Trump's Nevadasplaining Moment

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Donald Trump

The gaffe: Here’s the Republican candidate in Reno Wednesday: “Heroin overdoses are surging and meth overdoses in Nev-ah-duh. Nev-AHH-duh. And you know what I said? You know what I said? I said when I came out here, I said, ‘Nobody says it the other way, it has to be Nev-ah-da.’  And If you don’t say it correctly—and it didn’t happen to me, but it happened to a friend of mine, he was killed.”

The defense: They do in fact pronounce this word wrong, as famed champion of Hispanophone culture Donald Trump was right to point out. Then again, it’s their state, man.

Why it matters (or doesn’t): Have you ever talked to a Nevadan about this? It’s worse than getting between a Tar Heel and a Texan arguing about barbecue. Besides, who goes to a swing state and tells voters there that they pronounce their own state wrong? Jon Ralston reports it may be a joke, and indeed, Trump obviously understood the sensitivity or he wouldn’t have gone on the riff—which only raises the question of why he thought the joke was funny.

The lesson: Mispronouncing the Silver State’s name is the worst gamble in a state where casinos are legal.