Feb
14
BREAKING: Nevada Caucus Likely An Embarrassing Mess


the next democratic primary is once again
a caucus. It is in Nevada in entree. Barry 22nd and I wish I had better news, but
sadly it does look like the Nevada democratic caucus is going to be, yeah, another embarrassingly convoluted mess
kind of building on the mess of the Iowa caucus on February 3rd the big news after Iowa and
the complete failure of the app that I was was using to communicate the results from
different parts of the state. Nevada decided they are not going to use the
same app that imploded in Iowa. They had initially planned to use that app. They, they’re changing their plans and this
made a lot of people think it’s definitely going to go more smoothly in Nevada than it
did in Iowa and in some ways it’s still might, but there are more and more reasons to be
concerned about what’s going to happen in Nevada. One issue is, okay, well they’re abandoning
the app that didn’t work well in Iowa, but what are they replacing it with? You’ve got to replace it with something. There is not a super clear answer right now. According to the associated press, Nevada
Democrats told precinct leaders, you will be getting an iPad the day of the caucuses. Seth Morrison is a site leader who’s going
to oversee a bunch of different precincts in the Las Vegas area. And Seth said he was told he would be trained
on the iPad when he picks it up a few days before the caucuses. And then on the day of the caucuses he will
have to teach the precinct leaders how to use these iPads that they’re going to be getting. That doesn’t sound great to me. I don’t know about you, but that’s not sounding,
that’s not inspiring. Huge levels of confidence. Number two, um, in Nevada they will be reporting
three sets of numbers for the first time. Similar to an Iowa, there’s going to be the
initial vote totals from the first sort of round. Then there’s the realignment based on candidates
that don’t meet the 15% viability threshold, have to realign to other candidates. And then you have a final vote total and then
you have to report the final delegate number. These, uh, all of these steps add opportunities
for human error. And chaos and confusion. And we’ve talked about more generally what
about getting rid of the caucus system altogether. But then the real factor is that Nevada on
top of all of the caucus craziness has early voting, which Iowa did not have. Now you might be thinking to yourself, well
in a primary you just send in who you’re voting for early. That’s no big deal. It gets counted on the of the election. How on earth do you do early voting in a caucus? And the way it works, interestingly enough,
is early voters who want to participate in the caucus have to use a rank choice, valid
ballot, since you won’t be there to see whether your top choice meets the 15% viability threshold. And if they don’t, you get realigned to some
other candidate. You have to in advance order the candidates
in terms of preference. So this is another element that could wreak
just absolute and total havoc at the local precinct level in Nevada when tallying up
the votes because it all has to be done during that few hour period that the caucus is taking
place. And then on top of this to add just like an
almost cartoonish element to everything. Instead of you know, an Iowa, they would do
the coin flips for tiebreakers in Nevada and it sort of is fitting because of Las Vegas. Nevada is going to do a card game. There will be a high car draw. You draw a card and whoever gets the high
card, that candidate gets the tie break the which is just absolutely crazy. Any system that involves coin flips or drawing
cards to decide who wins. Even at the, at the micro, a delegate level,
it’s a bad system. The one simplifying element in Nevada is that
there are only delegates, there aren’t delegates and state delegate equivalents like in Iowa. That’s a good thing. So growing concern from Nevada Democrats should
be concerned given what we are learning there. Nevada has 36 delegates up for grabs. This makes it roughly the size of Iowa. Iowa had 41 delegates, a New Hampshire had
24 delegates and then on top of everything as a as, as we, as of right now, we don’t
really have good recent polling from Nevada. The latest poll is from January 11 that makes
it difficult to even have some kind of a base number to compare vote totals to which can
help to sniff out problems. If you have a bunch of recent polls and a
candidate is polling 10 and then they get 40 then that raises a red flag and you’ve
got to figure out whether those results are accurate. Hopefully by February 22nd which is the day
of the Nevada caucuses, there will be more, a more recent polling, one other kind of messy
thing in Nevada, which is even more uh, acute than in Iowa. In Iowa, where you vote, vote sort of matters. And as we saw Pete, Buddha judge got the largest
number of delegates despite not getting the largest number of votes in Nevada. This is even more pronounced. Nevada’s total population is just a hair over
3 million people. Las Vegas has about 20% of that population. 650,000 Reno has another 250,000 so between
Las Vegas and Reno, you have about 30% of the total population of the state. It just those two cities, because of that
urban rural divide in Nevada, you can win in urban centers and lose on delegates and
you can have all of these wacky scenarios. So if you look at 2008 for example, in 2008
in the Nevada caucus, Barack Obama came away with 13 delegates and Hillary got 12 but Obama
lost the popular vote totals by about six percentage points. Still got more delegates than Hillary. This is more pronounced than it was in Iowa
this year. In 2016 there was also a pretty unbalanced
delegate total relative to the popular vote. In 2016 Hillary won the popular vote by just
five percentage points, but she got 57% of the delegates, a much larger share. And of course this in part is because of those
viability thresholds that we talked about earlier today. In any caucus, this can happen in Nevada that
urban rural divide can make it even even more acute. So let’s hope for the best. Ideally they’re preparing for the worst. The silver lining here is that, and this is
a weird silver lining. It’s another very small number of delegates
on super Tuesday, March 3rd, all of these primaries, it’s off. First of all, it’s all primaries from, from
what I recall. And it is a much larger number of delegates,
a lot of, of potentially difference-making primaries on March 3rd. So if there’s any silver lining about Nevada,
it’s that it’s not that many delegates. And if it gets royally screwed up, it’s unlikely
to drastically affect the total delegate counts. I know that that’s an extremely, it’s an extremely
low bar to be setting. Uh, but it is what it is.