Commentary

The GOP has declared its priorities if it wins the House. The economy didn’t make the cut.

September 1, 2022 6:55 am

Even if they do ever get around to tackling inflation, it won’t be until they’re done investigating Hunter Biden. From left, Mark Robertson, Sam Peters, April Becker, and Mark Amodei. (Campaign photos)

Adam Laxalt’s lifelong grooming for greatness notwithstanding, Democrats have a good shot at holding on to the U.S. Senate in this year’s midterm elections.

Republicans are still projected to win control of the U.S. House, however. And like the very young girl in a very old commercial, Nevadans might be able to boast “and I helped!”

It takes 218 members to have a majority in the House. Democrats currently have 220. Control of the chamber could be determined by as few as a handful of competitive House races across the country.

Nevada has three of those.

Rep. Mark Amodei, currently the only Nevada Republican in Congress, will amble idly to reelection, as Republicans do in the ruby red 2nd congressional district.

The state’s other three congressional districts are all held by Democrats. And all are rated as toss ups by the people at Cook Political Report who make a living rating political races.

Cook rates 33 races total as toss-ups around the country, 25 held by Democrats and eight by Republicans. Another 26 House seats are rated as only leaning (as opposed to likely) in favor of one party or the other. So it’s possible  – big red wave, for instance – that the Nevada results, whatever they are, won’t make any meaningful difference to control of the House.

Then again, it’s also possible Nevada’s results could not only help but even – gasp! – be decisive in which party controls the House, especially after the redistricting gambit by Democrats in the state Legislature to shore up the party’s chances in two Democratically held seats while relinquishing advantage in another, thus rendering all three of them, well, toss-ups.

So now is not the time for Nevada voters to ignore that old axiom: Elections have consequences.

This isn’t about the individuals seeking office (another time, perhaps). Mark Robertson, April Becker, and Sam Peters, the Republicans challenging Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, respectively, are, as Republican candidates go, standard 2022 models. If elected, they can all be expected to vote in lock-step with their party’s bold anti-democracy, anti-law, anti-woman, anti-planet, anti-history, anti-science, anti-free speech, anti-minority, anti-modernity – i.e., pro-Trump – agenda.

If they do win their races and find themselves in a Republican majority, a Democrat will still be in the White House. So the congressional Republican wish list of measures to restrict or ban abortion nationwide, get more guns on the streets, make people wait until they’re older before they can get Social Security, pretend the climate crisis doesn’t exist, repeal recently enacted prescription drug reforms designed to lower costs, and end birthright citizenship would all be be vetoed by the president and not become law. At least not until after the 2024 election (assuming there is one).

Republican-driven performative gridlock would stand in stark contrast to the number of legislative achievements, many of them bipartisan, that Biden and the Democrats have racked up, including just this summer.

A Republican House would also be incapable of getting a plan to fight inflation enacted and implemented – not because a Democratic president would veto it but because, as even the editors of the prominent right-wing publication National Review acknowledged this week, Republicans don’t have one. The only position Republicans have taken on inflation policy if they take power in 2023 is that they hope voters blame it on Democrats in 2022.

But there are some things that a Republican-controlled House could do. Job one, according to a story reported in the Hill this week: Impeach Biden.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Co. would never get a conviction in the Senate (even if Republicans win control of it). But rest assured the impeachment proceedings themselves would be every bit as noisy as they would be daft. It’s less clear, however,  how  the spectacle would, oh, provide people relief from skyrocketing rents. Just as an example.

In fairness, while Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate have failed to present anything approaching a credible diagnosis of the economy, let alone a prescription for it, prominent House Republicans have outlined other concrete initiatives they promise to launch once their party controls the House.

Those tippy top urgent priorities include … an investigation of Hunter Biden. Because seriously when paying for groceries or gas or the rent or anything else, who among us isn’t thinking everything would be better if not for diabolical criminal mastermind Hunter Biden?

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who Donald Trump may allow to be Speaker of the House if Republicans win, has been clear about what McCarthy feels should be the first and foremost task of a Republican controlled House. McCarthy immediately reacted to the FBI serving a search warrant at Trump’s Big N’ Tasty McGolf Course on August 8 by warning U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to “clear your calendar.” 

Echoing the language decreed by his lord and master Trump earlier that evening, McCarthy said the Department of Justice “has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.” Once Republicans “take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department,” McCarthy added.

Well that should bring down the price of gas.

So if Robertson, Becker and Peterson – oops and almost forgot, Amodei too – do indeed help make the House Republican again, they’ll have to make some hard decisions about how best to serve the Nevadans who live and work in their congressional districts: Focus on impeachment and investigating Hunter Biden? Or focus on doing whatever they can to erode their constituents’ individual human rights and well-being while at the same time defending Trump for recklessly taking sensitive top secret materials to his house and then lying about it?

On second thought, it’s probably not an either/or. They’ll do it all.

And two varieties of Nevadans – the type who voted for a Republican House candidate, and the type who didn’t vote at all – will be able to say “and I helped!”

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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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