A bad match
Despite our political differences, I always enjoyed your company in Carson City. You were friendly and easy to work with, and you had a wicked sense of humor. I remember once we were both at a legislative meeting in an unlikely place, and our plane home was late. We visited for several hours that afternoon over beers at the airport bar, some serious conversation punctuated with lots of laughter as you poked fun at our political colleagues whose opinion of themselves soared with every election.
It was obvious you cared deeply about Nevada, but you never took yourself all that seriously. I appreciated your humility and openness. I never got the sense you thought you had all the answers.
Then you went to Congress and just like Dean Heller, you morphed into a person I hardly recognized, taking far-right positions that I scarcely believed you embraced. I understand that to be a Republican in Washington these days means you must abandon the common-sense middle and constantly retreat to a partisan position, but that’s not compatible with the problem-solver you used to be. When you expressed a desire to move back to Nevada sooner rather than later, I certainly understood.
But now you’ve crossed a boundary that belies your intelligence, becoming the state chair of the Trump campaign. It’s shocking, really, since I know you don’t concur with Trump’s racist, sexist and incoherent positions. You’re much too smart for that. Trump seems like someone you would delight in skewering, citing his pathological lying, his misogyny, his racist tendencies, his reality-show personality and his inane policies.
I know Trump wasn’t your first or even second choice in the Republican primaries, as you supported Jeb Bush and then Marco Rubio. Earlier in the campaign cycle you told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Trump would either be the next messiah or a smoking black hole in the ground. Can we now assume you think he’s our Savior? You told the RG-J that you’re leading his campaign to better position Nevada in the game of political favors, but to millions of women, Latinos and African-Americans, Trump’s leadership is no game.
On your Facebook page, “Amodei for Nevada,” there’s a raging battle over your decision to lead the Trump campaign in Nevada, with many of your former supporters declaring they’ll never vote for you again. Other Republican stalwarts applaud your decision. The dialogue between you and your high school government teacher is especially revealing. Your angry defensiveness suggests you too have doubts about the wisdom of a President Trump, as you hang your hat on your promise to support the party’s nominee. I’ve rarely seen you so thin-skinned.
How can you stomach it? Setting politics aside, how can you lead a campaign for a man who uses vulgar, violent language against women suggesting that his power and celebrity entitle him to use their bodies for his own gratification?
How can you endorse a businessman who delights in cheating his workers by paying them a fraction of what he owes, claiming he didn’t like their work so they deserved less than what he promised to pay? A businessman who loses $916 million one year and probably avoids income tax for decades.
How can you subject Nevada to an administration run by this charlatan? His remarks are not hyperbole as you suggest, but more indicative of a man who is morally bankrupt.
I understand that the small counties keep your House district safely Republican, and you only fear a challenge from the right. But defending Trump leaves a lasting black mark on your political legacy.
There’s still time to renounce him, Mark. Do it for Nevada. Do it for your daughters. Do it for yourself.