You may recall back in May one of Donald Trump’s daily dozens of hissy fits was directed at Nevada’s mail-in voting system. In that instance, Trump threatened to withhold federal funds.
State of Nevada “thinks” that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, “I think” I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections. @RussVought45 @USTreasury
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
There is nothing about Trump’s career, personal life, or performance as president indicating he cares if something is illegal or someone is cheating. Especially if the someone is him. That’s not what his tweet was about.
His main shtick these days is trying to discredit the election results in advance. And you can’t blame him. Telling lie after lie to undermine democracy, while a bit intense, is probably a lot easier than confronting the multiple real horrors and chaos making people miserable these days.
This week Nevada was yet again the featured subject of a Trump Twitter tantrum, because the Legislature over the weekend passed a law to make sure voters are mailed ballots for the general election.
“In an illegal late night coup,” Trump tweeted, “Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
Yes, an impressive word salad of nonsense, errors and threats. Let’s examine it more closely.
The all-hours, little-notice, slapdash process that has characterized the Nevada Legislature’s ongoing special session is far from a model of transparent deliberation and public participation. But it’s not “illegal.”
Nor is it a “coup” — the people who introduced and passed the law to expand mail-it-in voting are already in power.
The phrase “clubhouse Governor” is presumably a play on some golf course reference, which one could no doubt confirm fairly easily, assuming one gave a damn.
The U.S. Postal Service handled Nevada’s near-record mostly vote-by-mail primary with nary a hitch. Destroying the Postal Service has long been a goal of Republicans. By requiring the agency to prefund health benefits for its retirees for the next 75 years — a bizarre requirement virtually unheard of in any other public or private operation — Republicans have done their best to force the agency’s insolvency.
Trump has some personal problems (no, really!) with the Postal Service, but he also clearly thinks undermining and discrediting it is a good way to undermine and discredit voting by mail, and hence, the 2020 election. A Trump flunky has been put in charge of the agency, and he’s already been accused of trying to deliberately slow down mail delivery. If the Postal Service fails, it’ll be failed on purpose, because Trump wants it to.
Trump ends his tweet by threatening Nevada: “See you in court!” He must mean it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have used an exclamation point.
As a commercial developer and brand marketer, Trump had a pretty good record in court of, if not winning, at least outspending people the deadbeat owed money to. As an occupant of the White House, his record in the courts is really pretty lame. But if he loses not just the election but also the electoral college, he’ll do whatever he can to stay in office anyway, including taking Nevada or any state, animal, vegetable or mineral to court if it will help serve the highest priority and most important goal of Trump’s entire life thus far, the mission he was born and bred for: ending democracy.
Nevada isn’t much of a swing state anymore. Trump’s tweet contains the word “Nevada.” But his assault on democracy isn’t really about us. It’s about him (isn’t everything?), along with his perpetually aggrieved and, when it comes to things Trump says, infinitely gullible base nationwide. Nevada’s vote-by-mail bill was just a hook for Trump to hang a tweet on.
But there was one part where Trump did get to the heart of contemporary Nevada politics, albeit mistakenly.
Nevada’s new election law, Trump said, has “made it impossible for Republicans to win the state.”
That’s on Trump.
And he’s been zealously assisted in making Nevada unwinnable for the GOP by career ideologue Adam Laxalt and what passes these days for a Nevada Republican Party. Both are political anomalies who appear to be in a friendly contest to see who can suck up to Trump the hardest, no matter what the cost, or the pain, to the people of Nevada.
The organizers, volunteers, campaign staffers and others involved in 2018’s victorious Nevada campaigns put in a lot of hard work and long hours. But the reason Dean Heller, Adam Laxalt, that one guy whose dad was a basketball coach and nearly every other Nevada Republican in a competitive race got clobbered in 2018 was plainly and simply Trump. Nobody drives Democrats to the polls — or the mailbox, as the case may be — like Trump.
If Trump’s dream for democracy in America — to choke hold it to death — fails, Laxalt (who exudes flash in the pan), and the grifters and charlatans who run the state Republican Party will scramble to distance themselves from Trump and Trumpism. They’ll try to shake the Etch A Sketch, and rebrand.
Will it work? Will they survive their electoral self-immolation? Because they don’t deserve to.