Our intrepid intern's notes from the Republican election watching party, Part One
The GOP of Nevada is a funny group: They’re eternally hopeful and incredibly cynical at the same time. On one hand they are sad Obama’s policies have failed, and on the other, they hope Romney’s policies may revitalize the area.
A bit of background first: Nevada is in a tough spot with 11% unemployment and 22% of property mortgages under water. The people, I learned today, are increasingly frustrated in the government’s failure to stop these issues and claim to have given up hope on President Obama. Though Nevada is a swing state with only 6 electoral votes, the population exemplifies what many Americans need to deal with. The Federal government has proven itself weak here, and the message has largely remained unchanged.
Enter the Grand Ol’ Party. The Republicans of Nevada met Tuesday to watch the election results come in and they actually were not as crazy as some had made them seem. Surprisingly, they were relatively moderate and quite open to the idea of Obama taking the Presidency for another four years. Sure, there were a few really intense Tea Partiers, but that was expected.
So expected was the Tea Party “fuck you and your government” attitude that the lack thereof left the election party quite, well, boring. People were willing to listen and at the same time complain; they were willing to negotiate and find a way out of the mess that is Nevada. They did not want to go toward the right; they did not want to associate with the Tea Party.
The GOP in Nevada had been pulled too far to the right by local grass root organizations. You could see that the GOP wanted to be moderate, but you could see that the Tea Party had made it difficult. One such example was the campaign of Dr. Joe Heck. Dr. Heck was one hell of a guy apparently: he had been a moderate Republican in the State Senate and had been elected to represent Nevada’s 3rd District in Congress.
Heck had run a slightly more conservative campaign early in the election season, but slowly moved to the middle to accommodate his constituents. In doing so, the local Tea Party group, Grassroots Nevada, dropped their support of Heck and quickly denounced his campaign. You see, this is the Tea Party’s signature move: Stay strictly conservative - don’t waiver in your rightist beliefs at all, and we’ll support you. If you move slightly to the left, or suggest a tax, you’re out. Dr. Heck was out.
In Nevada, much of the population is “out.” Nevadans are not Tea Partiers. They are beaten down believers in their state. They are struggling to understand why the Federal government has all but left them high and dry. They wonder when positive change will come their way, and tonight I learned that they’re willing to give Mitt Romney a try.
Naturally, the Tea Party won’t give up. Sure, their message is bat shit crazy and few can relate to anything they stand for, but the Tea Party lives on. Tonight was supposedly the launch party for the Tea Party News Network, though I was unable to locate the grand party advertised on their website. To clarify, yes: the Tea Party now has an official news network. I was only able to find a few poorly shot YouTube videos of interviews with racists, so I’m sure they’re not doing much. But I digress. The Tea Party in Nevada is a simply a specter of the Republican Party.
Obama has won Nevada. The six electoral votes are his. The people, I believe, still have hope and really want answers. In voting for Obama, Nevada has essentially granted the President a huge second chance. The people, exhausted from hoping so much for something good, continue to find something to believe in.
In his next term, Obama will need to reckon with Nevada and help them in a very direct way. The Tea Party will fade quickly (shitty videos and all), but uncertainty and distrust will not. As the country moves forward in the next four years, we cannot forget those who live in the Silver State. We have before, and look what happened: A really shitty GOP party with some really melancholy Republicans.
We simply can’t have that happen again. I just won’t go.