Part of Richard Mack’s shtick has always been seeming normal. Even as he spouts far-right conspiracies about the New World Order, his suit-and-tie demeanor and slick authoritativeness give him an aura of credibility that many right-leaning audiences find compelling, if not persuasive.
Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that last weekend Mack was invited to moderate a debate in the Clark County sheriff’s race in Las Vegas, sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Nevada. And it certainly isn’t any surprise, given the fact that Mack is the leader of the far-right “constitutional sheriffs” movement, that he used that respectable-seeming podium to steer the conversation far to the right.
Mack asked a number of conspiracy-minded questions with anti-government “Patriot” movement leanings, opening with: “When government becomes venal and oppressive and out of control, can the people of Clark County count on you for peace, safety and protection?” He later asked the candidates: “Is forcing a law-abiding citizen to register their firearm unconstitutional, and will you take action to abolish the handgun registration process?”
The candidates’ answers all sturdily affirmed their opposition to such laws. One candidate, former Detective Gordon Martines, denounced the state’s gun-registration laws: “My neighbors, my friends and my family are not going to get carted off to some federal institution because of some pretend legislation. Over my dead body.”
Fortunately, for the people of Clark County, the candidates have had more grounded conversations elsewhere. At a later debate sponsored by the county’s three largest labor unions, the conversation focused on questions about sales taxes, “their leadership qualities and department morale.”