Category Archives: Nevada Democrats

Don’t Hope

Not that hope isn’t the antithesis of despair — it’s just that in the age of Trumpery hope isn’t the answer to any important questions.  Back in the day, before utter incompetence combined with bestial cruelty and flagrant corruption created the current administration it was possible to write daily blog posts on economic, political, and social topics with some semblance of erudition and explication.  No more.

Trumpian economics is devoid of any understanding indicating a grasp of macro-economics, much less micro.  Where once I might have delved into a bit of Econ 101 or 102 to posit the implications of a Bush or Obama policy position, I’m now having to think in terms of a president who flat out doesn’t understand trade policy. Period. Full stop.

Trumpian politics is strictly tribal and alarmingly focused on a narrow portion of the electorate.  There’s no middle positioning, merely my way or the highway polarized thought; ideology masquerading as political theory.  There’s precious little to write about here since nuance left the building and compromise positions are abhorrent to the tribal leadership.

Trumpian social policy is blatantly racist.  Not sure of this?  There’s more than Charlottesville to contemplate.  There is the “Muslim ban,” Was anyone ever in any  doubt about the intent of that Trumpian policy announcement?  Was anyone ever in any doubt about the mis-administration’s position on Black Lives Matter?  Has not the Oval Office Occupant made it abundantly clear he intends to use NFL player protests to stir the racism pot? To play the race card?  When the news cycle incorporates too much “bad press” has not the Oval Office Occupant decided to tweet or to speak about “those” “unAmerican” people of color who “denigrate the flag?”  That act has shown up center stage all too often to be a coincidence.

Who else would advocate, much less implement, a policy including separating children, some under the age of 6, from their parents at our borders? Who calls for those children to be kept in “detention” facilities?  Who would have these children taken for an indefinite period while records relating to their parents’ identities are lost or destroyed?  Who would have assumed that the nation wouldn’t care that this was happening in our midst?  Who would think for a moment that this was an appropriate deterrent for those seeking asylum in our country?  Only the most virulent racist.  Only someone capable of thinking we don’t want “thugs” coming into the United States from “Sh*thole Countries.”

Is anyone in any doubt whatsoever about the mis-administration’s attitude toward human rights?  Civil rights?  Take a quick look at what the mis-administration has done to the Department of Justice — and not only concerning the continual assault on the Attorney General and the Mueller investigation, but on the enforcement of civil rights legislation; on the enforcement of voting rights; on the enforcement of workers’ rights.  The assault has been wide, deep, and truly disturbing.

This is an administration headed by an amoral man of whom his cult followers are willing to say he’s on a “spiritual journey,” aligned with their notions of what constitutes godliness, which of course is anti-gay, anti-Muslim, deeply sexist, malignantly misogynistic.  The assaulter in chief becomes the arbiter in chief of what defines sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and rape.

What posts would a person have to write to counter the racism, religious intolerance, bigotry, and misogyny of this mis-administration?

Yes, the antidote to despair is hope, but at this point hope is not enough.

We can’t hope that our fellow citizens will go to their polling places in the upcoming mid-term elections in sufficient numbers to oust the purveyors of protectionism, racism, and tribal politics.  We have to register. Check our registration (sad to have to say this in the age of Trumpian politics), and help others register, and to assist them in check on their registration.  This election may not hinge on “likely” voters; it may well be decided by “unlikely voters.”

In the latest Nevada primary election there were 1.439,953 active voters, and 329,863 vote cast statewide [SOS pdf] 146,677 Democrats cast ballots, 143,645 Republicans did likewise.  In the last general election 1,464,819 were eligible to vote in Nevada; 76.83% of our active voters cast ballots.  [SOS pdf]  451,825 Democrats voted; 404,047 Republicans voted; and, 269,556 “others” cast votes. In the 2014 mid-term election 45.56% of our active voters cast ballots. [SOS pdf].  Stemming the tide of racism, protectionism, economic illiteracy, and misogyny is going to take much more than just hoping Nevada’s voting participation rate exceeds the last mid-term election and looks more like the last general election.  It’s going to take walking precincts. Manning phone banks. Talking to neighbors. Registering new voters. Taking voters to the polls.  All of the above and more.

We can’t hope our March for Our Lives youngsters can register more young voters; we have to encourage them to do so, assist their efforts, help man their tables, help them explain that registering to vote doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to get a jury summons, and providing them with accurate information on when and where to cast their votes.

We can’t hope that our labor unions can energize their members to register voters, staff phone banks, walk precincts, and handout campaign literature. We have to support their efforts.  Do they need some volunteers on the phones? People to walk the precincts? More friends to drive cars, donate clipboards, provide bottled water?  Every little bit helps.

