Tuesday, February 6, 2024

BTRTN: Why You Should Ignore the Nevada Primary (and Caucus)

Tom explains the GOP weirdness that begins today in Nevada.

This will be the outcome in Nevada this week:  Nikki Haley will win the primary by an overwhelming margin.  Donald Trump will take all the delegates.

How can this be? 

It all gets down to a spat between the state and the state’s Republican Party.  The state legislature, run by Democrats, passed a bill in 2021 that instituted a state primary instead of the traditional caucuses.  They also took measures to improve access to the voting process.  The state’s GOP, in protest, decided to hold the caucuses anyway.  The primary will be held today and the caucuses on this Thursday, February 8.  The state GOP told candidates that delegates would be awarded based on the caucuses only, and also decreed that candidates must choose to be on either the primary ballot or the caucus ballot, but not both. 

Haley chose to be on the primary ballot; Trump chose the caucus.  Haley probably figured she could spin a win this way, Trump figured the same and would also pick up delegates.  Insanity reigns in the GOP. 

You may counter, yes, but the Democrats were showing some of their own insanity in New Hampshire, running a primary that did not result in any delegates, right?  I would agree, to a point, but at least the New Hampshire Democrats were following their state laws, which require New Hampshire to hold a first-in-the-nation primary, whereas the Nevada Republicans are defying their state laws. 

So, there won’t be much drama in seeing Haley stomp over Tim Scott and Mike Pence, who have suspended their campaigns, and such other luminaries as Heath Fulkerson and Donald Kjornes (maybe the latter’s presence will allow Haley to claim to have beaten “Donald”).  For his part, Trump will surely triumph over fringe candidate Ryan Binkley.

It may be of modest interest to see what both candidates say after their respective wins.  Haley has been blasting Trump of late, and she will surely do a bit of that and crow about her "momentum" heading into the South Carolina primary on February 24 (she trails Trump by 30+ points in recent polls).  

For his part, Trump chose to rant about Haley after his New Hampshire win.  You probably missed that spectacle.  Most candidates use their victory speeches to thank the voters, their campaign staffs, and their families, and echo broad themes about how the win signifies support for their vision of America and their platforms, reiterating them in summary form.  It would have been smart for Trump to use the platform to pivot to the general election.  But Trump, for those interested in his “mental competence,” offered this semi-deranged word salad instead: 

“Well, I want to thank everybody.  This is a fantastic state.  This is a great great state.  You know we won New Hampshire three times now. Three. Three. We win it every time. We win the primary, we win the generals we wanted [Note: in the general elections, Trump lost to Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020], and it's very very special place to me. It's very important. If you remember in 2016, we came here and we needed that win and we won by 21 points [Note: actually 19.5] and it was great. And today I have to tell you it was very interesting because I said wow what a great victory but then somebody ran up to the stage all dressed up nicely when it was at 7. But now I just walked up and it's at 14 [Note: Trump won by 11 points and was never as high as +14]. Ran up what it was 7 and you know we have to do what's good for our party, and she was up, and I said well she's still doing like a speech like she won. She didn't win, she lost, and you know last, last week we had a little bit of a problem, and if you remember Ron was very upset because she ran up and she pretended she won Iowa, and I looked around, I said didn't she come in third. Yeah, she came in third, and then I looked at the polls. She was talking about most winnability, who's going to win and I had one put up. I don't know if you're seeing it but I have one put up. We've won almost every single poll in the last three months against crooked Joe Biden. Almost every poll, and she doesn't win those polls, and she doesn't win. This, this is not your typical victory speech. But let's not have somebody take a victory when she had a very bad night, she had a very bad night. And you have the very the now very unpopular governor of this state, this guy he's got to be on something. I've never seen anybody with energy, he’s like hopscotch, and you know I’m I'm watching this guy, and two weeks ago said we're going to win, we're going to win in a landslide, we're going to win. About three days ago I started saying what we want to do well.  That's a big difference. But I walked out just now, we're 14 points up and I don't know what it's going to be [Note: it was never 14, and it ended at 11], but when she was up here was like 6 or 7 and you know with like 7% of the vote counted. Now let me just tell you we had an unbelievable week last week, and Iowa we set a record. It was the best in the history of the caucus in the history, and I remember I sorta I had the same feeling. I'm up and I'm watching, and I said she's taking a victory lap, and we beat her so badly, she was, but Ron beat her also, you know Ron came in second and he left, she came in third, and she’s still hanging around. The other thing she only got 25% of the Republican votes. I don't know if you saw that tremendous numbers of independents came out because in this state, because you have a governor that doesn't frankly know what the hell is doing in this state. In the Republican primary they accept Democrats to vote. In fact I think they had 4,000 Democroats Democrats before October 6. They already voted. Now they're all the voting because they want to make me look as bad as possible, because if you remember we won in 2016 and if you really remembered if you want to play it straight, we also won in 2020 by more and we did much better in 2020 than we did in 2016. [Note:  Trump, then the incumbent, received only token opposition in the NH 2020 primary.]  But as they said we lost by a whisker, just by a whisker. [Note:  it is unclear what he is referring to here.  Maybe Iowa, where he lost by a narrow margin to Ted Cruz and claimed it was fixed?]  No, no, but we can't let that happen. You know you have to have people that speak up. I said I can go up and I can say to everybody oh thank you for the victory, it's wonderful. It's what or I can go up and say, who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and like claimed a victory? She did very poorly actually. She had to win, the governor said she's going to win, she's going to win, she's going to win. Then she, she failed very badly now.”

Stay tuned.

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