A Series of Unfortunate Events for Nevada's Democrat Governor Sisolak

(AP Photo/John Locher)

Weird Flex, Bro

Nevada’s incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has run a weird yet expensive campaign, and it keeps getting weirder. Before we get into the endorsements he awkwardly lost and what ill-fitted guests are arriving on the campaign trail, let’s recap how uncomfortable the Sisolak Campaign has been thus far:


We have seen him run on a nonsensical abortion platform, that has nothing to do with the governor in Nevada since only the voters can change the law passed nearly 30 years ago. You can read more on why that issue is moot in the Silver State, here: Too Stupid: Nevada Democrats’ Abortion Lies Insult Voters’ Intellect

Sisolak’s ads use odd campaign themes like riding the coattails of sports franchises and blaming the price of bacon on bacon-manufacturer greed. Now, Sisolak uses Southwest Airlines to campaign for re-election. Corporate presence in election ads is unsettling for voters who want to believe that politics is not a game of white-collar lobbies, but a representative democracy of the people. It’s like the companies don’t understand how PACs work… that you can support candidates without alienating your customers and signaling to voters that corporate elitism is indeed the name of the power-structure game. Oof. And while Sisolak marched in lockstep with California Democrat Governor Newsom’s pandemic orders, he has the audacity to tell us his politics are “middle of the road.” Maybe, if that road is in metropolitan California. 


Endorsements That Matter

This week, Sisolak lost the endorsement of the Nevada Police Union, with state police levying a 95.3 percent vote of no confidence in the Governor. A spokesperson for the Governor described the union’s non-endorsement as “stooping to political stunts,” and was rebutted with a list of specific reasons for the union’s no-confidence vote. Among those reasons are increased costs put on the state police, vaccine mandates and charging workers and dependents if they were not vaccinated, adversarial collective bargaining negotiations, ignoring a 135 percent turnover rate in the fiscal year 2020, taking no action on pay inequality, and not allocating federal monies including from the American Rescue Plan to support and address issues for the state police. 


Meanwhile, the Republican nominee for Nevada Governor is Joe Lombardo, the current Sheriff of Clark County, who has won strong support from law enforcement agencies, associations, and sheriffs across the state. 

This all comes on the heels of police groups demanding that Everytown for Gun Safety stop running anti-police attack ads targeting Lombardo.

Prior to Sisolak being rebuked by the Nevada Police Union, the Clark County Education Association (teacher’s union) declined to endorse him in the race, after previously supporting his 2018 bid. It’s really hard to depict for the readers how much of a zinger that is within our state. Only half-jokingly, I often call public education the third-largest industry in the state. Whether the numbers agree with that as an undisputed fact or not, the phrase is more to create political understandings than presentational graphs. While, in Nevada, the Culinary Union is the largest and most visible union, CCEA is… more interesting.


In the end, the mines got taxed and CCEA withdrew their ballot initiative while the Republican constituencies were left to sort out the blame game. I think the conclusion is something like, “What the hell was that?”

CCEA circulated petitions to get a question on the ballot targeting the mining industry. Then, they offered a better deal in the legislature. Suddenly, the mining industry was eager to lobby for its own taxation. The effects of this were that while Republicans held enough seats to block the two-thirds vote needed for fiscal legislation, some came on board to pass the bill. For the GOP base, this was a defeat because the party entered the session with a singular power to stop monetary bills, and ended with a maligned set of representatives known as “the surrender caucus.” So, CCEA was quite cunning, and therefore isn’t well tolerated by Republicans; continually battling their affiliates within their own ranks, along with causing an uncomfortable result in the previous legislative session. Now, Republicans find themselves applauding CCEA’s positions against the Governor, who was the union’s previous ally. Let’s just say, things are getting awkward for Sisolak. 


Awkward Guest Appearances

Former President Barack Obama will be stumping for Nevada’s Democrats on November 1st, days ahead of the November 8th election. What Obama’s presence highlights is the absence of unpopular President Joe Biden and a call-back to the height of the Harry Reid Machine.

Julie Jacobson

Sisolak made comments in support of Biden during the Governor’s debate saying Biden has done a good job on the tasks he was presented with while admonishing a PAC that put up signs depicting Sisolak and Biden together. CNN reports:

Sisolak denounced billboards erected by a pro-Lombardo super PAC – Better Nevada PAC – that feature a photo of Biden and the governor standing next to one another with the words “the Democrat Dream Team for Nevada.” The signs are “a trick by my opponent,” Sisolak said, noting that he hadn’t invited Biden to campaign with him in the final stretch.

But he added that the President was welcome to visit the Silver State or any other state in the country.

For what it’s worth, the Biden/Sisolak signs are hilarious and effective– they rattled the Governor, after all.

But, the awkwardness doesn’t stop at the endlessly embarrassing Biden Administration and the surrogacy of Obama being abjectly in place of the current president. Also, a full-fledged democratic socialist is coming to town, hoping to save the day from the Democrats’ >weirdness. Bernie Sanders will arrive in Nevada on Oct 28, making stops in Reno and Las Vegas.


Aside from the fact that Sanders is just a weird brand of a politician in his own right, within the context of the Berners and socialists in the Democrat Party, it all gets more cringey. The larger picture is that the “Harry Reid Machine” coalition that boosted a Democrat takeover in Nevada politics is now dysfunctional. The Berners bucked the establishment, propelling Sanders to win the Nevada caucuses and take an early national lead in 2020. Reid Machine coalition partners like the Culinary Union campaigned against Sanders and Elizabeth Warren based on their Medicare-for-All platforms, threatening Culinary’s prized healthcare package. Then, a socialist slate took over the state Democrat Party, defeating Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in the race for party chair. Amid a fractured party, Republican Adam Laxalt is cruising in the polls on a trajectory to swing a GOP Senate Majority. 

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders defines his opinion during a press conference following a speech at the 59th annual Nevada State AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention at the Luxor Hotel & Casino o

Now, establishment Democrats who are struggling to capture their own base, along with the nonpartisans, are leaning into a socialist that they literally never supported. And, it’s big awkward.

The D’s have a working-class voter problem in Nevada, a working-class state. That’s their problem with Latinos, it’s their problem with independents and it’s their problem with not only the police and teacher’s unions but with Culinary (20 percent of members are still out of work), too. Watching them try to fix this by playing nice with the socialists that ran a coup on the Reid establishment, playing revisionist history with Culinary’s opposition to Sanders’ ideas, and trying to sell a socialist in a state that runs on gambling, is a train-wreck Nevadans cannot look away from. Undoubtedly, Sisolak is the epicenter of all things wildly nonsensical in Nevada. 



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