April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current
January 5, 2024
Ahead of the third anniversary of a violent insurrection of the U.S. Capital, Nevada Democrats warned that democracy itself is on the ballot in this year’s general election.
“Donald Trump’s only vision for this county is one of revenge, retribution and division,” said Francisco Morales, second vice chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, during a press conference Friday. Saturday marks the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 capital attack that temporarily disrupted congressional business, killed five people, and left dozens of law enforcement officers injured.
“There’s so much to lose if Trump gets another term in the White House,” added Morales.
Trump, who has been indicted on federal charges for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, is currently the frontrunner for the GOP nomination this year. However, he still faces primary challengers like former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and legal hurdles, such as in Colorado and Maine where he has been blocked from appearing on primary ballots because of a Civil War-era insurrection clause. Trump is fighting both decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether former President Donald Trump can appear on Colorado’s 2024 presidential primary ballot.
“That insurrection was an attack on the very rights and freedoms that we have fought for from the very beginning of the Revolutionary War and that we hold dear,” said U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat and the senior member of Nevada’s congressional delegation. “It sets a very dangerous precedent for the future of our democracy. I don’t believe it’s overly dramatic to say democracy is at stake in this upcoming election.”
Titus and Morales emphasized that Trump has continued to push “The Big Lie” of widespread election fraud despite no evidence.
Titus referenced comments made by Trump in Reno in December praising state leaders like Michael McDonald, the longtime head of the Nevada Republican Party. McDonald was one of six Nevada Republicans who served as a “fake elector” in a coordinated scheme to secure the former president with a second term despite a clear loss of both the popular vote and the electoral college.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, announced the indictments of the fake electors in early December, nearly three years to the day after they held an illegitimate ceremony outside the Legislative Building in Carson City. McDonald and the others have since been indicted and plead not guilty to charges of offering a false instrument for filing, a category C felony, and uttering a forged instrument, a category D felony.
State Sen. Skip Daly (D-Washoe), who sponsored legislation to criminalize the specific act of serving as a fake elector, extended criticism beyond people like Trump and McDonald who were directly involved with election denialism and to Republicans like Gov. Joe Lombardo and Senate candidate Sam Brown who have attempted to appeal to general election voters while not alienating the harder right base of Republican voters.
“Lombardo went against the best interest of Nevadans and instead stood with the most extreme of his party by vetoing the (fake elector) bill,” said Daly. “(They are) the same members that incited the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection and continue to spread undemocratic conspiracy theories.”
Brown has previously downplayed the events at the capital and entertained the conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud. Lombardo has appeared on stage with Trump.
“There’s a lack of moral and civic leadership in the governor’s office and in the Republicans that are running up and down the ballot across Nevada,” said Daly. “That can only be tied to Trump.”
Daly expressed confidence voters will reject Republicans up and down the ballot: “Nevada wants people in office who will defend our democratic institutions, not MAGA Republicans who are fighting to undermine them at every turn.”
The Current reached out to the Nevada Republican Party and Lombardo’s office for comment but did not receive a response by publication time.
Daly and Titus’s comments came the same day President Joe Biden delivered a speech recapping the events of Jan. 2 and saying that democracy is what this year’s election “is all about.”
“This isn’t rhetorical, academic, or hypothetical,” the president said in the speech, delivered near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. “Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time.”
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