The Hill is reporting today that former President Obama is heading to Nevada in an attempt to shore up the fortunes of struggling Democrats. As the story points out, there’s an obvious reason why Obama is making these trips rather than President Biden:

Former President Obama will be campaigning in Nevada for Democratic candidates Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak amid signs of a possible red wave in the state…

While President Biden has done some campaigning in states like Pennsylvania and Oregon, Obama’s travel suggests that the former president may be seen as a preferred Democratic surrogate over Biden, who is suffering from underwater approval ratings and has been blamed for economic turmoil.

The reason Obama is needed in Nevada is that, as Vanity Fair reported yesterday, the Harry Reid political machine appears to be losing its grip. Reid, who died last December, had a firm grip on the state’s union voters which led to Democrats winning both Senate seats, three out of four House seats plus the governorship. Now there are signs that reliable union vote is splintering:

Clearly it was an unhappy development, especially for a Democratic incumbent governor in the final weeks of a close reelection race, but it didn’t appear debilitating: The state’s largest teachers’ union announced last week that it would be withholding an endorsement. For connoisseurs of Nevada politics, though, the news was closer to the rumble of an approaching earthquake. “This would never have happened,” one Nevada Democratic insider says, “if Senator Reid were still alive.”…

Reid’s game plan for electing Nevada Democrats relied on bringing labor unions on board and keeping them there—which is what makes the pointed neutrality of the Clark County teachers’ union in the governor’s race an ominous sign. Four years ago the union endorsed Sisolak—over Adam Laxalt—to succeed term-limited Republican Brian Sandoval. Since then, of course, Sisolak has compiled a record as governor, and the teachers’ union has sparred with him on everything from class sizes to educational policies related to the pandemic.

…if Nevada swings back into Republican hands, however, a prime narrative will be that what was missing was the iron fist of Harry Reid.

Another sign that the iron fist of Harry Reid is lacking came yesterday when the Nevada Police Union voted no confidence in the Democratic governor.

The Nevada Police Union announced on Tuesday that its membership had overwhelming voted in favor of expressing no confidence in incumbent Democratic governor Steve Sisolak.

According to the NPU, the largest police union in the state, 451 of the 473 members who cast a ballot voted for the measure. The union represents employees within the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada State Parks, and the Nevada system of higher education.

The Nevada Police Union is not a reflexively anti-Democratic union. In fact, they endorsed Catherine Cortez Masto in the Senate race. Clearly they just have a problem with the governor.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is the reason why the Reid machine is no longer as powerful as it once was. You can blame it on the Democratic Socialists of America.

In March 2021 a slate of five candidates backed by the Nevada chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America swept elections for party leadership positions. In response, every staff member of the state party, most of them Reid machine allies, quit. The conflict has been a drag on Democratic campaign efforts, leading to disputes over everything from primary endorsements to support for Israel and initially complicated fundraising this fall. “The chaos in Nevada between the Reid operation and the state party was unfortunate,” [pollster Jeff] Pollock says.

Democrats told the AP that the divide created by the DSA hasn’t been an issue in Nevada this year. To hear them tell it, the problems they are facing just part of elections in a purple state.

Democrats and their aligned groups working on the ground have long warned the state has the potential to swing to Republicans and at times have felt victims of their own success. In 2018 and 2020, they warned national Democrats and donors in the final weeks before the elections that they shouldn’t take the state for granted.

“It’s up in the air,” Ted Pappageorge, head of the casino workers’ Culinary Union, said of this year’s election. “It’s a complete tossup.”…

This year, national Democrats are well aware of the stakes, fretting that Nevada is their biggest risk of losing a key Senate race. The contest is one of the most expensive in the country, with candidates and outside groups having spent about $100 million so far, despite the state’s relatively small population of about 3 million people.

We’ll know in a few more weeks if Harry Reid’s zombie political machine can pull off another win or if the red tide is just too strong this time around.

Original Article: Harry Reid’s political machine is failing, can Obama save Nevada Democrats? – HotAir