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Ralston And Sebelius On Rooftop Solar, The Mormon Vote And Why Trump Sounds Like Sharron Angle

A lot has happened this week in politics. 


The Nevada Supreme Court tossed out a ballot measure for rooftop solar; echoes of Sharron Angle were channeled through Donald Trump; and will anyone talk real issues in the race for U.S. Senate? 

Here's what our analysts Jon Ralston and Steve Sebelius had to say.


On rooftop solar initiative being tossed off the ballot:

Sebelius: There is definitely more to come. This is not the end of the situation at all. This was not a usual decision.

There have been many initiatives throw off the ballot for the same reason. This just happens to be an especially egregious case of description of an effect of an initiative that really was misleading and didn’t give voters the proper notice to what they were signing.

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In your Reno Gazette-Journal column, you wrote that the parties are trying too hard to equate Joe Heck to Trump, and Catherine Cortez Masto to Harry Reid. Why is this strategy a bad one for both parties?

Ralston: I didn’t say it was necessarily bad. It may work. It’s just very obnoxious and to use Donald Trump’s word “sad” that they have to do that. It has essentially amounted to a Donald Trump versus Harry Reid race.

Joe Heck has very little in common with Donald Trump. Even though he hasn’t – I do fault him for this – disavowed Trump like anyone should have by now. They tried to tie him to Trump on immigration, which is just ludicrous.

On the other hand, this patronizing campaign toward Catherine Cortez Masto by Heck – essentially saying she’s Harry Reid’s handpicked choice, his handmaiden, as if she couldn’t make a decision on her own. She has wanted to run for the U.S. Senate for some time. But both campaigns know that Harry Reid has very high negatives here and Donald Trump has very high negatives so they’ve been doing a lot of that.

How important is the Mormon vote – I ask because Hillary Clinton just had an editorial published in the Deseret News, which is published by the Mormon Church. Does she have a chance with that group of voters, who are traditionally very conservative?

Sebelius: Surprisingly, I think she might. The reason came up in a conversation I had with one prominent Mormon elected official who said members of his church have a long history of being persecuted and discriminated against - literally chased in the founding days of that religion state to state by people who thought it was odd and the practices were certainly not conventional.

They have developed as a result a real appreciation that when someone says, ‘we should ban all ___ from coming into our country.’ I think that is one of the reasons there may be an opening there for people, who as P.J. O’Rourke said, ‘don’t think Hillary Clinton is right, but at least she’s wrong within normal perimeters.’

On where the stadium plans stand now:

Ralston: I think the easiest hurdle - although it’s not that easy - is getting approved by the panel at some point. Although, I think that is in jeopardy as well. The panel meets two weeks from today. They’ve been having these private meetings both down here and I learned this week up in Reno, talking to local officials about a potential training field up there may be at a UNR’s campus, maybe at a rodeo venue but they’re doing that strategically because they need Northern Nevada legislators to have a reason to vote for what will amount to a tax increase in a special session.

The problem that they have is that they’re sticking by their $750 million in public money, room tax – tourist tax, depending on your perspective – how you describe it and I don’t think that’s going to fly with the governor, who would have to call a special session and with some key members of that committee. Steve Sisolak as you indicated said he would not go for that much money. Maybe a third of it being paid for by public money, yeah I suppose. And if they keep making this thing more and more expensive maybe $750 million will be a third of it.

But that’s only part of the problem, they have to get it through the Legislature, which I think the Sands folks believe they have the votes. Now, I’m not sure if they do or not. But you’ve got a bunch of legislative leaders making ridiculous appearances in a promotional video for it that Adelson made.

But if they don’t have the special session before the election, which the governor is not inclined to do, it is going to be a completely different matrix.

Then the biggest hurdle of all will be the NFL owners, who will meet in January. And they need to get two-thirds of them – 24 of 32. That is far from a done deal. If they don’t get it done at that owners’ meeting. It is gone for year, which may be… it’s gone  

Donald Trump suggested that "second amendment people" could act against Hillary Clinton. That reminded you of former Republican senate candidate Sharron Angle. Why? 

Ralston: Who could forget ‘Second Amendment remedies?’ Which was interpreted back in 2010, when Angle said it, as her call for an armed insurrection against Congress. Different than Trump who essentially - a lot of people thought – was saying that after the election there is only one way for the “Second Amendment people” to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing judges that would be adverse to their cause.

Don’t forgot Sharron Angle appeared on stage with Donald Trump at an event in South Carolina, I believe, about six months ago. They are similar in many ways I think.


Jon Ralston, columnist, Reno Gazette Journal and KTNV journalist; Steve Sebelius, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist and host of Politics Now on KLAS

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