Nevada normalizes its fake electors

October 12, 2023 8:35 am

Nevada fake elector Jim DeGraffenried giving a presentation on the banality of normalization.

Nevada’s fake electors were indispensable to Donald Trump’s plot to steal the 2020 presidential election and the accompanying assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. And so for a minute there earlier this year, it looked like Nevada might make it a punishable offense to be a fake elector.

Instead, the Nevada Secretary of State’s office asked one to make a presentation to its Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy last month.

It was a bizarre turn of events, since both participatory democracy and the constitutional authority of the Secretary of State’s office were what Nevada’s fake electors were trying to overthrow when they signed bogus electoral college certificates and sent them to Congress.

Since winning the office by defeating an election denier last year, Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar has participated in several appearances with secretaries of state from other states, including Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, and Georgia. At each of those gatherings, the common refrain was relief at defeating election deniers. 

At one of those events, Aguilar said of his 2022 opponent, Jim Marchant, “He was out there peddling lies and misinformation to voters across the state and also across America, which was scary…What he was doing was detrimental to the future of our country.”

The election denying actions of Nevada’s fake electors are at least as if not more “scary” and “detrimental to the future of our country.” Especially with Trump steamrolling to the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Just because the Nevada Republican Party seeks to legitimize one of its fake electors, Jim DeGraffenried, by naming him Nevada’s National Republican Committeeman, does that mean the state of Nevada has to legitimize him as well by having him give a presentation during a state-sponsored forum on participatory democracy?

Hoping they’ll be good?

The SOS office invited both major parties to make presentations to the advisory committee, which was established by state statute along with the bill replacing Nevada’s presidential caucuses with presidential preference primaries. 

The invitations specified that presentations had to be made either by the state party chairs – for the Republicans, that’d be fake elector Michael McDonald – “or a designated member of your party’s executive board.” McDonald sent his literal partner in crime, DeGraffenried, who as national party committeeman, met the criteria.

The specific issue party representatives were invited to address in their presentations was “voter education in advance of the 2024 Presidential Preference Primary.”

The Nevada State Republican Party hates the primary, sued to try to kill it, and is officially boycotting it.

Instead, it’s holding a ludicrous caucus that everyone everywhere knows is rigged in favor of the man for whom McDonald and DeGraffenried violated state law in an effort to install as president: Election Denier in Chief Donald J. Trump.

And that’s all that DeGraffenried’s presentation was about: Pretending his party’s cacamamey caucus is serious.

The caucus is a private sector affair, run by the state party. The SOS office has nothing whatsoever to do with it. So why bother to hear a presentation from a fake elector, as if that’s a normal thing to do? Upon learning DeGraffenried was only going to talk about his party’s rigged caucus instead of the committee’s statutory intent – voter education for the primaries – why not rescind the invitation?

The simplest answer is that under the SOS office’s reading of state law, if they invited a rep from one major party to the advisory committee meeting, they had to invite a rep from the other, even if the other is known chiefly for its fierce hostility to facts, truth, and the rule of law. 

Disinviting Republicans because they had no intention of addressing the presidential primary might give them an opportunity to cast the Nevada Secretary of State’s office as part of the George Soros-dictated deep state or whatever. Republicans might even use the example during the general election as part of its effort to discredit Nevada’s election results. Again.

It’s perhaps a not unreasonable concern.

On the other hand, McDonald and the Nevada State Republican Party are going to try to discredit Nevada’s elections anyway. They do that routinely, and have been for years.

Nevada’s totally normal fake electors

There are other possible explanations for a state office giving DeGraffenried a forum as well, having to do with the confusion over the Republican caucus and the Republican primary, and the tension between the Republican Party and the state over the whole thing. But for those explanations to matter, either the primary or the caucus, or both, would also have to matter, which they almost assuredly won’t.

But the underlying reason a fake elector was invited to give a presentation to a state committee on, of all things, “participatory democracy,” is the least savory explanation of all: Nevada has grown comfortable normalizing election deniers.

Fake elector Michael McDonald posted this photo of himself chumming with Joe Lombardo after Lombardo won his primary last year.

Gov. Joe Lombardo endorsed one, fake elector Jesse Law, when Law sought and won re-election to chair the Clark County Republican Party. Lombardo has posed for photos with McDonald.

Lombardo of course campaigned with – and folded for – Trump while running for governor. And Lombardo has said he’ll support Trump if Trump is the nominee.

Lombardo has not denied the 2020 presidential election results and has strived carefully to avoid being labled an election denier.

He’s just election-denier adjacent. 

Combine that squishiness with the office he holds, and Lombardo has done more than any single Nevadan to normalize Trump, election denialism, and fake electors.

Aguilar seems an innocent bystander by comparison.

But that assumes such a thing exists in the Trump era.

Asked about all this, Aguilar’s office sent a statement saying administering the state’s first presidential primaries “will require unprecedented effort from this Office on voter education and outreach, which the Secretary and his team are already involved in. This will include actively and vocally combatting active mis- and dis-information.”

Aguilar also made a statement when DeGraffenried finished his presentation to the Secretary of State Advisory Committee on Political Participation:

“I just want to thank everybody for coming today, and educate us on what this looks like in the presidential preference primary with the Democrats and the caucus with the Republicans. I found it very informative and appreciate their time. So thank you.”

Thanking participants is exactly the harmless, courteous sort of thing an elected official would be expected to do after presentations at a meeting.

Totally normal.

DeGraffenried, McDonald, Law, and their fellow fake electors Duward James Hindle, Shawn Meehan, and Eileen Rice deserve a lot of things. Normalization isn’t one of them.

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