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Trump’s fake electors scandal makes a farce of Nevada GOP’s ‘voter integrity’ charade

John L. Smith
John L. Smith
Nevada GOP Chairman Michael J. McDonald, right, introduces then-President Donald J. Trump during the Nevada Republican Party Convention inside the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on Saturday, June 23, 2018. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent).

Thanks to the efforts of scandal-plagued Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, GOP voters can’t swing a discarded “Stop the Steal” flag these days without being reminded of the importance of “election integrity.”

Election integrity is highly important to U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who helped file specious lawsuits in the wake of the 2020 presidential election in a state that Donald Trump lost by 33,000 votes. He’s even suggested filing “preemptive” lawsuits in the 2022 election and has embraced endorsements from a bevy of Big Lie peddlers.

And GOP secretary of state challenger Jim Marchant has positively been driven to distraction by the belief that evil voting machines and Democratic Party legerdemain robbed his fearless leader of a second term. Who knows, maybe the Q Anon shaman told him so. It’s Marchant who believes the country’s election system is illegitimate, declaring, “Your vote hasn’t counted for decades. You haven’t elected anybody.”

But no one in the leadership of the Nevada Republican Party has blabbered more about the Big Lie of widespread voter fraud, stopping the nonexistent steal, and ensuring election integrity than Chairman McDonald.

Because, you know, he’s all about integrity.

He was all about integrity when he stood by as Team Trump filed garbage lawsuits. He was thinking of integrity when he led a slate of “alternate electors” on Dec. 14, 2020 at the state Capitol in Carson City to sign over imaginary Nevada electoral votes for Trump and mail them off to the National Archives as part of a plan to overturn the 2020 election. It’s notable that Marchant stood with the fake electors that day.

At the time a confident McDonald said, “In a historic move, the Nevada Presidential Electors convened in Nevada’s Capitol today to cast their six electoral votes for President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael Pence. The people of Nevada did not have a fair election due to the irregularities and fraud seen throughout the state. With ongoing challenges and evidence left to be meaningfully investigated, we must submit our electoral votes for the rightful victors and allow Congress to make a determination.”

Nevada’s effort was part of a multi-state plan to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power that has attracted the attention of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. More importantly for McDonald and his cohorts, it also has drawn investigative scrutiny from the FBI and Department of Justice. As KLAS TV 8 first reported Wednesday night, the FBI has confiscated McDonald’s cell phone as part of its investigation.

None of this is particularly surprising given the gaudy unraveling of the commission’s public exposure of Team Trump’s efforts to undermine the 2020 election at any cost. As the ugly evidence mounts, even Trump’s gaggle of congressional sycophants appear to be weakening.

Not so in Nevada, where they’re pretending to stop the steal under the guise of ensuring election integrity.

As if a party officially led by McDonald can be trusted to do that. Talk about a disconnect.

These days, the party’s official website goes to great lengths to encourage fellow Republicans to “Get Involved with Election Integrity in Nevada” under the catchphrase, “Integrity in the Process, Confidence in the Results.”

To that end, volunteers can sign up to work at polls and watch them and even fundraise by doing so. Those who suspect the voter rolls are larded with the voting dead or nonresidents casting ballots can help party operatives “clean” them by canvassing and calling to double check and triple check on their neighbors.

Had anyone in the party’s leadership bothered to clear the air on its extravagant voter fraud deception, its state ballot integrity mission might be something other than the stuff of comedy.

But speaking of a one-liner, there’s also a place for lawyers to volunteer to help challenge Nevada’s election process, which the chairman and his acolytes have been maligning for months without evidence. In the fateful words of Trump insider and Big Lie booster Rudy Giuliani, “We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence.”

It might be a good time for the GOP’s Trumpian legal minds to sit this one out.

A personal favorite is the chairman’s call to “Assist us with our ballot collection program by hosting a secure ballot box or assisting voters in your neighborhood to turn in mail ballots.” This from the party of the Big Lie that has widely vilified the use of mail-in ballots.

It's never a good day when the FBI comes knocking, but McDonald has always managed to slog his way through the mire of his own making. I’ve probably written this line before, but something tells me this time might be different.

For McDonald’s party, voter integrity should start at home.

I’d consider calling the chairman for a comment, but I understand his phone is busy.

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.


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