In a recent piece for the National Journal, entitled “Nevada: The epicenter of the midterms” columnist Josh Kraushaar lays out the reasons for Democratic concern in an election year predicted to be not only a red wave, but a “red tsunami.”
Nevada is shaping up to be the political epicenter of this year’s midterms, with the battleground state hosting a competitive governor’s race and majority-making Senate contest, while three of the state’s four House seats are likely to be among the most closely watched races on the congressional landscape.
Nevada features two of the most consequential constituencies who have been drifting away from the Democratic Party in recent years: working-class voters and Hispanics. Seen in this light, the state provides an early stress test of the party’s ability to broaden its appeal beyond its progressive base. It also tests Republicans’ ability to nominate mainstream candidates who can win over a diverse electorate, an issue that has dogged the party in the state for over a decade.
“Nevada, in many ways, will be ground zero. It’s a microcosm of the challenge the party is facing in the coming years,” said Democratic strategist Dan Sena, who served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2018. “These are people looking to live in the desert, looking to build a better life for their family. It will be incumbent upon the Democratic Party to make sure we can meet those voters where they are on issues of job training, educational opportunity, which are different than these coastal-elite ideas.”
Coastal-elite ideas, as mentioned by strategist Sena, have been the driving force of Democratic rhetoric for years leading up to the 2022 campaign season. Climate change and abortion continue to be in play as Democratic incumbents attempt to placate their radical Left base. Suddenly, embattled Nevada Democrats have abandoned the word Latinx for Latino as only 4% of Latinos identified with that progressive creation.
Rep. Dina Titus claims she got “fucked” by the Democratic party during redistricting and she continues to flex her progressive bonafides as she faces a Bernie Sanders Socialist Democrat, Amy Vilela in the primary. In an interview with the Washington Post, Titus burnished her progressive credentials in anticipation of an attack from her left. “It’s kind of hard for me to figure out how you attack me. I’m on Medicare-for-all, even though I know you need to move step by step, gradually. I had the bill that created the renewable energy standard here, so I don’t know how you attack me and say I’m not green enough.”
During a fundraiser last year, Rep. Susie Lee stated: “I acknowledge that things are getting expensive, but I’m not going to apologize for it.” On the other hand, Lee maintains she is the “most bipartisan legislator” and that everyone must “act now” as climate change is her top priority.
Thank you @ActOnClimateUS for everything that you and your advocacy partners are doing to make climate change a top priority. We cannot wait any longer. We must #ActNow. https://t.co/DEO9O3lJqk pic.twitter.com/eIJntdsbea
— Rep. Susie Lee (@RepSusieLee) March 23, 2022
Rep. Horsford is facing his own personal troubles–an affair that his colleagues and the press continues to ignore. Yet a quick review of his Twitter timeline is recycled, progressive talking points related to climate change, union jobs (others need not apply), and race-based rhetoric.
Kraushaar cites—as The Globe has chronicled—the vulnerability of these congressional incumbents Governor Steve Sisolak and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto due to their political ties to and support of the Biden administration and their pandemic-related actions which caused massive unemployment, inflation and sky-rocketing gas and housing prices in the Silver State.
This vulnerability has caused record-breaking spending on television ads leading up to the primary and midterm elections.
As reported by The Globe:
Democrats are paying attention and spending millions in Nevada, confirming they are concerned about losing their majority in both houses of Congress. The New York Times reports Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Super Pac is reserving $11.6 million worth of TV time in Nevada.
Adding to this airtime, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto broke records this week when she reserved $10 million in ads throughout Nevada– which nearly depletes her cash on hand. Masto’s ad announcement aligned with a recent poll showing her leading challenger, Adam Laxalt, dominating the race by seven points.
Given the bleak national political environment for Democrats, a clean House GOP sweep isn’t out of the question. But with a Republican Party getting pulled right, there’s no guarantee Republicans will have ready-for-prime-time challengers able to fully capitalize on a GOP wave. In that sense, Nevada is a microcosm of the rest of the country, with both parties putting all their chips on the table to win this battleground state.
Yet, with the Democratic Party being pulled to the left, there is also no guarantee that Nevada Democrats will be able to run away from their voting records or crown themselves bipartisan’s or moderates in order to woo Hispanics or Independents—the largest voting block in the Silver State proudly known to be “battle born.”
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