Politicking for the Nov. 5, 2020 nationwide general election has begun in earnest, and Nevada is being regarded by many political experts across the country as a “wild card” state in the race for president.
Nevada is considered a “wide-open field” and is “notoriously difficult to poll” because it “lacks a clear favorite among the Democratic presidential contenders,” thus making it “primed for a surprise winner who could shake up the battle for the right to challenge Republican President Donald Trump,” according to the Huffington Post.
“Nevada is very much up for grabs. Any candidate who can establish a statewide presence will be able to be our nominee. We’re a state that can make or break a campaign,” said William McCurdy, chair of the state Democratic Party.
“Nevada Democrats have noted that building a ground game will be key, because of the state’s transient nature and its diversity. Caucus ballots will be offered in English, Spanish and Tagalog, and operatives in the state say campaigns should expect to have field staffs fluent in all three languages, along with a few others,” added Donna West, Clark County Democratic chairperson.
“We have a large Latino population, a large Filipino population and a large African-American population. We have a real representation of what the U.S. looks like,” said Jorge Neri, the Nevada state director for Hillary Clinton’s winning general election campaign in the state for president against Trump in 2016.
Although the state’s Democrats will not hold their all-important caucuses until mid-February, when they will determine whom among the 24 Democratic presidential candidates they choose to oppose Trump, many of the hopefuls have already been traveling through Nevada to woo audiences to their causes.
Among the candidates hoping to take on Trump, former Delaware U.S. Sen. and Vice President Joe Biden currently leads the other prime candidates, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, not only in winning the state’s caucuses but in beating Trump in the general election. The results of a nationwide Washington Post poll released earlier this month, for example, indicated that Biden would outvote Trump by 53% to 40% if the election were held today.
Another poll, conducted by USC and the Los Angeles Times and released over the past weekend, showed that 70% of Democrats who plan to vote in the primaries say they will vote for a Democratic presidential candidate who is a white male and a “moderate” rather than a liberal or progressive. This news, of course, has buoyed Biden, who seems to fill these requirements.
Biden, however, has “baggage,” i.e. his reputation of placing his hands on females and flirting with them, and allegations that he was unnecessarily cozy with racist southern senators while serving in the U.S. Senate.
Still another recent poll, conducted by Fox News which has consistently supported Trump, showed that Biden would beat Trump by a wide margin if the election were held today. Upon hearing this unsettling news, Trump reportedly “went ballistic,” calling it a “fake poll” reported by the “fake news media” and then added, “Something weird is going on at Fox.” Trump then fired two or three of his top pollsters who had taken their own polls that produced the same results reported by Fox, which indicated Trump was behind Biden in double digits in several key “battleground” states that had supported him in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton.
Concerning the Nevada political scene, critical congressional elections also will be held on Nov. 5, 2020. Because neither of the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, are up for re-election next year, the contests entail campaigns for Nevada’s four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mark Amodei, the incumbent Second District Republican congressman who represents Churchill County and most of Northern Nevada, will undoubtedly beat the Democrat who opposes him. The Second District has always voted Republican, and in 2018 Amodei beat Democrat Clint Koble, a retired U.S. Dept. of Agriculture official, by 58.2% to 41.8%.
The state’s other three congresspersons, who represent most of Southern Nevada, are Democrats, and the GOP is raising big bucks and seeking out qualified applicants to take on the Demos in order to “flip” the districts. National and state Democratic leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, are pleading for funds to help maintain the three Democratic congresspersons in office. One of the three is freshman Rep. Susie Lee of Las Vegas, whose husband heads a gaming corporation which owns several Nevada casinos including Stockman’s in Fallon.
Despite what has been revealed by the polls, anything can happen on election day. Although he lost the vote count to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million, Trump went on to win because he received the most electoral votes. The same thing happened to Democrat Al Gore when he won approximately 500,000 more votes than Bush Number Two but also lost in the Electoral College. And, very important, polls make terrible errors and a good number of people being polled lie to pollsters as to whom they plan to vote for. As well, there could be war, Stock Market reversals and other anticipated events which could make current poll results meaningless.
Hold on to your seatbelts. We are facing an exciting and grueling 17 months until the November 2020 elections.
David C. Henley is publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle-Standard.