Somehow - someway - Las Vegas finds its way into national news, even when the national news has nothing to do with Las Vegas.
President Donald Trump name-checked Las Vegas in a speech this past weekend at Mt. Rushmore. The speech began with an Independence Day-theme then descended into what critics are calling a divisive screed against Democrats with the election now just four months away.
Why mention Las Vegas? State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith finds himself wondering much of the same thing.
“He was basically taking a little trip across American history, reminding people of these great accomplishments and then, of course, conflating that with the threat tearing down Confederate monuments is to the American public, and of course, be very afraid the Democrats and the leftists and etc,” Smith said.
Besides putting the building of Las Vegas alongside the greatest accomplishments in the country's history, the president has a lot of friends in Las Vegas, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
“The fascinating thing about it is – of course – is that there would be no Donald Trump without Sheldon Adelson’s investment in Donald Trump," Smith said.
Smith said that Adelson brought a boost of money to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump has done what he could to do with respect to Adelson's agenda, especially when it came to Israel.
While President Trump might have the backing of the biggest names in gaming, Smith is not sure he'll have the backing of the people of Nevada.
A recent story in Politico said the Trump Campaign was looking at Nevada as one of the states it would need to win the Electoral College.
Smith said the campaign is looking to Nevada because it is losing states they won in 2016 and he is not sure they'll get the Silver State.
“Trump was fairly competitive in Nevada. He lost Nevada to Hillary Clinton. It’s clearly indicated, because of voter registration, that Republicans are going to have a hard time doing anything in Nevada in this upcoming election,” he said.
Another thing that could work against the president winning Nevada is his threat against the state a few months ago over its use of mail-in ballots. Smith said whether that resonants depends on which camp a voter belongs to. He believes a bigger problem will be the president's response to the pandemic.
“Trump is going to pound away at, ‘Be very afraid of the American traditions. They’re all at stake if I lose the election.’ And that plays to his base," he said, "Everyone seems to agree on that but will they also remember this nightmarish effort with the coronavirus pandemic? I tend to think that’s on peoples’ minds these days. I think that will outweigh a lot of whatever the other scare tactics are.”
STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has joined Senator Elizabeth Warren on a bill that would help students pay down their student debt by allowing them to refinance to a lower interest rate through a new loan system.
“It probably doesn’t have much chance to get a whole lot of traction right now,” Smith said.
He noted most people in Washington, D.C., have other things on their minds right now.
Smith said the issue should be apolitical, especially when you look at the crushing student debt that a lot of people are burdened with. He thinks a solution to the student debt crisis is a good message for an election year and for a year that has been so filled with divisiveness and uncertainty.
“This is the kind of message that the Democrats need to forward that they’re actually in it for all people, all the working people. This loan bank idea is one that certainly plays to that,” he said.
John L. Smith, contributor
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