We can’t hope that public interest groups will provide the spark to increase voter turnout.  As in the case of the young people and the union members, where, when, and how can members of the public assist?  Twitter provides one link, nearly every group announces its activities. Follow. Read. Act. Social media has been misused by those seeking to interfere in our electoral system, but it is also a source of valid information about organizations willing and able to get out the vote.  We can do our homework.  Discern which are sheep and which have wolves beneath, and ACT accordingly.  Once more, this election outcome may be determined, not by those who are regularly counted among the electorate — but by those who sign up, and show up.

We can’t hope that people will be “inspired” by charismatic candidates.  Those candidates are few and far between.  Perhaps a candidate isn’t a bright shining flash of brilliance in the political skies…fine.  People need to know that a solid (perhaps even a bit stolid) candidate who earns polite applause for common sense policy positions is to be preferred over the platitude pounding generalization generator advanced by the opposition.  This will take work.

We can’t hope that candidates will counter campaign commercials from the opposition, we have to make the contributions which will keep them on the air.  Is $10 too little?  It’s ten more than the candidate had before the check book was opened up yesterday.  We can’t hope that someone else makes a big donation to make up for a possible paucity of smaller ones.   A note here:  Small contributions are an unscientific but interesting way to predict votes.  People do tend to vote in line with their billfolds.  The gazillionaire doesn’t have any more votes than the couple who send it a $35 donation, and the couple has two votes.

In short: We can’t hope.  We’re going to have to ACT.


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Filed under Nevada Democrats, Nevada politics, Politics

After the Balloons

DNC 2016 balloonsThe balloons dropped, the convention crews are clearing venue, and the real work begins.  On the positive side of the ledger, the Democrats reclaimed God, the Flag, and the ‘sunny patriotism’ of the Reagan afterglow. [JPP] Now the 100 days tick down to the final result on November 8, 2016.  There’s plenty of work for everyone, and pitfalls aplenty.

Pitfall warning sign small

The Republicans have been working diligently to suppress the votes of precisely those citizens who are likely to cast ballots for Democratic candidates.  We need to pay close attention to what the Brennan Center is saying about voting rights in America:

“The 2016 election season is already in full swing. As voters in a number of states face new restrictions for the first time in a presidential election, we’ve already seen problems in primaries across the country.  A new photo ID requirement led to long lines in Wisconsin. A reduction in polling places forced some to wait five hours to vote in Arizona. New rules created confusion in North Carolina. This could be an early glimpse of problems in November — as voters face the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which was designed to prevent discrimination in voting.”

Let’s not kid ourselves about what will be going on in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, and other states in which Republicans have implemented creative ways to suppress the votes of the elderly, the young, the members of ethnic minorities, and women.   Repeating for emphasis: “…voters face the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which was designed to prevent discrimination in voting.”

“Aside from new restrictions considered in 2016, there are 17 states with voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election this year. The new measures range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions.

Those 17 states (with new laws) are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.” [Brennan]

What this means is voting registration drive efforts must be supported and enhanced in every way the laws allow. That voters must be attentive to efforts to suppress the vote by closing polling places in minority neighborhoods.  That voters must demand sufficient hours for voting, sufficient polling stations for elections, sufficient staffing for elections.  If you don’t know what these are –ask! Ask, and share the information any way you can, to any one you can.  Voter registration information for Nevada is located here.  Eligible voters in Nevada can update their information online.  The list of voting registrars and county clerks and their contact information is located here.

Register, check the status of your registration, (any name change? change of address?) help someone else register to vote.  Given the efforts at voter suppression in this election cycle it may not be enough to simply show up to vote, especially in those 17 states listed above, it may require a little extra effort, more volunteers, and more resources.  Support the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, Voto Latino, and other groups in the community who work to expand the electorate. 

Take hope – the North Carolina voting discrimination law has been declared discriminatory by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a major win for voting rights.  The anti-voting law in Texas was struck down by the usually very conservative 5th Circuit Court.  There’s hope, but it’s still going to take some extra effort.

Pitfall warning sign small

Don’t expect the top of the ticket to be the end and be all. As Democrats learned to their sorrow in the last mid-term elections (and in too many mid-term elections previously) that state and local elections matter.  Nevada has an excellent candidate for the U.S. Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto, who wants to overturn Citizens United, protect Medicare and Social Security, Raise the minimum wage, and enact comprehensive immigration policy reform.

There’s a credible candidate in Nevada’s heavily Republican Congressional District 2, Chip Evans.  Evans’ tells us: “Growth comes from reinvesting in our middle class. We must modernize our infrastructure to remain competitive, repeal laws providing tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas, and leverage public/private partnerships to train workers while rebuilding our manufacturing base.”

