On May 27, the leadership of Left Caucus released its voter guide for the 2022 primaries. We want to explain some of our recommendations and give insight to our methodology and criteria used when putting together the guide.
Why did leadership release a voter guide?
Left Caucus, as a part of the Democratic Party in Nevada and Clark County, has been electorally focused since its founding, issuing voter recommendations for everything from the 2020 general election to State Central Committee meetings. Voter guides and recommendations are a way to inform and educate members and offer an opportunity for us to ideally vote as a bloc, giving us more power and a louder voice in elections – the results of which can be seen through the group’s increase in power inside the Party. Guides like these also function as a way to signal to non-members how we are aligned and if we may be a good place for them to work and organize.
How were recommendations decided?
Winning power for working people often means making difficult decisions with our votes. Every selection in this guide has hinged on two criteria: strategy and viability.
Strategy: every candidate’s election must have some material payoff for working Nevadans in order to be selected.
Not every seat will have a strong progressive candidate running for it, and some may have no Democrat option at all. Nevertheless, it is important to give working Nevadans the best conditions possible as we fight for the world we deserve. In some cases, this means choosing between two strong, progressive candidates. In other cases, it means blocking the far-right from gaining power by lifting up a candidate who may not share all our values.
Viability: every candidate must have a reasonable chance at winning in order to be selected.
Running on leftist values means nothing if there’s no serious plan to make them a reality. The world’s situation is far too dire to waste time or energy on campaigns that have no chance of winning. We owe it to ourselves to invest our limited time and money on candidates with real chances of being elected. This means looking not only at a candidate’s issues but their campaign as a whole: money raised, campaign strategy, historical trends, potential community harm, and other critical information.
Why was Dina Titus recommended over Amy Vilela for CD1?
Dina Titus is one of the most popular candidates in Nevada, and would be difficult for any candidate to defeat. While Amy Vilela’s campaign is running on progressive values, there’s no indication it’s a serious campaign, and no indication that it has the funds, strategy, or momentum capable of beating Titus. The campaign has no presence in most of the new district (CD1 is still referred to generally as “Las Vegas” on one mailer they sent even though 2/3 of the district isn’t in Las Vegas); there is no visible activity from them outside of a few small canvasses; and they are only infrequently active on social media.
Further, although all candidates spend money on consultants, the vast majority do not do so at anywhere near the levels we are seeing in the Vilela campaign – of the $379,648 raised by Vilela’s campaign this cycle (through March 31), $106,047 was spent on just one consulting firm, accounting for nearly 30% of the campaign’s income. This raises serious concerns, as funding for the campaign is being solicited from working class people in a time of serious economic strain. Vilela’s predominantly working class, small-dollar donors deserve accountability here.
In the CD1 race, Vilela has been outraised many times over by a popular incumbent who already holds many progressive and leftist positions. We do not believe it is responsible to recommend supporting a campaign that has no viability and doesn’t seem to be making any effort to win, especially when the alternative is a more viable general election candidate with ample resources and not entirely dissimilar stances on the issues (including and especially on Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and the Green New Deal for Public Schools).
Why was Kevin McMahill recommended for Sheriff?
Whether we want it to be or not, Clark County Sheriff is an important role with a large influence in the Las Vegas area that directly impacts our safety, especially of Black people and people of color in our community. All candidates running are Republican; there is no Democratic option, much less a Democrat that aligns with Left Caucus’ values.
Kevin McMahill made an effort to reach out to Left Caucus leadership as well as other progressive leaders. In truth, we were skeptical, but upon our conversations with him, we believe that he genuinely wants to find opportunities for us to be partners.
To start, McMahill stands out as the only candidate for Sheriff that is not obviously tied to white supremacists. This is important: between Stan Hyt’s own out and proud white supremacy and Tom Roberts’ enthusiastic acceptance of an endorsement from a group that suggested “licking the chicken grease off your fingers before shooting” and “always aim for small children” as tips for “firearm safety for Black People,” it’s honestly sad that the bar for McMahill was set this low.
Beyond this, McMahill has personally committed to drastically limiting Metro’s despicable partnership with ICE, developing programs to foster better mental health within LVMPD, and addressing houselessness using methods that stop treating living on the street as a crime.
I’m a member/candidate/press. How do I contact Left Caucus?
Members of Left Caucus with questions about the voter guide can contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a candidate that would like to discuss their campaign or partner with us, please contact us at email@example.com.
Please direct any press or media inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.