles to resort to hackneyed what-if-ism, but screw it here goes. If testing in the U.S. was such an uncoordinated flop and a Democrat were president, the same Nevadans who attended Saturday’s Trump campaign rallies (which is what they were) would be screaming bloody murder and demanding the Democratic president’s resignation. Does anyone anywhere doubt that? Because to do so would be an act of, as Mayor McCheese might say, “total insanity.”

In the meantime, by embracing the latest example of Trump’s default move — deliberate division — and by demanding a rushed, science-free opening of the economy, Nevadans at the “protests” Saturday were doing everything they possibly could to make sure Nevada’s economy revives in earnest later rather than sooner.

Oh by the way, many, maybe most, or all, the revelers at Saturday’s Trump campaign rallies (which is what they were) in Nevada want to recall Gov. Steve Sisolak. They say he is a “dictator,” because … why? Because he issued a directive shutting down “nonessential” businesses, just like virtually every governor, of both parties, in the nation, and after some of the largest resort corporations in Las Vegas had already announced they were shutting down? Or because, again, like virtually every other governor in the nation, he is trying to make a plan to emerge from our current condition, based on science, and with effectively zero productive coordination or input or help from the game show host?

No. They are shaking their fists at the clouds, vilifying Sisolak and demanding his ouster, because he has committed what to them is that most unforgivable of sins: He’s a Democrat.

After all, they were at a Trump campaign event.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.