(Chuck Muth) – Grab another cup of coffee; this is gonna be a long one. But you won’t get this information anywhere else…
Unless sane Central Committee heads prevail at the Nevada Republican Party’s meeting in Winnemucca on September 23, Nevada voters will see FOUR elections next year.
There will be the November 5 general election, the June 11 primary election, the February 6 presidential primary election, and the Nevada GOP’s separate presidential “caucus” on February 8.
And if you believe Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, Republican National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid, and Republican National Committeewoman Sigal Chattah that Caucus-Con isn’t being rigged to benefit Donald Trump, you probably also believe OJ Simpson is innocent.
First, it’s important to know that Nevada was one of only 13 states that still used a presidential caucus before this cycle. And the level of disinformation – including outright falsehoods – the trio of Nevada GOP leaders are putting out could choke a horse.
For example, McDonald told the Washington Examiner over the weekend that “Anybody who’s been involved in selecting a president (in Nevada) since 1981 has been involved in a caucus.”
In March 1996, the Nevada GOP held a state-run presidential primary when the state had fewer than 1.7 million people. Over 146,000 Republicans took part in that primary, which, by the way, was an ALL MAIL-IN presidential primary.
By comparison, almost half that number participated in the 2016 GOP presidential caucus – 75,482 – despite Nevada’s population soaring to almost 3 million people.
In trying to spin the unspinable, DeGraffenreid wrote in an op-ed, published by the Nevada Globe, that turnout in the 2022 general election (54.7%) dropped from the 2020 general election turnout (62.4%), claiming it proved the Democrats’ universal mail-in voting system didn’t boost turnout.
But here’s what DeGraffenreid isn’t telling you…
2020 was a presidential election year. 2022 was a non-presidential election year. And turnout is always higher in presidential election years than in non-presidential election years. So, sorry Jim, that dog won’t hunt.
And then there was 2020.
In his re-election bid, Trump didn’t want to face Nevada GOP voters in either a caucus OR a primary. As such, the Nevada Republican Party did his bidding and cancelled its presidential caucus outright, despite there being four other Republican candidates in the race, including one former governor and two former Members of Congress.
As Politico reported in September 2019…
“Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers.
“Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans. The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus.”
If that’s not election rigging, I don’t know what is.
That said, I opposed efforts to legislatively mandate a primary over a caucus in 2015 while McDonald, ironically, favored switching to a primary after the 2012 GOP caucus debacle.
And one of the chairman’s mini-minions, Rob Tyree, recently tried to take me to task on social media after I began criticizing next year’s coming Fuster-Caucus…
“You sure didn’t like the idea of a primary a few years ago, Chuck. What changed, other than perhaps who is writing you checks?”
I love it when these mental midgets try to falsely claim my opinions on various issues are bought-and-paid-for. It’s all they have when they can’t argue the logic of my positions.
That said, here’s what changed: The law.
Like it or not, the Nevada Legislature in 2021 changed the law switching Nevada from a caucus state to a primary state. You don’t have to like the law – and I don’t – but the law is the law. That’s what changed. Derp.
And while the law says there WILL be a presidential primary next February, the Supreme Court has also ruled that the party can select its delegates to the Republican National Convention in any matter it so chooses.
After the Chattah Box filed a lawsuit to block the state-run primary and lost, the party decided to proceed with a separate caucus two days after the primary…which is going to confuse the hell out of your average Republican voter who doesn’t understand all this “inside baseball.”
But it gets worse…
The party is requiring the GOP presidential candidates to pick one or the other. If they opt to put their name on the primary ballot, they are prohibited from having their name appear on the caucus ballot.
What’s this mean?
Well, for example, you could have Ron DeSantis win the Nevada primary on Tuesday night and Trump win the Nevada caucus on Thursday night. Nah, no chance for confusion there, right?
In fact, since it costs ZERO to put your name on the primary ballot, but a whopping $55,000 to buy your way onto the Nevada GOP caucus ballot, we could well end up with Trump being the ONLY candidate on the caucus ballot.
What a stunning “victory” that would be!
Of course, the party justifies the caucus fee by saying it needs the money to pay for conducting the caucus at, as DeGraffenreid wrote, “thousands of individual precinct meetings around the state.”
In other words, it doesn’t have the money needed to conduct the caucus and *hopes* to raise the dough by charging the campaigns an obscene amount of money.
But what if only one or two candidates agree to the shakedown. Where’s the rest of the money gonna come from then?
