03:11 GMT19 September 2020
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    The US is scheduled to hold presidential, congressional, and other local elections on November 3rd. President Donald Trump on August 3rd threatened to take legal action after the state of Nevada said it would mail all voters ballots so they can safely take part in the November presidential election amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Joshua Dowden, candidate for the Nevada State Senate from the 11th District has shared his view on the main challenges Donald Trump is facing in the state of Nevada.

    Sputnik: You’re running for election to represent Nevada's 11th District. What are the main challenges you are facing there? What do you think are the hot-button issues in the state?

    Joshua Dowden: Nevada is no different than any other state in the country. We're facing many challenges. But chief among the issues here in Nevada is education, Nevada ranks 50th in the nation in education and that’s something that everybody that has ever tried to tackle here in Nevada should be ashamed of. I mean, I don't know what more I can say about that. So that's first and foremost, if we don't take care of education, the future is very bleak for Nevada, so that's something I intend to take head-on.

    The economy obviously is another one. We have serious economic challenges here in Nevada. We are ranked 47th in the nation in terms of unemployment after the pandemic. We are heavily dependent on the service industry here, so the governor’s initial shutdown of restaurants, casinos and other service-intensive businesses hit us hard. So we've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 percent unemployment, which is astronomically high. There's a number of things that we can do to get our people back to work in and diversify our economy moving forward.

    Part of the economic challenge we face is our unemployment benefits here in Nevada have been bungled from the governor's office all the way down. There are people that are not receiving their unemployment benefits, people that can't get through to the unemployment offices, people that can’t file. There's just problem after problem with what's going on with the unemployment benefits and then there’s health care.

    Healthcare has always been a weak spot here in Nevada. The virus just uncovered how bad things really were. So we have an urgent problem now with the virus, but even after we solve that, we still have a healthcare issue here in Nevada. We don't have enough hospitals or healthcare professionals. There are many issues within the healthcare industry that we need to address as well and COVID has just really exposed some of those issues. 

    Sputnik: The total number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada stands at just under 57,000 as the state reported 742 new cases on Monday. In your program you mention that Nevada doesn't have enough hospitals, trauma centers, doctors, or nurses. How is the hotspot COVID-19 state coping with the pandemic? Are the measures already being taken enough? Do you think the manner of the authorities’ handling of the pandemic will change the political landscape in your state?

    Joshua Dowden: It's already changed the political landscape. What’s so unfortunate about COVID 19 is it has become political. This is something that has changed as a result of the pandemic. This is something that affects everybody. It doesn't care about your political affiliation. It doesn't care anything about who you are as a person. It doesn't care anything about that. It's a virus that we all need to be very aware of. But it's unfortunate. It's become political. There is no reason for it to become political other than devious people that are using it to their political gain. It’s horrible that politicians are using it for political gain. But to answer your question, how are we handling this? The Nevada health care professionals and hospitals have stepped up.

    We're doing a very good job at testing and tending to the ill. The evidence is clear here in Nevada that we have a very low mortality rate. So we are just like everybody else. We are attracting new cases every day. I don't know that there's any way to stop that other than the measures that we're taking. The governor has implemented a mask policy, and everywhere I go, people are adhering to the mask order.

    So good for them and good for us. But we still continue to contract the virus. However the good news here is that the fatalities here in Nevada are very low. I think it is somewhere around one and a half percent or even lower than that. I think we're doing a fantastic job when it comes to people that are getting sick. Not only that, the hospitalization rates are trending down. So if you look at the 7-day average here in Nevada, the hospitalization rate as well as the fatality rate, all of these are trending in the right direction. So I think that shows Nevadans are doing a great job despite what's happening in the political landscape. 

    Sputnik: Yeah, you've said that the coronavirus situation has been politicized. And someone is trying to gain some political points from this crisis. Can you elaborate more on that? Like who's trying to gain advantages from this terrible situation?

    Joshua Dowden: Well, one thing that comes to mind here is, is the mail-in balloting. The governor called two special sessions, when one would have done just fine. But he needed to call two. And the second one had very nefarious intentions, Senate Majority Leader (Nicole) Cannizzaro called a meeting to vote on a bill for the mail-in voting at midnight.  She called it at midnight. So the people were tired, they couldn’t have a real discussion.

    She was hoping that people wouldn’t show up. That was horrible of her to do that. And she needs to be held accountable for that. It's been politicized in such a way that now the Democrats are getting their own mail-in voting, which is ripe for fraud, misuse and mishandling. There's just a number of different issues that can arise when you have all mail-in voting. I want to be clear. I am not opposed to absentee balloting. I'm not even opposed to all mail-in voting. What I'm opposed to is changing the rules at the last minute.

    We have barely three months before a major election. There aren’t the procedures and policies in place and there isn’t the manpower for this change. There is no structured plan to address what we're going to do in three months’ time to get this massive election underway and make sure that it's held correctly to make sure that everybody's vote is counted. So if we're going to use mail in balloting, it needs to be something that's put in place today for four years from now, maybe even two years.

