In his Oct. 28 column, Jim Hartman tries to highlight all the problems caused by Nevada’s legislature meddling in the Republican Party’s presidential nominating process by imposing what he admits is a meaningless “beauty contest” primary.
The surprising part is he supports not the GOP, but rather big government Democrats who decided to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a new, third election in presidential years, replacing far less expensive and more efficient caucuses that the parties themselves have been conducting for decades.
The only presidential primaries in Nevada history were held in 1912, 1976, 1980 and 1996. After these experiments, the Legislature quickly returned to the caucus process because Nevadans don’t want taxpayer dollars wasted on meaningless beauty contests with low turnout, and believe the parties should control their nominating process.
Maybe Hartman’s support of Democrats isn’t too surprising – he’s a former vice chairman of the California GOP, representing the Berkeley area, hardly a bastion of conservatism.
Hartman shows his bias against the GOP by accusing the party of causing the “disastrous results” of recent election cycles. Hartman isn’t involved in Nevada Republican party politics, so maybe he doesn’t understand the job of the party is to turn out voters, which the GOP has done more successfully than Democrats recently.
He’s likely unaware that in the 2022 election, the Nevada GOP’s data-driven field program turned out more voters than the Democrats – 28,000 more Republicans voted statewide. GOP legislative candidates in contested races received 21,000 more total votes than Democrat candidates.
Democrats ended up with a supermajority in the Assembly and nearly a supermajority in the Senate, but that was due to partisan Democrat gerrymandering.
The Democrat legislature, with literally zero Republican support, imposed universal mail ballots, allowed ballots to be received for almost a week after election day, legalized the former felony of ballot harvesting, and have steadfastly refused to consider common sense security measures like Voter ID, even knowing it’s supported by a majority of Nevadans.
Even before these changes, it was easier to vote in Nevada than almost anywhere else. That’s likely why Democrat reforms haven’t produced any measurable increase in voter turnout since they were imposed, demonstrating Hartman’s false assertion the primary will have higher turnout than the caucus.
By law, Republicans are forced to play by Democrat rules in the June primary and the November general election. The Nevada GOP has introduced programs like Bank Your Vote to win under these rules. Hartman, however, inexplicably suggests the GOP should just roll over and accept the optional presidential primary, when, unlike in June or November, the party isn’t forced to pick the GOP nominee using Democrat rules.
The Nevada GOP will instead show legislative Democrats how to hold a secure and transparent election using paper ballots and voter ID, producing results same day that are verifiable by every caucus participant. The costs are covered by the candidates, who benefit from earning delegates, instead of taxpayers, as any true fiscal conservative would prefer.
Finally, Hartman suggests the only reason Republicans are having a caucus is to benefit Trump, a laughable assertion. The GOP nominated presidential candidates by caucus long before Trump, and will do so long after he’s gone. Hartman may be upset Trump is leading polls by double digits in most states, regardless of whether they hold primaries or caucuses, but that just proves that even if the party wanted Trump to win, it’s not in the party’s interest to put a thumb on the scale for him in Nevada.
The caucus puts the choice of Nevada’s nominees in the hands of voters and we look forward to their decision because any of the GOP candidates is far better than Joe Biden.
Jim DeGraffenreid is a national committeeman for the Nevada Republican Party. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.