One of the more frustrating things as a conservative political activist every election cycle is dealing with solidly conservative candidates wearing rose-colored glasses and riding unicorns.
On one hand, you don’t want to damper their enthusiasm. On the other hand, you don’t want to blow smoke up their skirts and give them false hope as to their actual electoral chances.
That’s the situation I find myself in this time around with Stan Vaughan, the Republican candidate for Assembly District 15.
Let’s start with the “active” voter registration numbers: 14,402 Democrats vs. 5,678 Republicans. Even if you give the GOP all 6,548 non-partisan voters in the district – which is absurd – you still come out on the short end of the stick.
Then look at vote history. In the last non-presidential election year, the Democrat received 4,691 votes while the Republican garnered just 2,620. And that was the year of the GOP’s big “red wave.” If a Republican was EVER going to win this district, it would have been in 2014.
There’s simply no credible turnout scenario that would lead anyone to believe Stan can win this seat in 2018. Which is a shame. He’s EXACTLY the kind of principled conservative we need more of in Carson City.
He just lives in an impossibly gerrymandered district that assures a Democrat victory.
What’s an even bigger shame, though, is that what passes for GOP “leadership” in the Assembly caucus hasn’t embraced much of Stan’s 75-point campaign platform, which is a thing of beauty.
You may not agree with all 75. Indeed, I don’t. For example, plank #11: “Do not create a state run lottery as it is a highly regressive form of taxation on individuals at the bottom of the income scale.”
In fact, I’m all for establishing a state lottery – a 100% voluntary “tax” regardless of income – and earmark the money to fund our Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
But you can’t say Stan hasn’t taken a position on issues – unlike so many mealy-mouthed/fork-tongued politicians out there running for office up and down the ticket.
Indeed, there are Republicans in districts as solidly Republican as AD-15 is solidly Democrat who should be running on a number of planks from Stan’s platform. For example…
#1: “Enact meaningful spending controls.” This used to be a huge part of the conservative GOP legislative agenda in the mid-2000s – until RINO (Republican in Name Only) Brian Sandoval was elected governor. Remember then-Sen. Bob Beers’ “Tax and Spending Control” (TASC) proposal?
#9: “Repeal commerce tax and abandon gross receipt taxes.” Why isn’t EVERY conservative Republican running on this? Sandoval – architect of this monstrosity – is a lame duck now. Who cares if he opposes repeal?
#12: “Ensure online checkbook is developed.” Another idea from a dozen years ago that somehow fell by the wayside. Every citizen should be able to go online and look at every check the government writes – including who it was written to, for how much and why.
Want to reduce wasteful, non-essential government spending? First thing to do is identify it. “QuickBooks Online for Government” should be a no-brainer for any conservative running for office.
#24: “Create a parent trigger transforming failing traditional schools into charter schools if a majority of parents petition.” This is especially important, as agents for our failed public education system are now making rumblings about REDUCING the number of charter schools in the state.
#30: “Reward top 10 percent of teachers with merit pay.” Another conservative golden oldie that somehow fell off the radar screen over recent years.
Not all teachers are created equally. As such, they shouldn’t be compensated equally. We need to reward excellence to motivate all towards excellence. You know, just like in the private sector.
#41: “Restrict school district spending on administrators, private consultants and other outside-the-classroom expenses.” Who can argue with that? I mean, other than money-sucking, turf-defending school district bureaucrats.
#61: “Restrict occupational licensing to professions that meet a narrow definition for substantial risk of physical harm.” It’s insane that shampooers, cosmetologists, hair-braiders, interior decorators and teaching assistants need a government permission slip to earn a living.
Psst. This issue crosses party lines.
#63: “Reserve prison space for violent and high-rate offenders.” Criminal justice reform. As the saying goes, we should be jailing people we’re afraid of, not people we’re mad at.
Psst. This one crosses party lines, as well.
Of course, I’ve learned over the years to never say never. As such, maybe, just maybe, there’s a miracle path to victory for Stan in November. (Trump Wave?) Would love to be proved wrong, as most of his ideas are deserving of conservative support.
As such, Mr. Vaughan has my personal endorsement for Assembly District 15.
(Mr. Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.org and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com. He blogs at MuthsTruths.com. His opinions are his own.)