Commentary

Laxalt makes it official, asks Nevada voters to send him home to Washington

August 18, 2021 6:00 am

Vote for him or planet earth gets it. (Laxalt campaign clip screengrab)

Occasional Fox News guest, stolen election fantasist and former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt finally and publicly announced Tuesday that he is launching a campaign for a job that will allow him to go back to where he came from.

Technically, Laxalt has filed for the Republican nomination to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. But as a practical matter, winning the election would allow Laxalt to return to the Washington, D.C. metro area from which he hails, while holding a job tailor-made for his life-long ambition of frequently vomiting up trending right-wing tropes on live national television.

Born into a beltway lobbying firm, the son of one U.S. senator and the grandson of another, Laxalt was raised in Alexandria, Virginia, where he attended appropriately tony private schools befitting a pedigreed elitist with a promising future in the political-industrial complex.

As a young man Laxalt pursued a conventional course designed to produce a campaign-ready resume: law school, the military, some minor federal posts secured by virtue of his connections.

He moved to Nevada a decade ago with the sole purpose, obvious to even casual observers, of mounting a political career that would eventually allow him to return to Washington, D.C., as a member of Congress.

Laxalt’s grandfather was a Nevada politician, Paul Laxalt, who left the U.S. Senate to become a lobbyist during Ronald Reagan’s second term, long before the majority of today’s Nevada electorate was in Nevada.

The name recognition was enough however to help propel the young Laxalt to the Republican nomination for state attorney general, his maiden campaign, in 2014. Due wholly to an improbable mix-up in which former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid forgot to tell his Nevada Democratic Party there was an election that year, Laxalt won a surprising if narrow victory.

Laxalt’s single term as attorney general was mostly uneventful, although he was once surreptitiously recorded by the chairman of the state Gaming Control Board, who harbored concerns Laxalt was attempting to inappropriately assist the attorney general’s political patron, the late Sheldon Adelson. Also somewhat notably, as attorney general Laxalt once wrote the sentence:  “Nevada’s suit mirrors Mr. Pruitt’s trailblazing lesser prairie chicken litigation.”

In 2018, the insatiably ambitious Laxalt decided to leave the attorney general’s office and run for governor of his new state.

Unlike 2014, Nevada Democrats did not forget there was an election in 2018, and Laxalt was defeated, a notable career distinction in that his candidacy marked the first time in the 21st century a Nevada Republican nominee lost the governor’s race to a Democrat.

An undeterred Laxalt forged ahead, immediately serving as figurehead of a well-funded political action committee that sponsors picnics for people who like to eat lamb testicles.

Laxalt would also become Nevada reelection campaign chairman in 2020 for the man who more than anyone else, with the possible exception of Laxalt himself, was responsible for Laxalt’s defeat in the 2018 race for governor — former star of TV commercials for brands such as Pizza Hut, the McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty Burger, and Oreo Double Stuff cookies, Donald Trump.

Following the 2020 election, Laxalt worked tirelessly to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s defeat in Nevada, but lacking any foundation in fact or truth, that enterprise collapsed under the weight of its own moral bankruptcy. 

Laxalt can, however, rightfully claim that absent his cooperation and that of like-minded Trump functionaries nationwide who perpetuated the contemptible lie that the election was stolen, attempts by insurrectionists to violently overthrow the results of Trump’s failed reelection bid and bring an end to democracy and the rule of law in the U.S. on January 6, 2021, may well not have happened.

Laxalt’s announcement Tuesday was accompanied by a video, narrated by him, in which happy children frolicing in gentle sunlight are jarringly juxtaposed with generic but malevolent culture war fear mongering. In the video’s denouement, Laxalt effectively delivers an ultimatum: Either Nevada voters send him home to Washington as a U.S. senator, or the Galactic Empire will deploy a Death Star and obliterate the earth.

Channeling dystopian visions designed to deliberately exploit and exacerbate white grievance, Laxalt’s early campaign rollout indicates his candidacy will fittingly have everything to do with national hot-button issues and manufactured outrage, and nothing whatsoever to do with real problems faced by actual Nevadans, virtually all of whom, unlike Laxalt, came to the state for reasons other than running for public office.

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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.

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