Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Nevadans Head to the Polls

The Nevada primary is over, and while the delegate allocation was known before it ever started, the results were at least a little bit interesting.

First, on the Republican side, Nikki Haley had a night that can only be described as grim. With 30.8% of the vote, she did outpace the two prominent Republicans no longer in the race—Mike Pence (4.2%) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC; 1.4%). However, Haley's share of the total was doubled by the 62.9% of people who voted for "none of these candidates."

Haley's campaign, as we have already noted, is downplaying this result because she didn't visit Nevada or spend any money there. But that is also going to be true, or largely so, of most of the Super Tuesday states. If she can't win primarily on the strength of her name and her national campaign, then she can't win. Republican voters clearly aren't interested in what she's selling, and even if Donald Trump has to be replaced by the RNC for some reason, there's no way the RNC members can look at Tuesday's result and conclude that Haley is the second-best standard-bearer the party has. Similarly, it's hard to see how Haley can plausibly catch fire in 2028, when she expects to be the frontrunner. She's just too far out of step with the Republican Party as it is currently constituted.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Joe Biden didn't do as well as he did in South Carolina, but he did claim just shy of 90% of the vote (and all the delegates, of course). In second place was "none of these candidates" with 5.8%, followed by Marianne Williamson at 2.8%. All the other candidates got less than 1%. As we noted yesterday, Rep. Dean Phillips (DFL-MN) botched his paperwork, so he wasn't on the ballot. However, it is hard to imagine he would have collected more than 1-2% of the vote if he had been on the ballot.

Biden has now won one unofficial primary and two official primaries, and in all cases his margin was enormous. There is no question that many Democratic and independent voters are not enthusiastic about him as the nominee. But it appears that they are not especially enthusiastic about their lack of enthusiasm. That is to say, they may pooh-pooh the President to pollsters (say that five times fast), but they don't feel strongly enough to get to the polls to register their disdain. That suggests to us that they're probably open to holding their noses and voting Biden, once it's clear the choice is him or Donald Trump.

Next up is the Nevada Republican caucus, where the only candidates on the ballot are Trump and Ryan Binkley. Trump is going to crush Binkley, although it would be a little embarrassing for the former president if he doesn't break 90%. After all, there's no "none of these candidates" alternative available to caucus voters. (Z)

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