The Trump/Heck ticket

With people like Joe Heck and Donald Trump in politics, the word despicable is starting to lose all meaning. Run a search for the name Donald Trump together with the word despicable and you get 1,090,000 hits. We were actually surprised there were so few. Run the search using Joe Heck and the word despicable and you get 4,110.

For anyone who knew Heck when he was younger, this is cause for sadness. A decent, moderate Republican in the Nevada Legislature who served in Iraq, he was admired in both parties. But under today’s election laws, Republicans cannot raise the kind of money needed to run for federal offices without getting their views in line with groups like the Club for Growth, American Crossroads, National Defense PAC. So Heck dashed right for his House runs, shedding his moderation and deportment.

Still, even for Heck II, his feeble lassitude when his supporters are willing to wield rape as a political weapon, accusing Catherine Cortez Masto of being uninformed about untested county rape kits, is an affront to Nevadans. It is perhaps too much to expect that the Heck-supporting Senate Leadership Fund, headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia, would know anything about Nevada’s highly decentralized criminal justice system. If so, its officers might know that a Nevada attorney general has very little to do with offenses like rape. The AG doesn’t prosecute except in limited cases involving state government employees or prison inmates. Why would she know about rape kits? But those are facts and nuances, and Heck and his cronies are all about pushing emotional buttons. We know the rape spots are independent, but that is getting to be a weak excuse, like the piano player in a cathouse saying he doesn’t know what’s going on upstairs.

Then there is Trump. For the second time in this campaign, he has subtly suggested that someone kill Hillary Clinton. Oh, we know—that is putting it pretty raw. But we’re not willing to couch this hoodlum’s dangerous words in sugar. Whatever one can say of Hillary Clinton—and we could say a lot—she and her supporters keep trying to get the campaign onto an issues track and into restrained language and behavior. Trump and his co-conspirators have so little self-control that, where Heck embarrasses Nevada, Trump embarrasses the United States of America.

There are weak minds in this society that, as we have seen too many times in the past, take suggestions seriously. When someone tried to kill a Nevada judge in 2006, we reported on how much online positive reinforcement was available to the attempted killer from men’s rights supporters who poured their venom about the judge online (“Attack on Weller ignites web hatred,” RN&R, June 15, 2006). Author Robert Donovan once wrote, “Think of the vitriol Booth must have heard poured upon Lincoln’s name year after year by the Copperheads in the North! … Let us remember the harsh attacks on John F. Kennedy in the South, even in Dallas.”

Those of us who are weary of polarization, of bile and malice, of overstatement and hyperbole should keep in mind that whatever four years of Clinton will mean, Trump means four years of being pitted against each other, of excessive language and polarization. That is what we need to get away from, not what we need to continue.