With top-tier Nevada Stop the Steal leaders hobnobbing in D.C. and Georgia during some of the weekly Stop the Steal events that took place between the election and the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, a group of more locally based organizers made sure of the success of weekly events that took place in-state–in the state capitol, Carson City, and in Las Vegas and Reno. They organized truck and car caravans, for example, from Reno to Carson City or from Las Vegas to Carson City. They promoted the events on Facebook pages, encouraged people to attend and attended themselves.
We would like to coin a term to make it easier to understand how local leadership in the Stop the Steal movement functioned. The term is “stochastic organizing”. Stochastic terrorism is now a familiar idea, the idea that terrorism is often motivated not through a formal organization but by a noted figure or group suggesting something should be done and others, near or far, taking it on themselves to do it–in many cases without having any personal or formal connection to the ones making the suggestion. Stochastic organizing, we maintain, is a similar concept applied not to terrorism but to organization of activist events.
There has been stochastic organizing in many movements of all types. It is facilitated by the ease of advertising events through social media and on the web. It is so common now as almost to be a norm but it is not much remarked upon. Stochastic organizing involves a person or group declaring that something should be promoted and others, near and far, connected or not connected, taking it upon themselves to organize the promotion.
An example of stochastic organizing on the left is the Occupy movement. Once Occupy Wall Street took place in New York City, many people put on their own Occupy events around the country–with no membership in or personal connection to any larger group. All that was required was for someone, whether connected to any organization or not, to announce, for example, an Occupy rally or march and others would show up. Similarly, during the No DAPL movement, all it took for a demonstration or fundraiser to happen would be for a person–even one with no connection to any formal DAPL group–to announce on social media that it would happen and then people would appear. Many groups put on events that the national organizers knew nothing about.
Similarly, during Nevada’s Stop the Steal, a number of people and groups simply announced in various media forums that they were putting on events–and the events took place. This is different than the relation of the Nevada State Stop the Steal leaders, Holland, Barth and Coudrey, who were officially part of the national organization. People who wanted to organize Stop the Steal events in state would simply post a flyer–produced either by themselves or by the national group–on a personal Facebook page, a group Facebook page or a Facebook event page–and use the posting to motivate attendance. Sometime, because of this type of organiza-tion, events conflicted with each other and one would be under-attended while the other would succeed.
Here are some of the online flyers used to motivate attendance at Stop the Steal events.
Some Facebook groups that encouraged attendance included NV Grassroots Patriots (Flag Parades), a private Facebook group that included among its members Linda Thompson, an officer of Nevada’s Battle Born Patriots, a group with regional officers in every part of Nevada that was until December 3, 2020, dedicated to the recall of Governor Sisolak. Thompson also has a Twitter account <LindaTh27168341> where she posts related information.
As “Flag Parades” in the group’s name suggests, NV Grassroots Patriots dedicated a good amount of time to the actual organizing of caravans of cars and trucks to Carson City. Stop the Steal events took place weekly and it appears the group was essential in ensuring that there was a turnout.
Other Facebook groups involved included Nevada Citizens for Liberty and Prosperity, Reopen Nevada Sisolak! Rights Before Covid 19, Fight for Nevada and Fernley Militia as well as various “reopen” pages such as “Keep Nevada Open” and “Re-Open Nevada.”
Another person involved in promoting Stop the Steal events was Reno’s prominent right-wing lawyer, Joey Gilbert. Gilbert’s efforts met with varying success. On Friday, November 6, 2020, his Reno Stop the Steal event tanked because of a flag parade-supported event in Carson City the next day.
Gilbert is an interesting figure because, though fundamentally a local Reno phenomenon, he did receive an invitation to speak at the January 6, 2021, event in DC.
Here is a schedule of speakers that shows his position in the line-up for the event.
In Las Vegas, radio figure, Wayne Allyn Root, promoted some of the Stop the Steal events as did radio figure, Monica Jaye, in Reno. A worthwhile research topic would be how centrally either of them were responsible for the success of Stop the Steal events or whether grassroots organizers and caravan organizers carried most of the weight.
Here is Monica Jaye at the November 14, 2020, Stop the Steal rally where, as Bert Johnson at CapRadio reported, she disputed the presidential election results and also announced her plan to run for Mark Amodei’s seat in Congress.
In Las Vegas, members of the national neofascist streetfighting organization, the Proud Boys, were present at most Stop the Steal events.