There’s a really stark contrast in Nevada’s Congressional District 4: Ruben Kihuen versus the ever-inarticulate, gaffe-o-matic, Bundy sympathizer, Cresent Hardy.  In case anyone’s unsure about Hardy’s ethno-nationalist perspective, remember he’s the one who won’t debate Kihuen on a local Spanish language broadcast. No, Cresent, no one is asking you to speak Spanish – bless his heart he has enough trouble with English.

There are State Senate and State Assembly seats up for election, there are county commissioners, and school board, and other local elections in this election.  And, please remember that for many candidates the local elections are often the incubators for future candidates for statewide and national elections.  No national leader, executive or legislative, can do it alone. There must be a support system at the state and local level.

Call, register, volunteer, or as Secretary Clinton reminded us, be a good ‘Methodist,’

Wesley Quote

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Filed under Nevada Democrats, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans, Vote Suppression, Voting

FYI: Five months of active voter registration in Nevada

Nevada Statewide Active Voters 2016

Stats from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office for January – May 2016, active voters in Nevada. Yours to play with at will.

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Kirner’s Folly

Kirner 2

Assemblyman Randy Kirner (R-NV26) is about to secure his position as the poster boy for ALEC in this session of the Assembled Wisdom.  From the ever informative LTN:

“As we discussed yesterday, the Nevada Legislature has devolved into chaos and treachery… Yet again. This time, Assembly Member Randy Kirner (R-Reno) is threatening to kill SB 353, the sexual orientation conversion therapy ban, and possibly additional bills that have nothing to do with union issues, because he’s upset his ALEC bills to blow up unions and hand public servants’ retirement savings (PERS) to Wall Street aren’t moving. Oh, yes. That’s right. He’s going there!

But wait, there’s more. Now that Kirner is hinting that he’s a possible swing vote for the Nevada Revenue Plan, Governor Brian Sandoval’s (R) preferred revenue raising tax reform package, there’s real fear that Kirner is trying to abuse this tense situation to extract some sort of PERS deform (in addition to the bipartisan deal already reached on SB 406).”

Follow The Money

And, why not?  A quick look at the funding behind Assemblyman Kirner’s campaign shows the predominance of right wing money flowing into Kirner’s campaign coffers.  That “Students First” item on the donor list should be a big clue.   “Students First” is Michelle Ree’s anti-union outfit, which was caught working with ALEC in Connecticut to promote the ALEC agenda in 2012.  [BProg]  This year the organization was caught in New Mexico trying to coordinate an anti-union and anti public school campaign using social media and bloggers to promote “educational reform.” [Ravitch]

Kirner’s positions on “reforming” Nevada PERS are straight out of the ALEC playbook. (pdf)  If we’d like a preview of what ALEC and the Koch financed State Policy Network have in mind – handing over public employee retirement funds to the players in the Wall Street Casino – look at Kansas. [Politicususa]

Kirner was also the beneficiary of the Retail Association of Nevada, $5,500 in donations.  Interestingly enough, RAN is a first cousin of the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs; RAN’s CEO is Mary Lau, who is also listed as the treasurer of CPNJ for 2013.  In August 2013 RAN was pleased to insert a tip of the hat to the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs for its opposition to the “teacher tax” initiative. (pdf)

The District

Assembly 26 Assemblyman Kirner’s notion that he can blow up this session of the Legislature in search of satisfaction on right wing issues may reflect the district – the 26th is almost exclusively white (86%) and 46% Republican. Most residents live in owner occupied housing, and most are between the ages of 18 and 59. [LegNV pdf] [More: Statistical Atlas]   Kirner ran unopposed in the last election, getting 50.03% of the total vote. [SSE]


Given the last election results, even considering his close primary, is Assemblyman Kirner functioning as if he were in a safe seat?  Or, given the close primary is he sliding to the radical end of the right wing spectrum because of opposition which emphasized “no new taxes,” “school choice,” and “it’s not government’s job to create jobs?” [Krasner] Little wonder the primary was close given the ideological proximity of the two Republican candidates.

Can Democrats in Assembly District 26 move the needle?  There are 12,077 registered active voting Democrats in AD 25 out of 41,198 total. There are 18,763 registered active Republican voters in the district. There are 1,881 registered members of the Independent American Party, and another 445 registered Libertarians. 7,421 are non-partisan registered voters.  [NVSoS] There are 64,703 residents of the District.  Approximately 63.7% of the residents of the District are active, registered, voters.  First, it’s hard to move the needle without a race, and there is an obvious need for candidate recruitment in AD 26. Secondly, given the 81% turnout in 2012 compared to the 45.55% turnout in Washoe County in 2014, could Democrats “move the needle” if there were a candidate for the Assembly seat in a presidential election year campaign?

