Commentary

Candidate filing starts next week. Fiore and Gilbert should skip it.

March 3, 2022 6:20 am

Michele Fiore and Joey Gilbert are both running for the Republican nomination for governor. They shouldn’t be.

Earlier this week, in a vile and yet not in the least surprising display of their own moral and social depravity, Joey Gilbert and Michele Fiore defended a fellow attention-seeking hate merchant who launched a despicable if at times incoherent pile of verbal garbage on Nevada’s governor while he was in a restaurant with his wife and one of his daughters.

In doing so, Gilbert and Fiore demonstrated no familiarity with, let alone respect for, common human decency.

Fiore and Gilbert are both running for the Republican nomination for governor. They shouldn’t be. They should be seeking behavioral help that might eventually allow them to function appropriately and acceptably as responsible adults.

Candidate filing starts next week. Filing to run for the Republican Party’s nomination for governor of Nevada is the last thing either of them should be considering.

Needless to say, Democrats sure hope they do it. Or to be more precise, that at least one of them does it. 

Candidate lanes. And ruts.

In the race for governor of Nevada, Democrats fear Metro Sheriff Joe Lombardo most. If you’re a Republican running for governor, the best lane right now is the Lombardo lane. 

(Speaking of candidates filing, when Lombardo files to run, he should also resign from Metro. Being sheriff has given him the name recognition to be a GOP frontrunner in the race for governor. But it is also an actual job with actual responsibilities that are decidedly and enormously non-partisan. He shouldn’t hold it while he’s spending all his time raising campaign money, spewing Trumpisms, and running a campaign in which he’s trying to convince the Trump base that he’s the second coming of Joe Arpaio. That’s not the guy people were voting for when they elected him sheriff.)

The other significant lane in the race, and the one that at this point appears to pose the biggest and perhaps only threat to Lombardo, is the Trump worshipers lane, currently dominated by Gilbert and Fiore.

Almost every campaign cycle there are candidates who say they are going to run for something and then decide not to file, or to file for something else. 

If Lombardo’s campaign is lucky, both Gilbert and Fiore will follow through and file for governor. If Lombardo’s campaign is luckier, both of them will raise enough money to stay in the race all the way through the June 14 primary, and spend lots of time between now and then not just trying to belittle Lombardo for being insufficiently Trumpy, but screaming at each other about who loves Trump more, splitting the Trump worshipers vote.

If Lombardo’s campaign is less lucky, either Gilbert or Fiore doesn’t file, or they both file but one of them quickly drops out or fizzles, allowing one to emerge as the clear leader of the Trump worshipers.

That last scenario is the best-case one for Sisolak’s reelection bid, and not just because a competitive primary would force Lombardo to spend money instead of hoarding it for the general election campaign. 

First, a viable threat from the Trump worshipers lane would drag Lombardo off into thick, icky Trumpy weeds during the primary, and he’d emerge with stains of Trumpism that won’t wash out for the general. That’s good for Sisolak.

Second, Lombardo could even lose the primary. That’s best for Sisolak.

Yes, there are other candidates in the race besides Lombardo, Gilbert and Fiore. They fall into two separate lanes. Or ruts:

  1. The voters don’t know them and don’t care lane. This includes individuals named Guy Nohra and Fred Simon. 
  2. The voters do know them and don’t care lane. This is Dean Heller and John Lee (though “do know” is generous in Lee’s case).

Though the second rut almost certainly leads to a dead end, it is possible, s’pose, that someone from the first rut might catch fire and take a position in the Trump worshipers lane.

But more likely, the Trumpist true believer challenge will come from either Gilbert or Fiore.

Nevada has enough problems already

Campaigns for office at every level are usually offensively dumbed down or, worse, especially in the Trump era, lied up. Under the best of circumstances, campaigns insult the intelligence of an informed voter.

Would a Sisolak-Lombardo general election campaign be any more edifying, on a policy level or in terms of real-world priorities, than a Sisolak-Gilbert or Sisolak-Fiore race? Especially if the focus of the Lombardo campaign is, as expected, a plea to vote for Joe because he’s Wyatt Fricking Earp or whatever? Probably not. Lombardo has already shown a willingness to let his handlers tie him up in anti-immigrant animosity, “election integrity” disinformation, and thoughtless promises to literally whitewash U.S. history in schools, all so as to pander to the Trump base.

And if you would prefer a Democrat, even a painfully moderate and conventional pro-business one like Sisolak, to the hate, hostility to truth, and deliberate ignorance on offer from the party of Trump, well, Fiore or Gilbert will be easier to beat than Lombardo.

But underneath their grifting and carnival barking, Gilbert and Fiore represent an ugly strain of extremism. If they had any sense or shame, they’d behave differently. But they don’t. They’re two-bit political thugs, eager to spew venom and foment loathing for the sole purpose of advancing their brands and whatever level of celebrity they enjoy, Nevada and Nevadans be damned. 

Their campaigns for governor, no matter how long they last, will disgrace Nevada while amping up the malice already poisoning a significant portion of the electorate. But their campaigns will bring visibility to Fiore and Gilbert. And maybe like their kindred spirit, the aspiring celebrity extremist who accosted Sisolak and his wife and daughter in the restaurant, Fiore and Gilbert, too, can become podcast and merchandising entrepreneurs in earnest one day.

Ideally, Gilbert and Fiore would find a way to quench their miserable thirst for attention without subjecting the rest of us to their malignant idiocy, repugnant antics, and sordid scams. But probably not. Damnit.

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