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Robert Beadles versus Nevada: Protagonists and Conspirativists, New and OId

By: Jacob Mathison

Twitter: @thelatestbyte

Post Date: 2023-12-28

Image source: APM Reports

Permeable Politicization: QAnon in Nevada

Following the 2020 electoral period and elections, the outcome caused an uproar from many Republican sympathizers; many citizens questioned the legitimacy of the results. They based their arguments on there being faults in the registration period, deceased citizens registered to vote, and faulty vote counts. Some media called the–mostly–republican skepticism a “pro-Trump conspiracy”, while others, with a drop of caution, said it was an administrative fault. Whatever the case, this gave way to a larger picture: the now well-known discourse surrounding the conspiracy such as QAnon, which embeds everything from pedophile rings to 9/11 “truthers” and UFO sightings. But not all conspiracy theories are made equal. Mostly, because of each caucus’s history, which features new and old faces related to old and new money; to the inner workings of territorial politics (and baseline policies.)

In 2022, figures such as one Robert Beadles chose to sound the alarm despite Democrats’ efforts to ensure fair elections, through educational initiatives and advocacy for fair(er) campaigning. But the gap between public, voter interest in electoral processes pushed away most attempts at speaking to a larger voter pool, according to an NBC interview: “Most everyday Nevadans don’t want to spend their time thinking about politics before they get their sample ballots in the mail.” This probably left the door open to a specific kind of radicalization: when citizens don’t think about politics, they are paradoxically more permeable to question the legitimacy of democratic processes and participatory frameworks.

Part One: The Marchant Deal

And so “fixing Nevada,” as local Nevadan candidate Marchant publicly stated, was a generic, though legitimate-seeming enough, option for a (perceivedly) broken democratic system. There is a short walk from “Q” (and their unknowable identity as of yet) to concrete figures such as Marchant; rumors spread as conspiracy theories often do: vaguely enough to fill any of them with more concrete meaning; concrete enough to want to “fight back.” Internally, it was a conspiracy between coalitions versus syndicates and Democrat representatives, or, otherwise said, internet-based groups of cryptic slang versus communal alliances.

Political figures became, in this context, a way to amalgamate these internet-based groups and legitimate their base claims. In Nevada, Robert Beadles and his associates were a part of political traction and influence. Political figures aligned with post-elections QAnon share some crucial traits: references to their self-perceived heroics; the de-legitimization of political actors through representing them as enemies to an almost scripted degree; invoking the network of “pilled” aesthetics, memes and conspiracies. Beadles gathered the perfect, most salient features of a QAnon leader: he had political and monetary resources, influence and, most of all, could take a conspiracy claim from informal discourse to a formal legal stance. In fact, Beadles went out of his way to present his claims in the Nevadan court: according to official Nevada records, “Robert Beadles quoted Washoe County regulations, saying this item was brought forward illegally.” There is nothing too original about Beadle’s discourse, then. There is talk about a larger narrative in charge of those in power that is endangering the country.

Part Two: Beadles Takes Matters Into His Own Hands

There is locally-collected evidence surrounding Beadle’s onerous estate. It includes 26 properties in the Reno area for 10.2 million; Reno is currently experiencing a housing crisis, with rising numbers of homelessness. Beadles also founded companies such as a software company, and soon after went into cryptocurrencies, a YouTube channel of his own, and a digital marketing company called Spanish Factory. According to APM Reports, “Beadles also invests in and promotes platforms such as and Gab,” which have become online gathering spaces for antisemites, political extremists and conspiracy theorists. The overall “Beadles” strategy involves–as it does for many other far-right members–questioning those in power where there are good people and bad people. Good people are non-politicized, regular citizens; while bad people have connections and shady reputations, and are of the political caste.

When pressed to provide answers about his own connections and means, the tactic has largely been to say there are no proofs to speak of, and that whatever connections he does have serve the greater good. Part of his funds have gone into making more than $830,000 in donations to republican candidates and allies. Potentially, one such ally is Joey Gilbert, who appears repeatedly throughout the official 2022 records of the Washoe County Commissioners meetings. Meanwhile, others, such as Chris Hicks, declined Beadles’ donations and gave them to charities instead. Of all known donation recipients, four candidates openly stand by Beadles’ intent. How this has affected his prior, “non-political” associations with other Washoe county citizens remains to be seen.

Part Three: The Beadles Lawsuits

Beadles took many of his claims and went to court to see them through; the most recent is a 2023 court lawsuit, in which he stated the ROV had “two sets of books”, and that numbers don’t add up. This overall claim backed up the ask to ban the use of voting machines and remove county officials. In the hearings, Beadles claimed he was concerned “about the reputation of the Elections Group and the various other entities it had been connected with.” He also “had video footage of the prior ROV [...]”. According to Reuters, officials sent Beadles letters warning of “potential punitive action unless he dropped his lawsuit, which was moved to U.S. court because of related federal jurisdiction”. Beadle’s claims have surrounded the same topics time and again: voting fraud, and alleged candidate incompetency.

The common denominator for these has been taking matters into his own hands, by intimidating (rather, actively threatening and harrassing) officials and public employees into doing a mea culpa for a supposedly fraudulent voting process, doing his own voting counts by requesting datasets (to do a once-over through non-regulated means), and allying with strategic party figures, such as Commissioner Michael Clark, most recently.

How long Beadles will be able to withstand his claims for, without there being major repercussions other than his lawsuit being moved to Federal Court, is a question to be faced sooner rather than later for those officials who want to prevent the conspiracy theory seeping into future elections, for Democrats and Republicans alike. There is also the matter of how long Beadles will be willing to support Republican candidates who have profited from the donations, albeit with mixed-to-failed results. Alliances in Reno could be wearing down; Republican candidates are weary of voter behavior, and are already planning to vote-count based strictly on caucus results.

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