It’s that time of the year again, Nevada. With only about six weeks left until Election Day, Republicans and Democrats are pulling out all the stops to excite their respective voters and turn them out. At Las Vegas Convention Center, President Donald Trump implored upon his supporters to support Senator Dean Heller and Danny Tarkanian (R). Just a few hours earlier, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) met with Culinary Union members just down the street and gave them a pep talk before they went out to knock doors for her.
We listened to Trump make his case, and we spoke with Rosen about the case she has to make, particularly on immigration reform. Suffice to say, she doesn’t agree with Trump and Heller on shutting down the federal government for border wall funding.
What did Trump say about Jacky Rosen last night, and how much of it was actually true?
As was par for the course at a Trump rally, he didn’t let actual facts get in the way of his “alternative facts”. He attacked Rosen as being “represented by the extreme liberal values of her out-of-state donors”, even though he was the one who flew to Nevada to do a private high-dollar fundraiser for Heller and Tarkanian later today. Trump also repeated his favorite lines about immigrants and “sanctuary cities”, even though there’s no evidence pointing to higher crime as a result of more humane policies. Trump attacked Rosen for not wanting to debate Heller, even though Rosen proposed three debates and Heller has thus far only accepted two. Trump even pounced on Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s (R) favorite pastime of attacking the State of California, yet for all their tough talk on “law and order”, neither said anything about Laxalt’s multiple traffic tickets.
When it came time, Trump used one of his favorite xenophobic insults against Rosen: “Jacky Rosen voted for criminal aliens, against veterans. [She voted] for criminal aliens, against the citizens of this country.”
Not only did Trump lie about the Veterans Administration and Rosen’s initial vote against a bill (though she voted for the later bipartisan compromise legislation) that the Trump administration is now using against federal civil servants, but he also omitted a key detail in his rant about his desired border wall. Last night Trump exclaimed, “We want that wall. I can knock it out, because that’s what I do. I build.” What Trump forgot to mention was that Mexico will not pay for “The Wall”, as he promised during his 2016 campaign, so he’s instead threatening to shut down the federal government in his latest attempt to force Congress to appropriate $25 billion in American taxpayer dollars for “The Wall”.
“All of this is due to Donald Trump’s and Jeff Sessions’ reckless and mean policies. […] We should have oversight of ICE so we don’t have any more of this going forward.”
– Rep. Jacky Rosen
Hours before Trump took the stage at Las Vegas Convention Center, Rosen rallied Culinary Union members just before they went out to canvass. And just before she left Culinary, Rosen spoke with us about “The Wall”, the federal budget, and immigration reform.
On Trump’s latest shutdown threat, Rosen wasn’t having it: “I can tell you the President will be making a large mistake if he attempts to force a border wall. Right now, we need to keep the government open. We need to work on a comprehensive plan.”
Even though Trump has claimed Rosen doesn’t support border security, Rosen’s actual record says otherwise, even to the point of frustrating some local progressives due to her recent vote in support of ICE. But when we asked about ICE yesterday, Rosen echoed the call to rein in the abuses and reform the system that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D) made last month: “All of this is due to Donald Trump’s and Jeff Sessions’ reckless and mean policies. Let’s be clear about that, but we should have oversight of ICE so we don’t have any more of this going forward.” She added, “We need to have better oversight, and the Trump administration needs to stop with these policies.”
So if Trump’s “red wave” fails to materialize and Democrats instead ride a “blue wave” into the majority in one or both houses of Congress, then what? For Rosen, “I think everyone’s really tired of kids being used as a bargaining chip, so we need to [pass the DREAM Act] right away and get that off the table. We had a discharge petition to pass a clean DREAM Act. We needed 218, and we got 216, just two votes shy. If we get a majority, I believe we can get it done.”
“I want to help make Nevada a place where my family can feel safe. More importantly, I want to make this a place I feel proud to call home.”
– Alfonso Maciel, Culinary Union
Also at Culinary, we spoke with Alfonso Maciel, a line cook at Excalibur and Culinary Union member, about what he’s seeing in his community. Just before Trump declared that he and Heller “love each other”, Maciel spoke of how his loved ones inspired him to take action: “I have a lot of family who are immigrants and undocumented. I saw a fear that I had only heard of, but never experienced. They were afraid to go out of town, or even afraid to leave their own homes.”
“That inspired something in me to make a difference. I want to help make Nevada a place where my family can feel safe. More importantly, I want to make this a place I feel proud to call home.”
Perhaps the only thing everyone seemed to agree upon yesterday was the importance of Nevadans’ votes. At Culinary, Maciel and other union members were preparing canvass packets to send out with members. And at the Convention Center, Trump repeatedly urged the crowd to “go vote” when early voting begins next month.
Or perhaps there’s one more thing they all agreed upon. According to Trump, “With Dean, we can count on him. With Jacky, she’s never going to vote for us.” With Trump’s popularity on the wane both in Nevada and nationally, Democrats probably don’t mind that analogy… And immigrant rights activists are hoping it will actually come to fruition should Rosen win the Senate race.