Commentary

If their Senate bids flop Trump should hire Laxalt & Walker to sell timeshares

November 14, 2021 6:00 am

Adam Laxalt and Herschel Walker pose with one of the boss’s products. (Photo: Laxalt campaign Twitter account)

Could it have been something Laxalt said? During the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas last week, Adam Laxalt tweeted the picture above of himself with Herschel Walker, Trump’s hand-picked Republican to run for Senate in Georgia. The backdrop was the Las Vegas hotel with Trump’s name on it, befitting both candidates’ partnership with the Trump brand and all that comes with it.

“The 51st and 52nd Senator for the next GOP majority,” Laxalt proudly tweeted.

Ever since he formally announced his candidacy by issuing Nevada voters an ultimatum – send him home to his native Washington metro area as a U.S. senator, or the Galactic Empire will deploy a Death Star and obliterate the earth – Laxalt has touted himself as a top national GOP Senate recruit who Republicans are lucky to have.

Which yet again proves the old adage that often as not when a politician says something, the exact opposite is true. People tangled up in Trump were not ideal Republican Senate candidates even before Glenn Youngkin set professional GOP hearts aflutter by running a Trump-lite campaign to win the Virginia governor’s race. Laxalt was never a top Republican recruit, Republicans aren’t lucky to have him. They’re the guy they’re getting stuck with. Same goes for Walker.

The tippy top Republican recruit, the one Republicans really, really hoped would run for Senate, was neither Laxalt nor Walker, but New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. At the RJC conference in Las Vegas, Ted Cruz told everybody to pressure Sununu, also in attendance, to run for Senate. “Because this man could single handedly retire Chuck Schumer as majority leader of the Senate,” Cruz reportedly said.

Maybe all that pressuring in Las Vegas backfired. Monday morning, after returning from Las Vegas, Sununu, in a bit of a stunner, said no dice. He’ll run for another term as governor.

In remarks announcing his decision, Sununu unloaded on the Senate. “What the day to day entails, it is so different, it doesn’t fit, not just my style, but it clearly doesn’t fit the needs of the citizens,” he said.

“If we are just sitting around having meeting after meeting, waiting for votes to maybe happen. Man, I like moving, I like getting stuff done. … I think I would be like a lion in a cage waiting to get something and affect real change. It just wasn’t for me.”

Silly Sununu. Laxalt must not have pulled him aside to explain that the real point of getting elected to the U.S. Senate isn’t getting things done (unless they’re medieval), but gaining celebrity by vomiting up trending right-wing tropes on live national television. Then again, maybe Laxalt did pull him aside and explain just that, thus cementing Sununu’s decision to keep as far away from the U.S. Senate as possible.

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Psst… Laxalt still has a primary.  Adam Laxalt has a “birthright mentality,” Laxalt’s GOP primary opponent Sam Brown told the Northern Nevada TV show Nevada Newsmakers.

Gee, ya think?

“Adam has had the opportunity to run twice across this state and the fact that I’ve raised $1 million with him and all of his endorsements, it means that people clearly want something different,” Brown added.

Brown by the way had an interesting take on appearing on Fox News shows, which for a while there he seemed to be doing at least as frequently as Laxalt. Upshot: He says it’s not how he raised a million dollars: “I think even I had a misconception about what a Fox News interview would do for you…You can attribute, to a high level of confidence, just how much money that actually brings in and in general, $30,000 might be on the high end of how much money you’ll raise from a Fox interview. So I wouldn’t say that was necessarily the thing that made this happen.”

There are political consultants who don’t care about Brown or his campaign but will have very strong opinions about Brown’s million dollars, namely, how to pocket it. Preventing that from happening might be his first real test as a candidate.

Meanwhile, a serious question: Would Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto prefer to run against Laxalt or Brown? Brown is still a mostly unknown quantity, and who knows how he’ll wear on the campaign trail. But as of a year out from the general election and just knowing what we know now about the lay of the land so far, it wouldn’t be a bit surprising if Cortez Masto’s campaign would rather face Laxalt.

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Maybe bookmark it. Laxalt has become a packaged and marketed right-wing media product – a walking talking MyPillow. So it’s difficult to know whether he truly believes a grand conspiracy encompassing officials from both parties and every branch of government in multiple states robbed Trump of victory, or whether his enthusiasm for the Big Lie is all just part of his packaging and marketing.

Timing suggests the latter: Laxalt opted for radio silence on the Big Lie when it looked like Republicans might turn away from Trump after January 6, and Laxalt only publicly resumed conspiracy mongering when he launched his Senate campaign in August, by which time Trump’s grip on the party was secure.

But what Laxalt believes is irrelevant. It’s what he’s done and what he does that matters. And for a great rundown on that, you need to check out the chronology tracking Laxalt, Trumpism and the Big Lie that the Current’s April Corbin Girnus compiled.

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GOP gives new meaning to the term “lost cause.” Under the Dunmore Proclamation of 1775, a British commander in the empire’s American colonies offered freedom to slaves who escaped to British forces. The proclamation fueled multiple slave uprisings and escapes (or escape attempts). That’s why, while the words “slave” or “slavery” (let alone enslavers) is not in the Declaration of Independence, the document refers to slavery when it complains that the British had “excited domestic Insurrections amongst us.”

I haven’t been closely following the debate over whether the 1619 Project overstated slavery as a cause of the revolution. The revolution can be, and has been, attributed to a multitude of causes. Even the 1619 Project’s critics – the informed ones, anyway – acknowledge that one of those causes was slavery.

But that’s something you might not have learned in high school, or even college, especially if you are (like me) of a certain age.

Which brings us to historiography – sort of the history of history, if you will. The editor of the New York Times Magazine wherein the 1619 Project was published (they’re coming out with a book now), has written an essay which includes what I (who admittedly fell asleep in historiography courses on at least one memorable occasion back in the day) think is a good overview for the general reader of how and why the writing of U.S. history has changed over the last, oh, couple centuries.

Unfortunately of course the people who most need to read it never will.

(The above items are excerpts, some lightly massaged, others more heavily, of material published in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.)

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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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