And while the party is spending money – not to mention a ton of time – trying to organize a completely unnecessary and self-defeating caucus, it’s ignoring groundwork that needs to be laid for every other race on the ballot next year, especially legislative races to protect Gov. Joe Lombardo’s 75 vetoes.
Brilliant strategery there. But hang on. More dumb to come…
In his op-ed, DeGraffenreid argues that the privately funded caucus is “a big improvement over the millions of taxpayer dollars that the state plans to waste on a meaningless and confusing primary, but only true fiscal conservatives would care about that.”
Nice try. But that dog won’t hunt either.
First, conducting elections is one of the few legitimate roles of government – up there with fire and police and other public safety responsibilities. If you’re worried about the cost of running an election, there’s a TON of non-essential government spending that any fiscal conservative would gladly cut to cover it.
Secondly, the only thing making the presidential election confusing is the Nevada GOP’s decision to ignore the new state law and hold its competing caucus two days later.
Thirdly, the primary wouldn’t be meaningless. What the Nevada GOP isn’t telling everyone is that the delegates to the national convention won’t actually be selected until the state convention three months later.
The party could easily draft rules for delegate selection that are based on the primary results. So the idea that the primary would block the party from establishing its own delegate selection process is – well, not true.
Heck, even DeGraffenreid admits that “there’s no requirement in state law that parties use the Presidential Preference Primary to allocate and bind their delegates to the National Convention, where the party’s nominee is ultimately selected.”
DeGraffenreid goes on to argue…
“The fact is that primary elections are far easier to ‘rig’ than a caucus. … Ballots are counted out of sight for days after the election, mail in signatures are sporadically checked, and there’s no way to audit the results.”
McDonald seconds that emotion, “pointing to a ‘serious problem’ in Nevada with mail-in ballots and serious questions being raised about accountability.”
The Examiner continued…
“McDonald said, ‘Thousands of ballots that are just stuffed in trash cans after they go to an apartment complex’ or ‘floating around the streets mailing to different addresses where people don’t live there anymore,’ adding some ballots are ‘voted out of storage units, some that are voting out of vacant lots.’”
This hearkens back to the post-2020 allegations in which the party claimed it had over 130,000 pieces of “evidence” supposedly showing massive voting fraud. It didn’t then, and it doesn’t now.
But don’t take my word for it. Call the party right now – (702) 586-2000 – and ask to see the 130,000 pieces of evidence showing exactly which allegedly ineligible voters cast allegedly illegal, fraudulent ballots from out-of-state or from storage units and vacant lots.
Plan on being placed on “hold” for about a hundred years.
For his part, DeGraffenreid writes that “our usual caucus process” will be used “to pick our nominee without outside interference in a secure and transparent process…” McDonald added that it’s the party’s “right to choose our nominee.”
OK, fine and dandy. But riddle me this, Batman…
Let’s say that party leaders are being open and honest about all this. I know it’s a stretch, but play along.
If a presidential primary is so littered with problems of fraud, rigging, transparency, etc., why isn’t it b*tching about the June primary to select its nominees for all the other offices other than president?
I mean, if the party truly believes a state-run primary can’t be honestly run by the Nevada Secretary of State, then why doesn’t it blow off the June state-run primary and hold a nominating convention to select its candidates like third-party parties?
Or like Utah.
Utah has a state-run primary. However, “if a candidate receives enough votes” at the state convention, “they receive the nomination outright and proceed straight to the general election” without having to run in the primary.
The Nevada GOP will, of course, argue they aren’t allowed to nominate its candidates at a nominating convention because of state law.
State law also now says to hold a presidential primary, which the Nevada GOP unsuccessfully sued to block. So the party wants to pick and choose which laws to follow.
Sounds…what’s the word I’m looking for here…oh, yeah…hypocritical.
Another argument against the caucus is that it’s exclusionary – which it is. But once again, DeGraffenreid tries to spin the unspinable…
“(J)ust like the primary, the caucus is open to every Republican voter in the state. The Republican caucus has a drop and go feature which allows any voter…(to) cast their ballot and leave without participating in any of the other caucus activities or conversation. This makes voting at the caucus the equivalent of voting in the state run primary for those who choose to participate in this way.”
If you want to vote in the primary, you can vote by mail, vote up to two weeks before Election Day, or vote at any time on Election Day.
If you want to vote in the caucus, you must vote at 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 8th in person.
