Repeated scans of television news coverage and social media posts failed to produce images of Michael McDonald and Adam Paul Laxalt at the deadly MAGA insurrection Wednesday at the nation’s Capitol.
I know they were there in spirit.
As despotic President Donald Trump’s top enablers in Nevada, state campaign chairman Laxalt and state Republican Party Chairman McDonald continued to bang the drum for the misleading and dangerous “Stop the Steal” propaganda effort right up to the moment the first rioters stormed the US Capitol.
Trump didn’t get the coup that he and his frothing followers wanted, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Through its efforts to do his bidding no matter the cost, his Nevada contingent is complicit in his actions.
The presidential election has been over for more than two months. It’s been scrutinized more closely than any other election in history. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a proud Republican, followed the facts and the law – and for that has been vilified.
The facts don’t matter. It’s the myth of a Trump victory that’s being marketed like snake oil. And now it’s turned deadly.
The state Republican Party’s official Twitter account this week offered yet another revisionist history lesson.
From Jan. 4: “While the @NVSOS fails to investigate actual voter fraud and hides behind ‘Facts vs Myths’ talking points, we have shared some inconvenient truths they omitted concerning election fraud.”
From Jan. 5: “Join patriots tomorrow as we stand for our President, and fight for clean elections in Nevada. No amount of voter fraud is acceptable!”
On insurrection Wednesday: “Reminder: Nevada had over 130,000 fraudulent votes. Our evidence has not been disputed, just ignored.”
Not ignored, exactly. I think the legal term is laughed out of court. Make that courts. It’s certainly not been ignored. It’s been punted. Dunked. Shredded. Round-filed.
And used over and over again to promote the big lie.
From the state GOP’s pals at freenfair.us: “January 6th will be marked as a momentous day nation-wide as we gather together to rise up and defend our great Nation, our Republic, our Liberty, our Vote and our Constitution. Join us at 10am in front of Capitol (Carson Street side) & support all those who took the time to fly or drive to Washington DC for the Stop the Steal Rally taking place there.”
Continuing the big lie about widespread voter fraud despite all evidence to the contrary feeds the anger and suspicion of those who have been willing to believe Trump’s many lies. When you’re willing to pile lie upon lie on behalf of a president who gives shoutouts to racist Proud Boys and eggs on white supremacist militia members, you’re not patriots. You’re fascist sympathizers. The figureheads of Nevada’s Republican Party leadership have marched in lock step with their leader.
Scratch the surface of much of the party’s conspiracy-driven outrage, and you’ll find the sharp teeth of the far-right race-baiters and outright white supremacists. They didn’t crash Trump’s party. They were invited.
Trump’s incitement of Wednesday’s mob wasn’t spontaneous. It was staged. Intelligence officials and even some of Trump’s own former defense secretaries have warned the nation about it. Right-wing social media sites have buzzed with excitement at the prospect of “revolution” for weeks. Trump has encouraged his most dangerous followers every step of the way.
It’s hard to say whether their big plans will change in the wake of Wednesday’s botched coup attempt, but Trump’s white supremacist militia men and QAnon conspiracy quacks have also been preparing to assemble armed “rallies” at statehouses prior to the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Many of Trump’s biggest enablers, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chief among them, at last have done their duty and sided with the Constitution. For that, Pence is now being called a “sellout” on right-wing social media; McConnell is described as nothing less than a “traitor.” Whether out of a sense of shame or self-preservation, Trump’s own Cabinet members are ducking out on him.
As the facts emerge, even as his propagandists lay down a predictable smoke screen about Antifa infiltrators, Trump’s seditious behavior becomes ever more clear. His enablers and monied backers should be reminded of their complicity in his crimes. That includes Nevada’s super-rich casino kings who have dumped so many millions into his factory of lies.
It wasn’t exactly shouted from the floor of the House, but Nevada Republican Rep. Mark Amodei at least uttered the right sentiment Wednesday when he tweeted, “History made today for all the wrong reasons. Shameful. All our Washington staff are safe.”
Shameful is right. That shame is shared by Trump’s Nevada enablers.
John L. Smith is an author and longtime columnist. He was born in Henderson and his family’s Nevada roots go back to 1881. His stories have appeared in Time, Readers Digest, The Daily Beast, Reuters, Ruralite and Desert Companion, among others. He also offers weekly commentary on Nevada Public Radio station KNPR. His newest book—a biography of iconic Nevada civil rights and political leader, Joe Neal— “Westside Slugger: Joe Neal’s Lifelong Fight for Social Justice” is published by University of Nevada Press and is available at Amazon.com. Contact him at [email protected] On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith