While the midterm elections will not be held for more than four months, they will be held for one year. GOP’s front-runner candidate for the United States Senate race in Nevada has been telling radio show hosts that he’s ready to sue should the results not go his way.
Adam Laxalt — an erstwhile naval officer who served as a one-term state attorney general, ran for and lost a race for the governorship in 2018 and then moved on to head Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in the state — is a dyed-in-the-wool Trumpite. He went to bat in 2020 for the embattled president. going to court to challenge votes cast for Joe Biden in Las Vegas, and to cast doubt on the accuracy of the signature-verification machines used for mail-in ballots in Clark County.
Like other such lawsuits around the country, Laxalt’s went nowhere, and Nevada’s Electoral College votes were certified for Biden. He also attempted to take the court to trial. conservative mediaTo convince audiences that thousands of dead people, and people who were not yet in Nevada, had illegally voted in this presidential election.
These days, Laxalt’s fealty to Trumpism largely means that he continues to buy hook, line and sinker into the notion that the 2020 presidential election, certified by Congress after dozens of lawsuits failed and after the January 6 insurrection fizzled, was stolen and that, moving forward, his primary duty is to push to manipulate the franchise in ways likely to secure ongoing GOP electoral victories.
His reward? A Trump endorsement in the primaryAlso, a Mar-a-Lago fundraiserThis helped him to overcome a late-stage challenge. retired Army Capt. Sam Brown. Unlike in a number of other states — where the conservative, anti-tax, anti-regulatory Club for Growth broke with Trump and endorsed alternative candidates — in Nevada, Trump and the Club for Growth marched in lockstep, both supporting Laxalt.
Laxalt won the Nevada primaries on June 14th. In November, he will take on Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto,A vulnerable senator in a swing-state won by Biden only by 2 percentage points in 2020.
Pre-primary polling in the spring by Insight showed that Masto had an 8-point lead over LaxaltIn a potential head to head. But since then, inflation has worsened (as epitomized by soaring gas prices), interest rates have headed north at a trot and President Biden’s poll numbers have further skidded into negative territory.
In the months since, a range of polling — which, in the run-up to the primaries, and before voters have really dialed into the races, is notoriously fickle — has produced an all-over-the-map set of outcomes: Some polls show Cortez Masto with a double-digit lead; others have Laxalt up by as much as 7 percent. Overall, The New York Times’s FiveThirtyEight site estimates that the incumbent Democrat currently has a roughly 4-point leadLaxalt.
Cortez Massto is buoyed by the fact, despite the declining national Democratic climate, she enjoys huge leads among Latino voters in the stateIt also stands to benefit by the blowback against the raft court rulings and subsequent legislative restrictions undermining the rights to an abortion nationally; polling in Nevada shows that overwhelming public support for the right to access abortion care.
In a high-turnout election, it’s hard to see how Cortez Masto would lose to Laxalt. But 2022 could clearly shape up to be a low-turnout election, especially if inflation, high interest rates and a slowing economy combine to create a general sense of malaise — a gnawing feeling that no politician, whatever their party affiliation is capable of turning things around — and of anxiety about the direction the country is heading in. Turnout in the June primaries was a mere 25 percentThis compares to almost 30 percent in the 2020 primaries and fully 77 percent for the 2020 general elections.
Yet even these numbers aren’t entirely doom and gloom for Cortez Masto. In fact, despite the decline between 2020 and 2022, the percentage of the electorate participating in this year’s primaries is actually far higher than was the miserably low primary turnout in 2018 and in 2016That bodes well for Cortez Mastor in her fight against Laxalt. She should be able to win if she can get enough support from the Democratic base to vote in November. But there are a lot of “ifs” in that scenario.
Laxalt, on the other hand, hopes that his loyalty to Trumpism will bring support to his cause. Laxalt’s career trajectory, from his being a traditional conservative to becoming a conspiracy theorist willing to carry water for Trump at all times, is similar to much of what is going on at a state level in the GOP throughout the country. You will see every Republican Party organization in America trying to outdo their counterparts in adopting ever more outrageous conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections and the COVID-19 crises. Republican leaders and candidates are setting ever more conservative goals in order to restrict voting rights, and promote a highly-partisan vision of election oversight.
This week, Texas GOP voted to include its far right party platform. a bizarre statement asserting that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, that Biden is only the “acting president,” and that the Voting Rights Act ought to be repealed in its entirety. In Pennsylvania, a “Stop the Steal” supporter is the GOP’s candidate for governor. In ArizonaTrump-backed front-runner in GOP nomination for governor race has called for Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, to be arrested
Back in his home state, Laxalt’s GOP has an ominous warning on its website, announcing that the state is “Ground Zero” for “Democrat skullduggery.”The Clark County GOP site pushes a package of “election integrity reforms,” chief among which are voter ID requirements. Further, Jim Marchant, the winner of the primary contest to be the GOP candidate for secretary of state, says that his first priority, if elected, would be to “overhaul the fraudulent election system in Nevada.”
Cortez Massto and Laxalt may decide which party controls U.S. Senate in the coming year. Given the policy stances of the Nevada GOP and its leading candidates, as well as Laxalt’s history over the past few years, it’s a fair bet that if the GOP Senate candidate makes it to D.C., he will use his power to further erode voting rights and further damage the U.S.’s already fragile democratic infrastructure.