As 2022 approaches, things look bleak for Democrats in several states. Of the typical swing states, they may be bleakest in Nevada.
Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent is raising the alarm about Democrats leaving the party, noting that Democrats are seeing nearly three times as many defections as Republicans over the last three months. Ralston says that the numbers are “relatively small,” given how many voters are in the state, “but if this pattern continues well into 2022, it could well be the canary in the coal mine for a red wave.”
Ralston also says that the “Biden brand” is proving more toxic than former President Donald Trump in Nevada as of now. That’s borne out by the polling: President Joe Biden’s approval is underwater among all registered Nevada voters (-3) and among suburban voters (-13). Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak trails former GOP Sen. Dean Heller by 7 percentage points in a recent poll, and the Cook Political Report has recently moved both the governor’s race and the Senate race toward the GOP, classifying both as toss-ups.
2022 Nevada Governor— InteractivePolls (@PollsandOdds) December 8, 2021
(R) Heller 47% (+7)
(D) *Sisolak 40%
Trafalgar Poll | 1,034 LV | 11/24-11/29
Sample: D41/I22/R37https://t.co/xCUR4pE8wX pic.twitter.com/xFqUsZY7zZ
More notably, while Nevada remains a swing state and the national environment favors Republicans, the Nevada Democratic Party has shifted to the left. In March, Bernie Sanders supporters took control of the party, leading to an exodus of staffers. Ralston at the time lamented, “Say goodbye to the most effective Democratic Party in the country.”
It makes for a perfect storm in a state that Biden only won by fewer than 3 points. Nevada is not on Trump’s radar as Georgia is, meaning his toxic touch should be staying far away. Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt is a GOP candidate to take on Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, giving her a real challenger who has won statewide.
The Silver State has leaned toward the Democrats for years, but Republicans look to be well on their way to victory in 2022. Democrats in Nevada and in Washington, D.C., have shown that they are out of step with the public, and it will take a lot of time and backtracking to win them over again.