by Tim Korso
The state, which has rarely been claimed by Republican presidential candidates, has long been considered a Democratic Party stronghold. However, some Democrats are not so sure this it will be the case in 2020.
Several Democratic Party officials have told Newsweek that Nevada “could be the Michigan of 2020”, meaning that the traditionally Democratic state may flip to the red side and vote for Trump on 3 November this year. Las Vegas Democratic strategist Andres Ramirez has stated that the state can no longer be regarded as a guaranteed win for Democrat nominee Joe Biden.
“I am certainly not convinced that Nevada is a slam dunk for the Biden team. I am certainly not convinced that we know where this is going to go at this moment”, Ramirez said.
According to the strategist, the shift in the state’s mood has mostly been due to the rampant unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdowns hit the state’s tourism industry especially hard, leaving Las Vegas’ numerous casinos and hotels without customers for half a year and forcing many employers to either lay off employees or close up shop for good. The unemployment level in Nevada reached 20% at one point and the recent reopening of the economy is not changing situation quickly enough, according to Ramirez.
But the drastic spike in unemployment has dealt another blow to Nevada Democrats, too. Apart from demoralising the party’s core voters, the high unemployment has drained some local unions of their funds, with organisations struggling to regain money needed to campaign for Biden, the national campaign director for the Win Justice super PAC, Kenia Morales, told Newsweek.
“This is not an exaggeration, or a hoax that Democrats are doing. This is actually true”, the campaign director said.
Morales explained that during the lockdowns, one union, the Culinary Union, comprised mostly of women, immigrants, and Latinos, helped its members by paying some of the bills for those in trouble. Now, as the majority of its members remain without work, the union cannot raise funds in order to support the Democrats’ presidential campaign.
“For the people thinking ‘Nevada is going to be fine because they’re going to do what they’ve always done’, well we f**king wish”, Morales concluded.
Nevada has not been won by a Republican candidate since 2004, with its governor, state Senate and Assembly being completely taken by Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Still, to do so wouldn’t be anything unheard of for the Republican candidate, President Donald Trump, who managed to win Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan in 2016 despite these states previously being considered solid blue. At the same time, his position has also been greatly undermined by the coronavirus pandemic, which has eaten up the impressive gains in the economy that his administration achieved following his election.