Politics as Usual … or Is It?

Even in a volatile election cycle, you can’t make this stuff up

Cresent Hardy

Cresent Hardy

Elections, like politicians, have the habit of being both similar and unique. Granting the Orange One’s presence, this election fits both descriptions. Or maybe you haven’t looked up Ross Perot online. Do so, and you’ll see some parallels. But in Nevada, as usual, there’s the usual and the unusual.

Usual: for a politician to try to have it both ways. Unusual: for a party’s U.S. Senate candidate to say he isn’t voting for his party’s presidential nominee.

After supporting Donald Trump as he insulted Mexicans, Muslims, women, Jews and POWs, Congressman Joe Heck said the presidential nominee’s comments about sexual assault were too much. Then he said at a fundraiser, “I want to support him, I really do,” and told the Reno Gazette-Journal he wouldn’t say how he’ll vote.

He shouldn’t want to vote for Trump, period. Not because their policy views may not be the same as yours or mine, but because Heck even said in his debate with Catherine Cortez Masto that his wife had once been in an abusive relationship. To sincerely use a word that Trump uses insincerely, that’s sad. That Heck still could say he wants to be able to support Trump after making that statement is sad in a different way. But he also has said he won’t say who he’ll vote for. Obviously, he’s a candidate for a revised version of Profiles in Courage.

Usual: for parties and candidates to cater to senior voters. Unusual: for the Nevada Republican Central Committee to engage in elder abuse.

Sara Denton is 91 and so loyal a Democrat that she could make Harry Reid look iffy, and yet she showed up in a mailer for Republican Danny Tarkanian attacking Jacky Rosen, his opponent in House District 3. Denton never attacked Rosen. She never held the dishonest anti-Rosen sign she’s shown holding in the mailer. And she was devastated when it happened, since it went against everything she has stood for all her life.

The Nevada GOP paid for it, not Tarkanian, but his wife tweeted the photo as part of how he’ll “protect seniors.” For Republicans not to have found out first who Denton is and about her background suggests a level of incompetence and stupidity that boggles even the liveliest imagination. And if this election has taught us anything, it’s that people have to own their candidate, and they have to own their candidate’s behavior.

Usual: for Mormons to support Republicans. Unusual: which Mormons support which Republicans.

Cresent Hardy tossed Trump over the side—as with Heck, only after Trump’s seventy-gazillionth act of hate. Hardy belongs to the Mormon Church, which long ago deemed Trump unacceptable. But then who did the Trump campaign unveil as a new endorsement from Nevada? Bruce Woodbury, a member of a longtime Mormon family who many observers have been ready to nominate for sainthood for his tenure on the Clark County Commission.

Usual: for law enforcement to differ among themselves on the value of some form of gun control. Unusual: for Nevadans to show signs of supporting the correct side.

Question 1 would prohibit “selling or transferring a firearm to another person unless a federally licensed dealer first conducts a federal background check” on both parties. Polling leans toward approval. So, if a law enforcement official actually believes it’s OK for me to hand someone a firearm, whether or not that person should own one, because they trust my judgment, why is it that I am to keep my hands in view when I am pulled over for breaking traffic laws,?

Usual: for unions to play a big role in elections. Unusual: for unions to swap horses midstream.

The laborers endorsed Democrat Ozzie Fumo in Assembly District 21. Then he came out strongly against the stadium deal. So, Jon Ralston reported, the Laborers Union stopped working on his behalf to help Republican incumbent Derek Armstrong, who supports the project. If Armstrong wins reelection, and it’s close enough for this to turn the tide, will he vote as that union wants, or as his party wants? If the former, will the Laborers Union become a bigger political force? If the latter, will it occur to the Laborers Union that it shot itself and every other union in the foot?

Usual: for voters to say they don’t know enough about ballot questions and less prominent candidates. Nothing to add that’s unusual.

Just look for information. People died for your right to vote. The least you can do is make sure they did not die in vain.

Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV.