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A pro-Trump demonstration in downtown Carson City on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo by David Calvert.

ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION — Directing all lawmakers to affirm the results of the Nevada election

WHEREAS, Doubts still linger in too many minds about the legitimacy of the election process in Nevada because of public statements since Nov. 3.

WHEREAS, Lower courts and the state Supreme Court have thrown out all lawsuits alleging fraud

WHEREAS, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has said: “Nevada’s election officials performed their duties with integrity and fairness, and to have the results be rejected by many Americans is disheartening and clearly of great concern. As a state and a country, we are better than this. I ask all Nevadans to respect the outcome of this election.”

WHEREAS, It is a sacred duty of this body to reassure Nevada citizens that their votes matter and that their elections are clean.

RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, THE SENATE CONCURRING, That the members of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature hereby declare the results of the 2020 election to have been valid.

This should not be necessary, but it is.

This should not be a requirement for serving on a legislative committee, but in light of what has occurred since the election, it should be this session.

This should not have to be the first item of business on Feb. 1, but it must be.

I wrote at the end of 2020 that I have faith in the governor and lawmakers to work together during arguably the greatest crisis this state has faced — a raging pandemic and a devastated economy. But until the stain of what has occurred since Nov. 3 is erased, until Democrats and Republicans can agree that Joe Biden is rightfully president and that their own elections were free from fraud, they should not, they cannot proceed with any credibility.

Democrats, who control Carson City, must do this to send a message to Nevadans that they will not allow the calumny to pass; it is their solemn duty to do so.

Republicans, who have nearly to a man and woman either been accomplices to this slander or enabled it, must tell this state’s residents they repent; it is their solemn duty to do so.

This is not about ball-spiking or hairshirt-wearing. This is about reinvigorating faith in democracy, which has been rattled by the actions of too many.

Sure, some ears will never open, some minds will remain closed. But this is not about reaching the unreachable; it’s about sending a bipartisan message that it’s time to move beyond the descent into madness and mendacity that was 2020.

This will not be easy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some Democrats wanted to seek revenge on the Republicans who slimed the electoral process here and accused the Democrats of a conspiracy to fix the election. But they should holster those recriminations and sign onto this proposed concurrent resolution.

I also wouldn’t be shocked if some Republicans, still smarting from the heavy-handed treatment during the special sessions last year and eager to pander to voters who still believe the election was purloined from them, had no spirit of bipartisanship. They, too, need to find their better angels.

And they will have a hell of a time doing that.

Except for two — state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (especially) and Assemblywoman Jill Tolles — the entire GOP Carson City cohort has been culpable in this destructive charade that has fueled so much distrust. At least two – Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko and incoming Assemblywoman Annie Black of Mesquite — have offered conspiracy theories about Antifa being behind the Capitol riot (Black was there but claimed she did not storm the building); they should abjectly apologize to their colleagues, to the people of Nevada and sign onto this proposed resolution or be consigned to oblivion.

Harsh? I don’t think so.

There are few things worse that an elected official can do than to imbue in their ingenuous constituents such toxic notions that elections should be rejected, that their votes may not count. This is a violation of their oath of office, not to mention common decency.  It is pandering of the worst kind and cannot simply be dismissed.

Let’s also not forget that in so doing, these Republicans also have smeared the judicial process and jurists who found the evidence, such as it wasn’t, to be the stuff of fevered imaginings. They actively tried to destroy faith in electoral infrastructure staffed by hard-working public servants and volunteer poll workers, who were blithely accused of being part of a plot to commit fraud, a federal crime, and overseen by truly the only stalwart Republican elected official throughout 2020 — GOP Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. She was the bulwark against these malefactors, and only she knows the kind of pressure she was under from the lowest and highest levels.

Neither of the putative GOP legislative leaders – state Sen. James Settelmeyer and Assemblywoman Robin Titus – has lifted a finger to tamp down these flames. Indeed, Titus instructed Lyon County commissioners to not certify its vote was accurate. This is unconscionable.

Meanwhile, other Republicans who have stood silently by or actually claimed there was fraud (Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and incoming Assemblyman Andy Matthews, to name two) also should repudiate their previous comments and sign on to the resolution. They owe the state an apology, too.

Many of these Republicans, in what almost seemed like a choreographed effort, began putting out tweets after the D.C. storming of the Capitol, trying to dance between the raindrops. To wit:

Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner: “I voice my support for the patriots that went to Washington DC to peacefully protest. The #FirstAmendment however, only protects the right to peacefully protest. I am opposed to violent extremists.”

Opposed to violent extremists? Bold.

State Sen. Scott Hammond: “As events in DC unfold, I voice my support for the patriots that assembled to exercise their 1st Am. Rights by peacefully expressing their concerns about the election. I also categorically oppose the radicals who used the cover of these patriots to attack & invade the Capitol.”

Patriots? Why are they patriots, pray tell? (Last time this word was so stripped of meaning here was when then-Sen. Dean Heller called the insurrectionists at the Bundy Ranch “patriots.”)

People went to Washington to protest an election that was lawfully certified by every state and the Electoral College. Why is that patriotic?

Don’t call them patriots; don’t call yourselves leaders.

Their position amounts to this: “We submissively questioned the election or kept our mouths shut but now we are very upset that there was violence and people died. That’s not who we are.”

Ah, but it is. And they all are part of The Fraud Caucus now.

What really saddens me is the slow descent by the Republican Party leadership here into the swamp. No, I’m not talking about an opportunistic carpetbagger such as Adam Laxalt, an accident of electoral history who lied about fraud starting on Nov. 3 in order to increase his email list and raise money from fools after a term as attorney general in which he did nada about election issues. Or a serial grifter such as Michael McDonald, who has presided over the unraveling of the state GOP as its longest-serving chairman and who has been a Trumpian echo on these fraud prevarications. Or a fringe performance artist such as Michele Fiore, the Republican national committeewoman who loudly joined the cacophonous chorus of fraud-singers.

I am speaking of the party of Ann O’Connell and Bill Raggio and Lynn Hettrick and Kenny Guinn and Brian Sandoval and many others, principled people who would never have engaged in the power-hungry schemes that GOP elected leaders have during the last two cycles.

In 2018, it was an attempted subversion of recall laws because they could not win fair and square at the ballot box – most Republican officials were part of that or did not protest because they would have benefited if the recalls had succeeded. That was a minor infraction compared to what they did in 2020, though, when they conspired to cast doubt on the election results, either as willing or passive participants.

If this is a progression of debasement, what do they plan for this cycle?

This is who they have become, the Fraud Caucus that cannot recruit good candidates, cannot beat the Democratic machine so they have to cheat and lie. Guinn and Raggio are rolling in their graves.

But there is still time to fix this. And I am stubbornly clinging to my optimism.

Democratic leaders Nicole Cannizzaro and Jason Frierson may want to grind the GOP minority into dust for all of this. But they should not — and not just because they might need them on any taxing votes.

Now is the time for reconciliation. But only if the Republicans are willing to put their votes where any remorse might be.

So give them a chance to vote for the resolution. There’s no chance of any fraud on that ballot, and it will shine a spotlight so they have no chance to hide any longer.

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