Presidential election years typically see a depressed voter turnout in the primaries and Nevada is no exception. Plus, the celebrity death match this year, Sen. Dean Heller vs. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, has already escalated to general election status so even more Nevada voters may skip the voting booth on Tuesday.
This Senate race is shaping up to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and unfortunately the voters will get impatient quickly. The ads, mailers and billboards are just getting started but considering the fact that nobody in this state has forgotten the carnival freak show that was the 2010 Senate race between Sen. Harry Reid and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (I don’t utter her name after reading those books about that boy wizard) the electorate will have much less tolerance for uber-negative campaigns. Is this going to stop Berkley and Heller from taking the race to full-blown demolition derby status? Methinks not.
Although I don’t necessarily disagree with the average voter’s view of negative campaigns, I am shocked and saddened at the number of voters who proudly exclaim that because of the sludge fest they are not going to vote. You might think that by not voting, you’re going to send some sort of message.
News flash kids — you’re not. Not voting is the same as casting a vote for the crazy you hate because elections are won based on votes tallied, not votes lost.
Local candidates are working every day for your vote, and most of them don’t have the huge campaign war chests necessary to inundate you with ads, mailers and paid walkers like in the presidential race. Just because they don’t have slick D.C. strategy firms in their pocket doesn’t mean they aren’t every bit as important as the big guys.
When it comes to who affects your daily life, you should be paying much more attention to the local races before looking at candidates for offices such as U.S. Senate. Do you know who your candidates are for city council, state Assembly or state Senate? State Board of Education, perhaps?
It’s all too easy to listen to the spin machines that ruthlessly point fingers at the faceless Burberry suits in D.C. as the reason for all of our problems, but many of them are much more localized. Every day, the actions of people like your city councilor affect you more directly than anything done by Sen. Heller or President Obama. They pass laws today that affect your life tomorrow, and although they may not have fancy names like “The New Deal” or “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” their effect on your life is more immediate, more direct, more costly and more profound.
Remember, the Assembly and Senate control the state budget, and your local tax rates. There are eminently qualified candidates running for these seats, and they deserve your consideration. The best advice I can give is to get to know their positions and why they have them. Do you know what a county commissioner does? Your university regent? No? Well, contact them. Read their websites. Many of them have published editorials in local newspapers or on social media sites. Ask them point blank what they want to do to make Nevada a better place and why they deserve your vote. Take two minutes to read the flyers left on your doorstep, or if a volunteer shows up offering a pamphlet about someone such as a city council candidate, take it, thank them for caring about our state and read what it has to say. Lastly, call the Republican headquarters at 827-1900 and the Democratic headquarters at 323-8683 and ask them for information about each candidate. They will be happy to share with you.
The only way to make your voice heard is by casting your vote this Tuesday. Speak up, Nevada. Speak up!
Sean Cary is a local business owner, freelance writer, host of “Week in Review” heard on Fox News Radio 99.1 FM and pundit on the television show “Nevada Newsmakers.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his blog at www.seancary.com.