RADIOACTIVE: Cortez Masto Avoids Biden, Embraces Imagine Dragons in Crucial Senate Race's Final Stretch

Nevada Dem campaigns with drummer of band described as 'far beyond terrible'

October 28, 2022

For Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, unpopular president Joe Biden is a bit too radioactive to bring to the state for a campaign rally. So with Election Day less than two weeks away, the embattled senator is turning to another high-profile surrogate: the drummer from pop rock band Imagine Dragons.

The profitable percussionist, Daniel Platzman, joined Cortez Masto at a Thursday night event at downtown Las Vegas's ReBar. Platzman told the city's NBC affiliate it was "very exciting" to appear alongside the senator, who is embroiled in a high-profile reelection bid against Republican Adam Laxalt. Cortez Masto herself did not appear in the local outlet's coverage of the event.

Cortez Masto's decision to campaign with Platzman comes just days after the incumbent refused to say whether she would do the same with Biden. Asked by ABC's Rachel Scott if she would "campaign with President Biden" during a Monday Good Morning America segment, Cortez Masto gave a non-answer, saying that while Biden is "welcome" in her state, her "focus is on getting out and talking to Nevadans." Biden visited a trio of western states roughly two weeks ago but did not stop in Nevada, a state he won by roughly 2 points in 2020.

Two years after that narrow win, Biden's political standing in the Silver State is considerably diminished. Just 39 percent of Nevadans approve of Biden's job as president, compared with 53 percent who disapprove, according to Civiqs. It's unclear, however, if Platzman and his fellow Imagine Dragon bandmates enjoy more support than the historically unpopular president. 

After the band's award-winning 2012 debut studio album, Night Visions, Imagine Dragons has faced intense criticism for its turn to repetitive, pop-oriented, platitude-filled tracks. In 2019, for example, music publication Spin published an Imagine Dragons takedown under the headline, "Is Imagine Dragons The Worst Band Ever?"

"Imagine Dragons' music is aggressively unpleasant, and it's only natural to grasp for something even louder to distract oneself," the piece says. "Imagine Dragons are somewhere far beyond terrible. … The lyrics, a composite of motivational platitudes and pseudo-dramatic yelps, barely merit repeating."

Cortez Masto, who did not return a request for comment, will nevertheless hope that the event with Platzman reverses a string of bad polls and carries her over the line in her race against Laxalt. According to an October Trafalgar Group survey, Laxalt leads Cortez Masto by 4 points.

Cortez Masto is not the only beleaguered politician to embrace Imagine Dragons while facing a difficult reelection campaign. Former Kentucky Republican governor Matt Bevin in January 2019 praised the band's halftime performance at the College Football Playoff national championship game, which he called "entertaining." Months later, Bevin narrowly lost reelection to Democrat Andy Beshear.