Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
January 27, 2024
Vice President Kamala Harris told voters to see “the profound threat” former president Donald Trump poses to democracy and stressed the urgency to vote in the upcoming presidential election during her visit to Las Vegas on Saturday.
As early voting started in Nevada for the upcoming presidential primary election on Feb. 6, Harris spoke at a Get Out the Vote event at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Though she spent much of the time boasting about the legislative accomplishments of President Joe Biden’s administration over the first term, she warned against putting Trump back in the White House.
The former president, she said, has not only “inspired, encouraged and even empowered” far right extremists, but also “openly talks about his intention to weaponize the Department of Justice.”
Trump was also campaigned in Las Vegas earlier in the day.
Harris said that in his comments “he made clear his fight is not for the people” adding that “his fight is for himself.”
“He openly talks about his admiration for dictators and has vowed he would be a dictator on day one,” she said. “Understand what dictators do. Dictators jail journalists. Dictators suspend elections. Dictators take your rights.”
The comment Harris was referencing was from an interview in December when Trump was asked if he was going to be a dictator and responded: “No, other than day one. We’re closing the border. We’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.”
The visit is Harris’s second stop in Las Vegas in January.
She spoke to the Culinary Union earlier this month to congratulate them on securing a new contract and fighting for wage increases but declined any mentions of the 2024 presidential election or Trump.
Trump has since then won two presidential preference contests, the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, and all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination.
Harris told the crowd that democracy is fragile and the upcoming election will determine “the kind of country we want to live in.”
She said the nation is currently “witnessing a full on attack on hard-won, hard-fought freedoms and rights,” citing assaults on voting protections, LGBTQ rights and gun violence prevention measures.
And she honed in on the erosion of abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court, with the votes of three Trump-appointed justices, overruled the constitutional right to abortion in 2022.
“(Trump) openly says that he is ‘proud’ he overturned Roe v. Wade,” she said. “Proud of taking the freedom of choice from millions of women.”
In paraphrasing a quote by the poet Maya Angelou, Harris told the audience, “When someone tells you who they are …”
Many in the audience responded in unison: “Believe them the first time.”
Harris said if they are able to win a majority in the House and retain the White House and Senate, Biden would sign a bill “that reinstates the protections of Roe v. Wade.”
Even with Democratic majorities in Congress, Democrats in the Senate would need a 60-vote majority to overcome a Republican filibuster, or enough Democrats willing to vote to change the procedural rules to bypass a filibuster in order to pass potential legislation enshrining abortion protections.
Ahead of Harris speaking, U.S. Rep. Dina Titus and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto admonished far right extremists as well, while also touting legislative victories under the Biden administration, including the American Rescue Plan Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Titus said as the election nears Democrats need to do a better job at drawing distinctions and “talk about the contrasts, talk about the accomplishments, and talk about the other side.”
“(Republicans) will roll back the progress we have made,” Titus said. “They’ve said it. They don’t even pretend they won’t. My advice to you is don’t let them sell that same old shit and call it sugar.”
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