Our intrepid intern's notes from the Republican election watching party, Part Two
I go inside and look around. I'm looking for Tea Party conservatives - the Tea Party News Network in particular. It's their launch party, supposedly, and I'm here to crash it.
All I find is a large room: tables, chairs, and food are everywhere. It's empty, save for the talking heads on the projector screens from Fox News. They're currently discussing how Mitt Romney may win the election. It's fucking awesome and awful at the same time.
This is a political nerd's dream: an election viewing/media kick-off party with bartenders and media and speeches and important people and to top it all off, I'm in Las Vegas.
What's not to like about now? What's not to admire and appreciate?
For one, the silence. I'm here early, and the huge room is filled with a silence that seems to scare me into talking. There's real media here (I'm just an intern.) There will be real Republicans here (I'm unaffiliated.) There is real election going on. And all I hear is silence.
So I talk. A lot. Quickly. And it's awkward. But people begin to shuffle in and the media start to assemble in their booths. The news is loud now in order to be heard over the dull murmur (though I'll admit it still sounds like bullshit to me.) People are taking their places. The crowd begins to settle into their chairs.
I'm forced to talk to people and act like a journalist. I have a mic and nervously ask to take a moment of a woman's time. She obliges. She wants to talk and I find that now, I do too.
We chat about anything but politics initially, but then I go in for the kill. I ask about Romney and why she chose him over Obama. I get a rather unsurprising reply: "Obama has simply failed to deliver." But there's more. "I like Obama, but Nevada cannot afford to give him another chance."
Cannot afford to give Obama another chance? Why not? Oh. The unemployment rate. The underwater mortgages. Makes sense.
I move on.
Another table, this time occupied by veterans of World War II. They aren't here for anything but the food it seems. They are quiet, though relaxed and seem to care for nothing on the screens in front of them.
I struggle to hear their answers as to why they voted for Romney and I forgot to turn on the mic. I'm still nervous, but I'm on a mission here. The gentlemen talk about Obama's seeming disinterest to veterans' benefits and that's all they care about. A simple lack of attention to their issue. Foreign policy? They don't care. Health coverage? Not of interest. Pro-choice policies and gay rights? There are more important things to deal with. Like Obama's lack of focus to care for our veterans at home.
It's that simple.
Now I'm depressed and nervous. Cold hands, sweaty palms; I feel like I'm at the fucking prom again. So I move on.
The last group I speak in earnest to are a group of women whose interests and opinions differ wildly. I ask what is important to them and I hear all sorts of issues: the lack of attention to Nevada's unemployment; the bureaucracy's disfunctionalities in giving people the help they need (financially and otherwise.) One woman simply dislikes the banks (but oddly enough encourages big business.)
These women are well founded in their beliefs and refer to Romney's win as "when it happens", not "if." Encouraging, if anything, right?
Remembering I'm here to crash a Tea Party News Network launch party, I question everyone I meet as to where the Tea Partiers are. There are none, they say. As discussed in Part 1, I learn that there really are few truly right-wing conservatives. Most are simply tired liberals who are out of chances to give out.
I fall back and regroup. I'm less nervous now, but I feel like I've missed the whole point in coming here. I didn't find the Tea Party and instead found a bunch of somber, but pleasant Republicans. They don't hate Obama, but they don't trust him either. They don't seem too conservative, but it's clear "liberal" policies have failed.
And there I am in a huge room, out my league and out of ideas surrounded by a Party I never really identified with. The Republican Party is not so bad after all, I learn. And really, they just want something good to happen to their State.
I can't blame them. As I leave, a Dr. Heck supporter hands me a sign. "Heck for Congress" it reads. I look him up on my iPhone. Shit. I'd vote for him; he's not that bad of a guy.
I want to go away from the non-Tea Party News Network launch party. It has done nothing but educate me, and here I was thinking I knew it all.
I walk back down the Strip digesting what I learned today, and come to understand that Nevada isn't opposed to four more years of Obama. Instead, Nevada is opposed to four more years of worry and regret, which is what Obama seemingly brought them.
Looking up as I walk into the Cosmo, I see Obama has won the election. Within the hour, Nevada is confirmed to have voted for Obama, 54% of voters in favor of another term. I smile to myself.
It would seem that Nevada is willing to give him another crack at solving their problems. And I sincerely hope he does.