Take it home
Here are our endorsements for the 2016 election. We haven’t endorsed in every race, particularly not in those races that aren’t competitive.
President of the United States
Donald Trump is the fundamental issue of this year’s presidential campaign. He has made himself such. In 1866, the U.S. Supreme Court said the United States has a government of laws and not of people because the public “has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers, sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln.” That language should suggest something to most voters who have observed Trump in 2015 and 2016. His early and admirable economic populism gave way to bigotry and recklessness, contempt for Latinos, Islam, women.
On issues the divisions are pretty clear.
Trump: $10 (bragged about not paying those who worked for him).
Clinton: supporter, for decades. Trump: supporter, for decades; opponent, lately.
Clinton: Expand the Affordable Care Act, encourages states to expand Medicaid.
Trump: Repeal ACA, encourages states to expand Medicaid, opposes any national health care plan.
Clinton: Will propose comprehensive changes, if Congress will pass them.
Trump: The wall, deportations.
It’s easy to draw conclusions from issues like these. Then there are the intangibles that motivate our votes—trust, allegiance to principle, character.
We know Hillary Clinton isn’t the ideal candidate. We have legitimate concerns about her hawkishness and her lack of transparency, among other things. But, she’s also an experienced, capable, thoughtful leader. She’s fearless but even-keeled, determined but open-minded—unusual and inspiring combinations. And although she wouldn’t have been our first pick to break the glass ceiling—Elizabeth Warren springs to mind—the historic nature of her candidacy is undeniably exciting. And the available alternative is absurd and horrifying. And there is something delicious about Donald Trump being defeated by a woman.
The Democrats, of course, are arrogant and insufferable in saying that voting for Clinton is the only way to vote against Trump, but this is the real world. Though the Democrats characterize your vote as “A vote for [third party candidate here] is a vote for Trump,” in fact, you decide what your vote means.
Given Gary Johnson’s libertarian platform with its support for abortion and marijuana, he could pull as many Democratic votes as Republican, and Clinton already has a leg up in Nevada because Jill Stein and the Greens failed to gain ballot status. If Clinton cannot win this election after the easy mark the Republicans gave her, it’s not the voters’ fault.
If you really can’t bring yourself to vote for Clinton, find a way to vote against Trump. Any vote not cast for Trump is one less vote in his tally—Gary Johnson, None Of These Candidates, whatever.U.S. Senate
Catherine Cortez MastoU.S. House
H. D. “Chip” Evans
Rep. Mark Amodei is a climate change denier so extreme that he voted to bar the Defense Department—which does believe in climate change—from even reporting its findings, so if something like smallpox, against which society no longer has a defense, re-emerges from the permafrost (see http://tinyurl.com/gromdba), remember that Amodei not only did nothing to stop it but hindered those who tried.Nevada Senate
Devon ReeseNevada Assembly
Richard “Skip” DalySchool board
Katy Simon HollandReno Municipal Court
Shelly O’NeillReno City Council
A consultant and the Reno Gazette-Journal have invented a “dysfunctional” Reno City Council. This city has seen dysfunctional city councils before, and this one isn’t it. With the exception of Neoma Jardon, all of the members work well together. But unlike passive and developer-driven councils of the past, its members will not just rubber stamp anything. As exemplified by Jenny Brekhus, Naomi Duerr and Paul McKenzie, this council hashes things out, mixes it up with staff, and scrutinizes projects before letting them go forward. At the Reno City Council, there is nothing like the Nevada Legislature’s approval of a stadium without having full feasibility known. Earlier councils who liked the staff to do the governing are a thing of the past. Developers must make their cases and not win with grease jobs, which bugs Jardon. Brekhus has led that process with toughness and skill and should be returned to office. Vote for her as many times as you can get away with.
David BobzienSparks City Council
Denise LopezWashoe County Commission
County Commission District 1
State Question 1
Question 1 would extend the scope of background check requirements to include firearm transfers between people who don’t hold federal firearms licenses. There’s a lot of misinformation from both sides of this debate. Will this measure stop every person who isn’t supposed to have a gun from getting one? No. But it may stop some of them. And that’s a hell of a lot better than none of them. All it does is bring some gun purchases or transfers not already covered by background checks under that practice—and not all of them. How burdensome. If gun owners find this minor, narrow, limited, sensible measure so disturbing, it speaks volumes about what it takes to get them concerned. They need to look to their public image—if this dinky change alarms them, what doesn’t alarm them? Why the hair trigger on their panic buttoms?
State Question 2
Question 2 would legalize recreational marijuana for Nevadans 21 and older. The War on Drugs has done as much damage to the United States and its citizens as has any other war. It has destroyed lives, torn apart families with lengthy incarcerations, led to the militarization of foreign drug cartels, and, as detailed in this week’s cover story, it has left many American voters disenfranchised.
Alcohol prohibition, which lasted in the U.S. from 1920 to 1933, is now widely seen as a huge mistake that did enormous damage to this country. Future generations will look back on marijuana prohibition with the same perspective. Those future generations might well ask, why were citizens paying foreign criminals instead of locally owned, tax-paying businesses?
The anti-marijuana propaganda now proliferating around the state can all be traced back to companies that profit from other vices—alcohol, gambling and most especially opioid-producing pharmaceutical companies. For the record, all of those things are more dangerous and more destructive than marijuana. They are also all legal. And should be legal. And so should marijuana.
State Question 3
State Question 4
Both of these questions suffer from the same flaw. They insert language unnecessarily into the Nevada Constitution, making it difficult for the legislaure to correct mistakes. The state would be saddled with any errors for at least five years. And for no good reasons—neither a sales tax exemption for medical devices nor a change in the regulatory setup for electric utilities belong in a constitution, as the lobby groups that put them on the ballot know perfectly well. They belong in statutes, which can be corrected more easily and simply.
Washoe County Question 1
This would be at least the eighth sales tax hike in Washoe County, six of them for schools. Despite its obnoxious, cheerful branding as the “Save our Schools” tax, this isn’t a vote about whether schools are worth saving, but is instead about whether a sales tax, that most regressive and backwards of all revenue-generators this side of beating up poor kids and stealing their lunch money, proposed by an unelected business-dominated committee, is the right way to do it. It’s not. Recent RG-J essays by EDAWN’s Mike Kazmierski and school district CEO Pete Etchart did not even deign to address the regressiveness issue. But the problem is that the schools do need help, and if Nevada’s legislators and billionaires are going to give away money to a damn football team instead, then it’s up to the rest of us to pick up the slack. But we don’t have to like it. We’re reminded of Leo Tolstoy: “I sit on a man’s back, choking him, and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except getting off his back.” Some of us are going to hold our nose and vote in favor of this tax, but we feel conflicted, frustrated and disgusted enough to refrain from endorsing.