Here’s a screen shot from a You Tube video of the November 8, 2020, rally outside the Las Vegas building where vote counting took place with interviews of various people, including Las Vegas Proud Boy Vice President, Anthony Mastrostefano (screen name, Tony Alt or Tonyalt Trump), who is seen in this photo, and Las Vegas Proud Boy leader, Ian Hickman.
Here are Proud Boys Anthony Mastrostefano and Rudy Clai at the November 21 Stop the Steal rally in Las Vegas with Wetonia Houlihan.
Here are the Proud Boys having a friendly chat with the police at the same event.
And here are the Proud Boys and some other Stop the Steal demonstrators taking a group shot together at the same event. Among those present are Proud Boys Rudy Clai, Anthony Mastrostefano and Matt Anthony.
Here are Proud Boy Ian Hendrick and Proud Boy Girl Natalie Thomas the the January 6, 2021, Save Our Country rally in Las Vegas.
In Carson City, Proud Boys attended and threatened violence at the November 7, 2020, Stop the Steal event. Brian Bahouth of the Sierra Nevada Ally reported on their presence: “The Proud Boys moved in a group, up and down the sidewalk. Some wore a hand gun on their belt. Their threats and intimidation were not restricted to anti-Trump protesters or innocent bystanders.” Political violence is required to achieve rank in the Proud Boys and, for all we know, the threat of violence on that day could have been an attempt to achieve rank.
Here, Capitol Police officers come in to break up a fight between Proud Boys and a pro-Trump demonstrator.
Here, Proud Boys respond to reporter Bahouth’s interest in taking their photo.
According to Carson Now, Proud Boys also threatened violence at the December 12, 2020, Stop the Steal event in Carson City. “On numerous occasions throughout the morning and afternoon, several vehicles were openly chased by rally participants, who ran into the street screaming things like ‘Traitor!’ and ‘Get out of your car!’ On numerous occasions members of the Proud Boys group threatened to fight people who drove by in their cars who had either shaken their heads, gave a ‘thumbs down’ sign or performed other obscene hand gestures toward them,” Carson Now reported.
Carson Now also reports that many pro-Trump demonstrators indicated their support of the Proud Boys, showing that there was little separation between Proud Boys, members of a violent street fighting organization, and other Trump supporters. “Many of the Trump supporters applauded the Proud Boys and took photos of and with them, saying to them ‘You’re awesome!’ and ‘Thank you for your service.'”
Here are Proud Boys at the December 12 rally.
Militia were present at most Stop the Steal events. Their presence on mainstream social media has declined. Rocky Pastorino (“Rocky Powers”), whom we profiled in our report on Nevada militia, announced on his Facebook page that militia were called off for any January 6, 2021, event in Carson City–presumably in case some members still believed militia info is posted primarily on Facebook. Most militia members are no longer on Facebook or, if they still utilize it, have a very small presence there.
Here are militia in Carson City on December 12, 2020, for the Stop the Steal event.
Here are armed militia at the Capitol in Carson City on January 6, 2021.
As indicated above, Nevada Stop the Steal events involved a range of participants in crowds with no particular separation between them–from Republican Party members and officers to ordinary citizens to paramilitary militia and right-wing street-fighting gangs. As far as our evidence shows, there was no concern by one group about the presence of the others at the events.
Another component important not to overlook are the cultural elements of the Stop the Steal movement. The movement goes beyond simply being engaged around one political event, Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 Presidential election, and instead is in part a social-cultural movement with parties, photography and philanthropic activities.
For example, many Las Vegas Stop the Steal events were photographed by photographer, David Orlov, and then posted a few days later for circulation (see Orlov photos above).
For another example, social events, connected to Las Vegas Stop the Steal, were put on by Mike Houlihan and his rock band, Dirty Krackers. One event was called “Patriots and Pinups.”
Here is their recent album entitled “krackers Lives Matter,” a title that conveys their response to the Black Lives Matter movement and features two white men with rifles.
Here is a photo of Mike and Wetonia Houlihan at a demonstration together with Proud Boy, Anthony Mastrostefano.
For a third example, Northern Nevada Stop the Steal organizers not only organized Stop the Steal rallies but also put on philanthropic events. In this photo, participants attend the Stop the Steal event in Carson City on November 21, 2020, and left early for a feed-the-hungry event planned earlier.