Congratulations, Nevada GOP ‘leaders.’ It’s folks like you who built this.

January 7, 2021 8:08 am
nice work everyone

The United States on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Adam Laxalt and the Nevada Republican Party may have failed in their multiple scatter-brained evidence-free efforts to make Donald Trump the winner of the presidential election in Nevada even though he lost it.

But Laxalt, like professional political Republicans in Nevada and around the nation, can at least claim credit for a violent mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

After all, they helped make it possible.

Republican “leaders” willingly abandoned principle and decency, aggressively disregarded facts and truth, and despite his serial lying and treachery and racism and incompetence and criminality, put whatever Trump wanted ahead of the public good. 

They echoed his lies, covered for his crimes, and/or sat silently while Trump spent four years literally misleading millions of people into a hellscape of delusion, fear, and hate.

And it was worth it! 

Sure, a feral mob physically attacked Congress in the hope of crushing democracy and imposing fascism, at the request of the president of the United States.

But come on, how about those tax cuts? 

And the judges!

Besides, snuggling up to a wholesale suspension of disbelief and pretending Trump was in any way fit for any public office, at any level, seemed like good politics at the time.

Or as former Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller told Trump during a 2018 campaign rally, “I think everything you touch turns to gold.”

That tender moment was perhaps the climax of Heller’s unconditional devotion to Trump and Trumpism, which had begun taking root in earnest early in Trump’s term when Heller laughed like an idiot while Trump humiliated him on national television during a meeting on health care.

Laxalt, Trump’s Nevada campaign chair in 2020, was actually a Nevada attorney general once. But most people have probably forgotten that, since his single, mostly unnotable term in public office has been eclipsed by his blind worship of Trump and eager acceptance of Trump’s lies, often demonstrated with an accompanying display of incompetent lawyering.

As the culmination of Republican negligence and recklessness was wreaking havoc in the  halls of Congress and trying to end democracy Wednesday, smatterings of Nevadans were chanting “stop the steal” in Las Vegas and Carson City.

Annie Black, a Republican Nevada Assemblywoman, was evidently in Washington with the mob. Interviewed by a Nevada talk radio station, Black echoed the conspiracy theory, presumably accepted as fact by Trump’s base by now, that her fellow would-be election thieves would not have stormed into the Capitol if they hadn’t been egged on by … Antifa!

Trump’s nightmare of a presidency could end today if Pence and the cabinet would do their jobs and invoke the 25th Amendment. Assuming that doesn’t happen, Trump’s presidency will end on Jan. 20.

But we’ll still have Trump’s base. And now Nevada Republican officials and wannabes have to decide what to do with it. They’ll want to thread a needle, somehow appealing to Trump voters while not freaking out normal people.

Democrats have a needle of their own to thread. For the good of the country, they’ll want Republican politicians to reject Trump’s base. But Democrats don’t want to let voters forget all that stunning GOP complicity.

Republican politicians have already begun trying to distance themselves from the most bat guano parts of Trump and Trumpism, as evidenced by Mitch McConnell’s condemnation of Trump’s election conspiracy theories.

Rep. Mark Amodei, Trump’s campaign chair in Nevada in 2016 and a reliable Trump enabler for the last four years, has openly mulled running for governor in Nevada. Yesterday Amodei described the mob’s invasion of the Capitol as “shameful.”

In fact, Republicans may try to treat Trump as if he was the Iraq War.

In the run-up to that catastrophic blunder, you’ll recall, Republicans were pumping their fists and the veins on their foreheads were bulging and they were all “let’s kick their ass and steal their gas” and whipped up into a frenzy of support for invading Iraq. 

Now it’s hard to find any Republicans who want to talk about it.

They’ve been able to get away with that, because Democrats like Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and the current President-elect of the United States also would rather not bring it up, their vote for the war being the most cynical and reprehensible act of their political lives.

Democrats will have no similar compunction about raising the specter of the tragic era of U.S. history from which we are now emerging, i.e, the fiasco and farce that has been the Trump “administration.”

Inconceivable as it may seem now, Laxalt and his sidekick state GOP party chairman Michael McDonald – neither of whom have been muttering much about election “fraud” lately — may already be trying to put distance between themselves and Trump.

Watch for Heller, Amodei and other ambitious Nevada Republicans to be doing a lot of that.

Don’t let them. They helped make this hot mess. It’s theirs. They own it.

Correction: This column originally had Assemblywoman Annie Black’s first name wrong.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

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.