Nevada Democrats have received an inordinate amount of attention in recent weeks — and not necessarily in a good way. First, a little background.
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Despite winning the presidency and gaining a split in the Senate, national Democrats fell short of expectations during the 2020 election. In the House, the party saw its advantage dwindle from 35 seats to nine. And aspirations of gaining a healthy majority in the upper chamber failed to materialize.
A similar script played out in Nevada. Entering November, the donkeys were one seat shy of a supermajority in both legislative houses. But although Joe Biden carried the state, Democrats lost ground in both the Assembly and the Senate.
Many observers — including those among the dwindling few who still call themselves “moderate” Democrats — blamed the party’s underwhelming performance on the assurgence of the hard left and its radical agenda on issues such as law enforcement and the economy.
“We have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, said on a post-election call with Democratic House leaders, according to ABC News. “We need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that.”
Rep. Spanberger’s comments are particularly relevant four months later given recent developments in the Silver State. Two weeks ago, a posse of Sandernista activists took over the Nevada Democratic Party, winning election to most leadership posts. Many new officers — including the new leader, Judith Whitmer — are members of the Democratic Socialists of America.
The development has received national attention, given Nevada’s reputation as a swing state.
We’ll leave aside the conversation about how a failed and impoverishing political philosophy has gained such traction among devotees of a major political party. But suffice it to say that this reaffirms how Democrats continue to lurch to the far left with lightning speed.
Practically, however, the ramifications of this takeover remain to be seen. Establishment state Democrats downplayed the situation, arguing that it’s just inside baseball — and there’s some truth to that. Yet there’s no getting around the fact that the “S” word remains unpopular with a wide swath of the electorate — thus the emergence of the “P” word euphemism — and that having the party run by those who prefer the Venezuelan model to free markets could present problems for state Democratic candidates.
Nevada Republicans haven’t been adept in the past five years at winning elections. But this is indeed an early Christmas present for them. Opportunity isn’t just knocking; it threatens to break down the door. Just ask Rep. Spanberger.