By Ed Andrews

It was hot and it was dusty, but citizens across Nevada showed up in force on Saturday to protest Adam Laxalt and his billionaire sugar daddies as they saluted Donald Trump’s agenda of hate.

The occasion was the Laxalt’s annual Basque Fry fundraiser, which he was using to raise big bucks from sleazy interests for his run for governor. (Yes, Adam, that includes Sheldon Adelson, the Jabba the Hutt of Las Vegas casinos).

We knew this was going to be an important event, and Vice President Mike Pence had promised to add caché until he realized that it would look bad to raise money during Hurricane Harvey. Sure enough, Laxalt was true to form: he spent most of the afternoon defending Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrants, women and decency in general. He said absolutely nothing about Trump’s defense of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

We were ready. At least a half-dozen community groups came to protest as close as we could get to the event at Corley Ranch. Plan was there, led by executive director Bob Fulkerson. So were members of the Washoe tribe, Planned Parenthood, NARAL of Northern Nevada, the Northern Nevada Working Families Party, Battle Born Progress and the Douglas Country Democratic Party.

We were determined to be peaceful, and we were. But that didn’t stop several of us from buying tickets to the fundraiser and making our voices known inside. Autumn Zemke, of the Northern Nevada Working Families Party, stunned Laxalt and the GOP partiers by transforming her wrap-around skirt into a full-sized protest banner.

“Adam Laxalt has spent his time in office as a puppet for his special interest billionaire instead of working to protect the rights and needs of everyday Nevadans,” Autumn said afterward. “How can we trust Adam Laxalt when he demonstrated today that he’ll remain silent when it comes to racism and bigotry, but speak up for his billionaire backer whose donated hundreds of thousands to his campaign?”

This was more than direct action, however. The main protest attracted supporters from across Nevada, and it was organized. We had music, passionate speakers, costumes, a gigantic inflatable chicken — even Uncle Sam, grilling free baby weenies.   We brought passion and anger, but also humor and peace. Nobody was violent and nobody was hurt.

That’s a lot to be proud of.


Ed Andrews is a former Washington correspondent, investigative reporter and foreign correspondent in Europe for the New York Times. A specialist in economic policy, he is now a writer and consultant in northern Nevada. Contact: Learn more about Ed on Wikipedia.