Tomorrow is the Nevada Caucus, and even though South Carolina really means more, the Nevada results will bring a lot of breathless hype from everyone talking about how this “changes the race!” As they’ll now say everytime any state votes, and another good reason that it’s a little crazy that basically the entire month of February (from the 1st to the 26th) has only three primaries and endless time to obsess over them. Why is there a full week between Nevada and South Carolina on the Democratic side, while Super-Tuesday is only three days after South Carolina?
Anyway, the Nevada Caucus is the first Democratic state with minorities in them—both Iowa and especially New Hampshire are over 90% white—and moderators will undoubtedly read too much into the results to see if Bernie’s message can “translate” to Hispanic or black voters. [For his part, Bernie looked like he had real trouble understanding Spanish accents in the Democratic Town Hall, asking each question asker to repeat themselves and looking half-deaf.]
The only problem: Republicans may be voting for him to purposely derail Hillary. In Nevada’s Caucus, people who intend to vote Republican have to do so ten days before their February 23rd outing. On the Democratic side, they can register to vote that day. Meaning that there could be an awful lot of Republicans who decide to vote tomorrow and vote against Hillary to get a weaker candidate in the general. In fact, there have been reports that there is an organized Republican effort (by college Republicans and also prominent Nevada GOP activists) to do exactly that. In a close-race like Nevada (polling shows them about even), that could make the difference.
It’s no secret that Republicans are more afraid of Hillary than Bernie. The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal write daily hit pieces on her, and Faux News published a “poll” yesterday where she overtakes him nationally for the first time. [Yet every poll by anyone else shows she still enjoys a ten-point lead.] They barely even mention Bernie during the Republican debates, instead focusing solely on “unqualified,” “incompetent,” “criminal” Hillary. John Kasich and Trump have both admitted that Bernie is a much weaker candidate, and the others seem to unintentionally reveal their hand by not speaking Bernie’s name in-between relentless Hillary-bashing. After the last presidential election, Karl Rove even wrote a plan that said Hillary was the one they were afraid of, and they wanted to use a far-left challenger to drive a wedge between her and progressives…the 2012 playbook didn’t have Bernie’s name on it, but it sure seems like he’s running with it.
All of this is to say that I wouldn’t expect the Nevada Caucus to give you an accurate reading tomorrow. And I definitely wouldn’t put it past Bernie’s victory to come with a “GOP”-stamp of approval.