24 February 2016

Five things to take away from the Nevada Republican caucuses


The results are in from the Nevada Republican caucus last night. Fresh from his win in the South Carolina Primary, where he won all 50 of the state’s delegates, it seems that Donald Trump and Making America Great Again is what the people want: he clinched 45.9% of the votes, an easy win. Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in second, more than 20 points behind, with 23.9% of the votes. Ted Cruz managed to salvage some dignity and blustered his way into a very close third, securing 21.4%, in a caucus race that was marred by accusations of his dirty politicking.

Rounding up the candidates, Ben Carson and John Kasich finished fourth and fifth respectively. It seems that it will be only a matter of time before they announce their resignations from the race. Kasich has already frustrated GOP leaders by his constant refusal to drop out from the race. Overall the tone of the caucuses echoed the anti-establishment sentiment consistently blaring out from Team Trump. Many voters opted to show their anger by backing Trump.

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas: here are five articles to get you up to date with the results from the Nevada caucuses:

1. GOP Nevada caucuses bear little similarity to Iowa’s, Reid J. Epstein, Washington Wire

A short piece that offers voter opinions and an explanation of the caucus process in Nevada:

“In Iowa, the GOP caucuses begin with speeches touting each candidate, neighbors trying to convince neighbors to back their choice. In Nevada, the caucuses look more like a primary, except one run by volunteers where people vote while sitting at three-foot diameter tables spread across a high school cafeteria.”

While voter opinion varied, the mood throughout the night was decidedly anti-establishment.

2. Rubio endorsement spree may be too late, Anna Palmer and Eli Stokols, Politico

The Republican establishment has finally fallen in love with Marco Rubio, but it may be too late.

It’s interesting that the GOP establishment have thrown their support behind a candidate who has yet to win a primary. It would seem that the groundswell of support for Rubio follows increasingly urgent calls to stop Trump from gaining more delegates. Unfortunately for Rubio, anti-establishment sentiment is at an all-time high, and the endorsements could end up having the opposite effect on Rubio’s campaign.

3. It’s Trump’s race to lose, Russell Berman, The Atlantic

With so much support already behind him, Trump is the only one with everything to lose.

“Following similarly dominant wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Nevada victory gives Trump a head of steam going into the dozen states that hold primaries and caucuses next week on Super Tuesday. Polls show Trump leading many of those races, and the only event standing in his way is a Republican debate on Thursday night in Texas.”

4. If Trump can convincingly win Thursday night’s debate and stoke the anti-establishment fires the Republican nomination could very well be his. Trump romps home in Nevada caucuses, The Japan Times 

Angry rhetoric for the angry masses is a winning combination:

“Six in 10 caucus-goers said they were angry with the way the government is working, and Trump got about half of those angry voters, according to preliminary results of an entrance poll.”

It seems that it will be an uphill battle for Trump’s rivals, if they want to put an end to the Trump juggernaut. While only 30 delegates were at stake in the Silver State, it appeared that his belligerent blustering served him well.

5. “I love the poorly educated” – Read Donald Trump’s full victory speech, Quartz 

Quartz did everyone a favour and wrote a transcript of Trump’s victory speech where he thanked everyone, from Hispanics, to the poorly educated. He loves everyone.  And he’s still going to get the Mexicans to build his wall.

We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people, and you know what I’m happy about? Because I’ve been saying it for a long time. 46% were the Hispanics—46%, number one with Hispanics. I’m really happy about that.”

Coming up next week is Super Tuesday, on the 1st of March when 11 states will be holding their primaries. It remains to be seen if the angry mood that ruled in Nevada will prevail in other states, and if that will be enough to propel Trump to presidential candidacy.

Wei Tien Sng is a CapX contributor.