And now all eyes turn to Nevada…

Ha ha, just kidding.

Yes, Nevada is technically the next state on the Republican nominating calendar. But the nation’s eyes are not on it. Probably because looking at what Republicans are up to in Nevada would just give the nation a headache. 

As if it needs another one of those.

Make no mistake, since Nevada is one of only a handful of battleground states, the nation’s eyes will be on the state later this year, when normal humans eventually start paying attention to the presidential race. (Poor dears. They’re gonna be so bummed when they find out it’s Biden and Trump again).

And the campaigns of Joe Biden and Donald Trump (but alas not Nikki Haley) have already gone into general election mode.

But in Nevada this weekend, both campaigns are sort of pretending they haven’t.

Vice-President Kamala Harris will be in Las Vegas Saturday “to kick off early voting” for the state’s Democratic presidential preference primary. 

I know what you’re thinking: The Democratic what? 

Oh c’mon, you know… ok maybe you don’t. The Democratic state primary on Feb. 6 pits President Joe Biden against … eh, few people know and nobody cares. Biden is effectively your 2024 Democratic presidential nominee already.

But everyone should still vote early (yes there’s a meaningless Republican state primary too), either in person or by sending in the primary ballot that got mailed to you. It’ll be good practice for the real election in November.

Hopefully while in Las Vegas Saturday, Harris will at least acknowledge the general election – and the Republican presidential nominee.

But maybe not. The last couple of visits to Nevada by the Biden-Harris team looked like they’d been dialed up on a Sleep Number bed.

In December, Biden was in town to tout federal money for a high-speed rail project. Because evidently polling shows nothing energizes Nevada’s independent voters and the Democratic base like a fast train to Rancho Cucamonga.

About the only poke Biden took at Trump during that visit was a joke about infrastructure week. An oldie but goody to be sure. But still an oldie.

And when Harris was in town early this month, her brief remarks were entirely confined to how much she adores the Culinary union. Nice sentiment, sure. Thing is, the Culinary union already adores the Biden-Harris campaign, too. But no doubt the campaign has a cost-effectiveness analysis that shows the vice-president’s trip penciled out.

This week began, by the way, with a release from Harris’s office proclaiming “Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off Nationwide ‘Fight for Reproductive Freedoms’ Tour.” Abortion rights has become one of the most powerful issues for Democrats ever since Trump’s “hand-picked” Supreme Court justices, as Harris refers to them, overturned Roe. As Trump hand-picked them to do.

So naturally in addition to the early voting event, while in Las Vegas Saturday Harris also has an event scheduled to hammer Trump for going full Republic of Gilead, right?

Wrong. Instead, the Harris event in Las Vegas will “highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to uplifting small businesses and supporting entrepreneurship.”

The Biden-Harris campaign is running against a criminal thug who is promising to impose a lawless dictatorial reign of revenge, retribution, racism, and misogyny. 

So in Nevada, a battleground state, the campaign thinks small business and fast trains are red meat?

Sometimes it’s as if the Democrats think they’re running against Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney or some other more or less normal Republican nominee. The press and a substantial portion of the public have been far too willing from the start to normalize Trump and Trumpism. Sadly, so have both political parties. The last thing the Biden-Harris campaign needs to be doing now is campaigning like Trump is normal and 2024 is a normal election year.

Meanwhile, Trump is also scheduled to come to Las Vegas Saturday. Like Harris, Trump is visiting on the pretense that Nevada has a meaningful presidential election contest prior to the one in November –  his visit is dubbed a “commit to caucus rally.”

The event’s title is a polite nod to the Nevada State Republican Party’s caucus on Feb. 8, a Trump-bespoke affair which was hatched – and rigged – to declare Nevada’s delegates for Trump’s nomination. But more consequentially (Nevada has only a handful of delegates which will be irrelevant to Trump’s nomination), the caucus has A) confused the hell out of Republican voters, and B) made eyes roll from sea to shining sea at a bungling omnishambles so insipid and inane and corrupt even the nation’s political press corp has stopped trying to explain what Nevada Republicans think they’re doing, and taken the safer and saner route of just ignoring the whole dumb thing.

But Trump, though elder, is not an elder statesman. He’s an elder showman. And his stand-up schtick grows more vulgar, raunchy, and cringy by the day. So after some brief obligatory nattering about the Republican caucus, he will get to the issues at the heart of his campaign – white supremacy, massive detention camps, lies about elections, lies about the economy, most treasured Hitler sayings, etc.

Trump has also been very addled lately — confusing Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi, claiming he beat Barack Obama in an election, that sort of thing. Maybe on Saturday Trump will endorse Sam Brown for U.S. Senate in Nevada. If he does, don’t be surprised if Trump says it’s because Brown has the best chance of beating Harry Reid.

Tyrannical filth, trashing the constitution, or just gibberish from a dotard – whatever comes out of Trump’s pouting piehole, his supporters don’t care, because they think he’s a magic man. That’s why he’s effectively the Republican nominee, and why the general election campaign has already started. 

It’s like Nevada’s throwing a wedding shower this weekend for a couple who are celebrating their fourth anniversary. At least in a couple weeks the indignity of the state primaries and the Republican Party’s farce of a caucus will be ignominiously assigned to history’s footnotes. And the next time the presidential campaigns come to Nevada, and all the times after that for the rest of this year, it’ll be for reals.

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