In the meantime, we’re treated to what can happen with a “safe seat” ideologically driven incumbent with funding and support from corporate interests and conservative allies – pro gun, anti-union, and anti-gay issues become the basis for retail politics in the District.  Waving these banners shouldn’t be allowed to obscure real issues facing real people in the Silver State.

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Filed under 2012 election, Nevada Democrats, Nevada politics, Politics

Nevada CD 3: Bilbray Targeted by Koch Brothers, Hobby Lobby

KochtopusOld news, Erin Bilbray is running for the Nevada Congressional District 3 seat, incumbent Representative Joe Heck. New news, she’s already the target of the Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC [Ralston] — and what a lovely group of donors they have.

During the 2011-2012 cycle 98 donors made contributions of more than $200,000. Right there up at the top is none other than our very own Sheldon Adelson, with a hefty $2.5 million donation. Las Vegas Sands kicked in another $2.5 million, Perry Homes tossed in an additional $1 million,  Schweitzer Engineering Labs contributed $300,000.  Schweitzer is in the power distribution protection, automation, and control business.

The American Action Network, founded by former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, and a 501 (4)c outfit, donated the interesting sum of $257,813.   Other recognizable names — Trump Organization, Reyes Holdings (major food service wholesaler), Abbott Laboratories, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Borden Dairies, White Castle System, and not to be missed —  Koch Industries and Hobby Lobby.  [OS]

Now the Kochtopus extends its tentacles into Nevada politics.

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I suppose we can assume Nevada, though Battle Born, is no longer a battle ground — when the GOP vice presidential candidate, who has been bravely seeking votes in Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia, [AJC] is scheduled to drop into the Silver State [LVSun] it must be official.  [RGJ]

Meanwhile Real Clear Politics ranks the senatorial contest as a toss up, but with Senator By Appointment Only™ Dean Heller leading Representative Shelley Berkley (D-N1) by 3.5%.

The Nevada Democratic Party has a timely reminder: “The time is now…call 323-8683 or 870-1512 or go to NOW to sign up to volunteer for the final GOTV push this weekend, Monday, and/or Election Day Tuesday.”

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) commented on the October jobs report, and the importance of this election:
Americans cannot afford the Republican plan that takes us back to the failed policies that crippled our economy in the first place – unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy, unregulated Wall Street, and unpaid-for spending. Yet, for the past two years in the majority, House Republicans – joined by Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan – have offered a repeat of this same agenda, threatening middle class security and our economic growth. Americans deserve better.”

Need information about polling places? Click HERE.  Or, for Washoe County click here.   Clark County click here.


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Filed under 2012 election, Berkley, Heller, Nevada, Nevada Democrats, Nevada politics

Over, Under, and Whatever: Nevada News Roundup

Underwhelmed?  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Nevada GOP caucus…OK, that was expected.  However, the turnout for the event was less than expected.  [Las Vegas Sun] The Nevada Progressive was paying attention to the process.  500 caucus members showed up in Carson City; [NNB] there are 10,493 registered Republicans in the City. [NVsos]  The Secretary of State has some numbers which should be of interest to Democratic Party officials and activists:

The Secretary of State’s Elections Division reports that Republicans increased their number of active voters by 4,465 whereas Democrats increased active voters by 1,202. At the end of January, 400,310 active Republican voters and 447,881 active Democratic voters are registered in Nevada. In all, active Nevada voters total 1,082,705, an increase of 6,688 from the previous month.

Over enthusiastic?  And, no, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich isn’t dropping out.  He’s going to rack up a string of victories… [TPM] somewhere. Meanwhile he secured 22.7% of the Nevada GOP vote, winning only in Mineral County, [TPM]  population 4,772. [Census] Final totals available here.

Out of whack?  A case can be made that economically  “things are worse than they look because the U6 table shows more unemployed than the ‘regular’ figures,” but one should be careful with that [WashMonthly] because as the chart from the Christian Science Monitor illustrates the U6 tends to track with the conventional U3 numbers.

Frauds?  Remember when back in 2005 the Indiana governor signed a voter ID bill because it was “necessary to prevent fraud?”  Well, now what do we find but that the Indiana Secretary of State, Republican Charlie White has been convicted of….voter fraud. [Think Progress]  If memory serves, back in Psych 101 they called this Projection.

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Filed under 2012 election, Nevada caucus, Nevada Democrats, Nevada politics, unemployment, Voting