This is my continuing series of columns about how to save/resurrect the Nevada GOP. It's a lesson for the entire GOP from coast to coast.
Set your clocks back to 2014. The Nevada GOP, led by Gov. Brian Sandoval, had just won a landslide victory -- sweeping every statewide office and winning both houses of the Legislature for the first time in many decades.
What happened next ruined the Nevada GOP.
Sandoval lied to the voters. He ran for reelection on a foundation of bedrock conservative principles: smaller government, lower taxes, less spending and greater school choice (vouchers). Don't take my word for it. Go back and watch the ads, listen to the speeches. But after that landslide victory, the governor pushed through the largest tax increase in state history; signed the biggest spending budget in state history; embraced the first business tax in state history (a dreaded gross receipts tax); became the first Republican governor in the nation to accept the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid; allowed illegal aliens to get driver's licenses; and abandoned school choice/vouchers.
With friends like that, who needs enemies?
In short, Sandoval stabbed every Republican voter in the heart. He did the opposite of everything he had campaigned on. He gave Democrats many of the most important things on their Christmas list. He gave Republicans who voted for him and believed in him coal for Christmas.
Whether you agree with my politics or not, how can anyone justify or defend a candidate who lies about everything he campaigns on and then stabs his own voters in the back?
Let me put this in terms Democrats can understand.
What if Nevada's incoming Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, lowered property taxes, killed the commerce tax, pushed to fund school choice, cut the Medicaid rolls and ended collective bargaining for local government employees? If Sisolak did all that, do you think the Democratic Party would thrive in Nevada?
But for all intents and purposes, that's exactly what Sandoval did -- the opposite of everything his own voters supported. Now you understand how, in four short years, the Nevada GOP went from belle of the ball to a used-up crack addict.
Nobody likes a liar. Nobody likes to win and gain nothing. That's enough to demoralize anyone. Sandoval's lies and actions destroyed the Nevada GOP. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional, a Democrat or a typical Republican campaign consultant.
But all is not lost. To groom the next generation of real Republicans, the answer is messaging.
We need to clean out the fake Republicans. We need to run candidates who believe in real conservative values. And yes, we do need to run female, black, Hispanic and gay candidates. Diversity is great. As long as these candidates believe in smaller government, lower taxes, less spending, less regulation, greater school choice and workers over welfare. As long as they support legal immigration, not open borders.
Find me candidates who believe in real conservative principles and who know how to loudly and proudly sell that message, and I'll show you a Nevada that is painted Republican red again. That's a Christmas message of hope for the Nevada GOP.