The two are as “equivalent” as the U.S. Army and the Salvation Army.
- Any Republican going to college out-of-state at 5:00 pm on Thursday night can’t participate.
- Any Republican with a job who’s working at 5:00 pm on Thursday night can’t participate.
- Any Republican in a hospital at 5:00 pm on Thursday night can’t participate.
- Any Republican in an assisted living facility with no way to get to the caucus at 5:00 pm on Thursday night can’t participate.
- Any Republican who has to attend a PTA meeting, youth sports event, etc., at 5:00 pm on Thursday night can’t participate.
No, the caucus isn’t “equivalent.” It’s exclusionary. By design.
So why is the party insisting on doing this?
Last December 4, I called on Chairman McDonald to step down and let someone else run the Nevada GOP after its fourth consecutive losing election cycle…
“Things are only going to get worse in 2024 if he remains as Grand Imperial Pooh-Bah during the GOP presidential primary contest. McDonald is still in his position despite the massive failures for one reason and one reason only: Donald Trump. Without Trump’s backing, McDonald would have been ousted after the disastrous election results of 2018 – and everyone knows it. He’s Trump’s guy, plain and simple.
“So what’s going to happen during the 2024 election cycle if, as expected, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (and others) challenge Trump in the GOP primary? No matter how hard he tries – if he does, indeed, try – to play it straight, there’s no way McDonald will be able to shake the suspicion and belief that he’s in Trump’s pocket and tipping the scales.”
I’m no sooth-sayer, but lo and behold…
“The situation in Nevada is very clear,” Jess Szymanski, deputy communications director for the DeSantis-backing Never Back Down PAC, told the Examiner last week. “State GOP leaders are so obsessed with appeasing Trump that they’ve rigged their primary to prioritize Trump above their own voters.”
Just like they did at Trump’s behest in 2020.
“There’s no denying my relationship with the president,” McDonald responded. “I’ve been with him since 2015.”
Yeah, um…that’s the problem.
McDonald went on to note that the Trump campaign “is actively working in this state.”
What he neglected to note is that the Trump campaign is now being run by the Nevada GOP’s executive director, who only resigned from the party a month ago to be the campaign’s state director.
But I’m sure they’re playing it straight. Well, pretty sure. OK, never mind.
This whole thing is already a massive PR disaster for the party – or as the Examiner described it, a “debacle” – and it’s only going to get worse.
And aside from appeasing Trump, running the Trump caucus is gonna be strategically blowing a “yuge” opportunity.
- If the party thinks there are still election security problems with how state-run elections are run…
- If the party has a problem turning out its voters – which it did last year when Adam Laxalt lost the U.S. Senate race by fewer than 8,000 votes in an election where 175,000+ Republican voters stayed home…
- If the party wants to try to match the Democrats by deploying a “ballot harvesting” operation…
- If the party wants to push more Republican voters to vote early instead of waiting until Election Day…
Then the February 6 presidential primary is the perfect place to test any new programs to deal with those challenges.
And whatever they learn from mistakes or whatnot in February, they can fine-tune in the June primary.
And if they use those opportunities to get their act together, maybe they’ll win some close races in November that they’d otherwise lose.
But you know the GOP’s motto: Never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I am so sick of the party right now. They are a true embarrassment. All I hear is this continued nonsense about election fraud and rigged elections, and the first chance they get they LITERALLY rig an election.” – Muth’s Truths reader
“I have always been a Trump supporter, but am not happy with the current nonsense going on with the Primary vs the Caucus. I feel my vote is being stolen by thugs.” – Muth’s Truths reader
“We would support Trump IF he were the nominee. However, we don’t want the Nevada GOP to make that decision for us. We want the choice in a fair election which seems not to be happening.” – Muth’s Truths reader
“Once again, the knuckleheads leading the Nevada GOP have struck a blow for the Democraps. I have not made up my mind who should carry the torch for President but it will not be someone shoved down my throat by party hacks.” – Muth’s Truths reader
“I find the lack of trust in the Republican electorate an outrageous breach of the concept behind elections and majority rule. Shame on the NV Republican Party for operating in such an oppressive, dismissive and evil manner.” – Muth’s Truths reader
“The potential for confusion is significant. I like caucuses over primaries. I’m just not a fan of doing both. It’s very confusing for Joe public, who doesn’t pay close attention to this stuff.” – Former Clark County GOP Chairman Dave Gibbs
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.