Nevada Senator Dean Heller recently caught the eye of scientists, who are reviewing the fundamentals of Linnaean classificatory systems after discovering that Heller has neither spine nor alimentary canal. They drew their conclusions on the basis of the Republican’s cowardly capitulation in the face of an authoritarian, incompetent administration.
This does not bode well for Heller’s reelection bid in 2018 in a state that is increasingly swinging left. The Senator has been coasting on his reputation as a ‘moderate’, something it will be difficult to sustain having backed the leadership of Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil to assume control over the upper reaches of foreign and domestic policy, and having given his support to a swivel-eyed economic and religious fundamentalist to run the education department.
Thus far, Heller’s approach has emulated a vertebrate, rather than one of his fellow invertebrates. He has essentially played possum and ignored all criticism, refusing to meet with constituents, dodging telephone calls, and refusing to respond to e-mails and letters. Heller has refused to hold a town hall, and is restricting his events to small, ‘friendly’ communities in the unpopulated areas beyond Reno and Clark County.
Heller seems to think that if he is utterly motionless, we won’t see him enabling a racist, bigoted authoritarian. He seems to believe that if he ignores Nevadans in Reno and in Clark County in particular, we’ll go away.
His team has now begun aggressively policing his facebook page, deleting critical comments and restricting the ability of some who “follow” Heller to “like” or comment on his dreary, banal offerings.
Like Trump, who is extraordinarily sensitive to criticism, Heller seems to struggle with vigorous debate, and he and his staff are trying to create a safe space, free of facts and criticism for him, shielding him from constituents, and circumscribing those constituents’ opportunities to interact with their representative.
But Heller is in for a surprise. There will be consequences for supporting an Attorney General who attacked voting rights, helped to author the unconstitutional Muslim ban, and has supported mass deportation. There will be consequences for allowing Trump to staff his Treasury Department with people from the heart of Goldman Sachs. There will be consequences for enabling the destruction of regulatory agencies that keep the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat safe. There will be consequences for supporting an authoritarian administration that is seeking to restrict people’s rights and redistribute wealth to the 1%.
Heller’s fervent hopes aside, those of us living in the state’s population centers will not go away just because he pretends we don’t exist. Eschewing town halls, ignoring the letters, deleting facebook comments, and retreating into the bunker won’t keep us from turning out in November of 2018 and showing Dean Heller the door.