    There needs to be some research done. There needs to be some testing done. There needs to be just a tremendous amount of effort that gets put into how we're going to use mail-in voting. It can't just be thrust on us like what we're doing right now and everyone expects it to be OK. I mean, the Democrats are expecting chaos. They're rooting for chaos, they're doing this intentionally so they can muddy the waters and say, oh, look, this all got screwed up and it's somebody else's fault over there.

    Sputnik: President Donald Trump recently sparked a backlash suggesting a delay in Election Day. The president cited concerns over a second wave of the coronavirus and issues related to mail-in voting. What do you think about the president’s suggestion, would you support it?

    Joshua Dowden:  Well, the president has his reasons and he has his opinions. He's allowed those. We voted him into office. And so he’s allowed to say what it is he wants to say. I personally do not support the automatic mail-in balloting either, but I don't support postponing the election. I think this is the most important election of our lifetimes. I know that gets said every four years, but it really is this year. If we can’t see who's winning this election that would just lead to more confusion and more chaos. I can't see how that's healthy for the nation right now. There's too many moving parts. There's just too much that can go wrong with that. I do not want that in an election. 

    Sputnik: What do you think might be a secure option for voting during the pandemic?

    Joshua Dowden: So the absentee balloting is a great idea. I'm familiar with absentee balloting versus mail in ballots because I hear this all the time. Oh, it's the same thing. No, it's not. Absentee ballots you request. You request an absentee ballot, and it gets mailed to you. That way it can be verified. Everybody knows that you are requesting it.  

    Mail-in balloting is just everybody on the voter rolls. These people might have moved. They might be dead. There's just a number of issues that can arise where everybody gets a ballot. And that's not a good idea. So what can be done to make sure that we're protected in November?

    This is not rocket science. We're doing it right now. When you go to the grocery store, you're standing six feet away. Every so often they're cleaning down their equipment. So they'll go. When I'm at Albertsons every hour, you can hear them. They say, OK, we're going to close down and we're going to sanitize things. I don't see any issue with that whatsoever. You can have additional personnel on hand and to make sure that every machine gets sanitized after every use.

    That's very simple. It's six feet apart, very simple to do that. Mandatory masks, simple to do that. In addition to that what you could do is you can expand early voting. There is no reason why early voting can't last longer than what it is right now. There's no reason for that. So if you wanted to reduce the lines, expand early voting by two weeks, maybe even three to four weeks.

    So that's just the idea there. But the point is, we can brainstorm and come up with solutions that keep people safe, expand absentee balloting. Again, absentee balloting is a great idea. All mail-in ballot voting is not a good idea. So I think that we can say be safe. I think we can handle this. And I think that we can still vote in person and maintain the integrity of the election. 

    Sputnik: Recent polls have shown that the president is losing crucial states to former VP Joe Biden, specifically among former Republican voters. Nevada is considered to be a blue state. What are Republicans' chances of winning there?

    Joshua Dowden: Don't believe the polls.  As I recall, Hillary was in a commanding lead at this time in 2016 and we all know how that worked out. So polling is very antiquated. It's very outdated. It's very difficult to get accurate polling right now. If you look at polling data, they'll show the makeup of the people who they ask the questions that they ask and they don't bother going into detail on that.

    When they reveal the results. They just say that Biden is ahead by eight points and so on and so forth. One poll I heard the pollsters say that they were having trouble getting a hold of a specific demographic -  a high school educated group of people. That  doesn't seem like a very hard group of people to get a hold of it. It seems like you were trying to get a hold of these people and so that would skew the data there.

    So don't believe the polls. Don't believe the data. It's not a blue state. Nevada is very much a swing state. We're getting an influx of Californians here. So when I moved here 20 years ago, we were very much a red state. But since then California has become a place that is driving out the middle class. It is so expensive to live there. Taxes are just through the roof. The regulations are ridiculous. It is very oppressive living over in California.

    And so what did people in California do? They moved to Nevada. They moved to greener pastures and a beautiful state. Las Vegas is the greatest city in the country as far as I'm concerned. So people moved here in droves. But what that does, though, is they still carry their ideology with them. So they're still voting Democrat. They're still voting, blue. So the last 10 years or so especially, we're seeing an influx of blue voters, Democrat voters.

    And so Nevada's very much a swing state and the swing voters here are going to make the difference. And I believe that what they're seeing right now with the economy that we had versus the economy that was thrust on us here by (Nevada Governor) Steve Sisolak and the Democrats shutting down our economy, what we did have versus what was thrust upon us right now, all the partisan bickering. I think that the nonpartisans are going to see through that and see that there's a brighter future for us here. And that's voting Republican.

    Tags:
    Donald Trump, US Election, US Election 2020, election, Nevada, United States
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