July 24, 2024 4:35 pm
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Opinion | In NV of All Places, Elected Officials Should Stop Tolerating Trump’s Attack on Democracy

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by Hugh Jackson, Nevada Current

The fourth and final count in the indictment of Donald Trump for plotting to overturn the 2020 election asserts Trump:

 “did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate one or more persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured to them by the Constitution and laws of the United States—that is, the right to vote, and to have one’s vote counted.”

Had the plot succeeded, the harm would have been inflicted on each one of the 81.3 million people in the U.S. who cast their ballots for Joe Biden. 

But in a way, the voters most directly and personally harmed would have been those in the seven states with fake electors, where the will of the majority would have been directly, specifically overturned. 

Trump’s assault was on democracy in the U.S. as a whole. But the people for whom he showed the least respect and the most malice – the people whose votes he was most willing and eager to render null and void – were the people in states where Trump and his henchmen conspired to organize fake electors: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and of course, Nevada.

Politicians, upon winning elections, like to say they will represent and work to protect the interests of all their constituents, even those who didn’t vote for them. A deliberate effort to “injure” or “oppress” a Nevadan’s right to have their vote counted, whatever their party and whoever they’re voting for, should not only be an affront to elected officials of both parties, but an unacceptable one.

The office of governor carries – or should carry – a particularly heavy responsibility to represent all the people of a state, no matter who they vote for.

Thanks to last summer’s televised U.S. House hearings on the January 6 assault on the Capitol, much, maybe most, of the information in the indictment of Trump announced earlier this month was already common knowledge when Joe Lombardo was campaigning for governor last year.  

Faced with a convincing, compelling narrative that consisted almost entirely of testimony provided by Republicans who worked for Trump’s administration or campaign, how did Lombardo respond to evidence that Trump tried to oppress the right of Nevadans to have their votes counted?

By accepting Trump’s endorsement, campaigning with Trump, and even caving to Trump on command.

Now, as then, Lombardo gives the impression he would prefer to get as little Trump on him as possible.  Who can blame him? And yet when asked recently about this month’s truly historic indictment of a former president for trying to steal an election, Lombardo – the career lawman – said he would support whoever is the Republican presidential nominee.

It increasingly appears that barring a comet crashing into the Bedminster golf course while Trump is on the back nine, that nominee will be Trump.

Nevada’s second-highest profile Republican elected official, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, doesn’t have as many Biden voters among his constituency as Lombardo does. But Biden did win Washoe, by far the largest county in Amodei’s congressional district. If the Trump plot had succeeded, the right of the majority of voters in that county to have their vote counted would have been oppressed in the 2020 presidential election.

Amodei is calling the indictment, and evidence of Trump’s scheme to render the votes of Amodei’s constituents null and void, a “cheap political circus.” Anyone familiar with the glib, hail-fellow-well-met schtick Amodei has deployed while making painfully malreasoned apologies for and defending Trump might conclude “cheap political circus” is a milieu with which he has a rich acquaintance.

Willing to tolerate a lawless attempt to oppress Nevada voters, Lombardo and Amodei are demonstrating they hold cynical partisan politics in a higher regard than they do the sanctity of votes cast by people in their own state.

Playing coy and copping out

Some of Nevada’s Democratic elected officials are practicing a different flavor of Trump never-mindism. Sen. Jacky Rosen and U.S. Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford didn’t even respond when the Current asked them about Trump’s indictment. 

Perhaps they’re adhering to the old maxim that says when an opponent is destroying themselves stay out of the way, and so don’t feel the need to chime in.

An even more charitable take is that they are high-mindedly trying to refrain from politicizing Trump’s indictment, trusting in and deferring to their faith in the judicial system.

That faith is a luxury more befitting elected officials in the 43 states whose voters’ rights were not specifically assaulted by Trump’s fake electors scheme.

Silence from Rosen, Lee, and Horsford may reflect high-minded principles. It could also be attributed to a reluctance to do or say anything that might discomfort holy sacred swing/independent voters amen.

Whatever their rationalizations, all three of them, like every politician in the U.S., are very fond of telling voters they will “fight” on their behalf. 

The silent treatment isn’t fighting. It’s a cop out. 

And while the aforementioned treasured swing/independent voters are not hearing anything from Rosen, Lee, or Horsford about Trump’s vile attempt to rob Nevadans of their Constitutional right to have their votes count, Trump is out there spewing his messiah filth 24/7.

Rosen, Lee, Horsford, and the similarly (and perpetually) tentative Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto as well for that matter, owe it to their constituents to cut the coy act, get their heads in the game, acknowledge Nevada’s role in Trump’s plot, and – as they might say – “fight” to make clear just how much Trump despises the rights of Nevada voters.

This article originally appeared in Nevada Current and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.