In 2024, NV’s Democratic presidential primary will be 2nd! If there is one.
Las Vegas, November, 2019. Without cheating, who can name them all? (Nevada Current file photo)
Congratulations to Nevada Democrats, both the socialist ones who officially run the party and the legacy Reid Machine ones who are out to take their party back. In 2024, Nevada’s primary (not a dumb caucus anymore, yay) will be the second – second! – Democratic presidential nomination contest in the nation.
It’s not all rainbows and sparklies though. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the 2024 Nevada Democratic Primary, along with all the Democratic presidential primaries in all the states, might be the most ignored political procedure of the 2024 campaign cycle.
Nevada’s second-in-the-nation Democratic Presidential Primary might not happen at all. The 2021 state law that ended the dumb party-run caucuses (yay) and replaced it with a state-run primary says the primary “must not be held” if there’s only one candidate.
Such a scenario isn’t unprecedented. In 2020 Republicans in Nevada and a few other states didn’t bother to hold (dumb) caucuses or primaries, citing Donald Trump’s magical powers.
Sure, it’s possible that Joe Biden, for whatever reason and to the relief of a lot of Democratic voters, ends up not being a candidate for reelection in 2024. Then Nevada could revisit all the glory of Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg racking up frequent-flyer miles to Las Vegas. A slew of governors would probably be in the mix as well. And presented with a potentially very crowded field, can we truly rule out the prospect that Nevada is in fact exactly the sort of place that might give Joe Manchin the nod?
The far more likely scenario of course is that Nevada will be deprived of such amusement, Biden runs, and there isn’t a primary. Or if there is one, it’s because some rando grifter or chucklehead of profound insignificance – 2024’s answer to Tulsi Gabbard, if you will – is on the ballot, so Nevada will technically have a primary but nobody will care, not even Nevada.
But hey, the 2028 Nevada Democratic Primary is sure to be lit. So watch for that.
Meantime, the Nevada Republican contest promises to be where the local action is.
What, or when, the Nevada Republican contest will be is a Rumsfeldian known unknown. The Republican National Committee, which recently recommitted to being helmed by Mitt Romney’s estranged niece, has declared that it does not care about the Democrats and their silly calendar, and instead will stick to the same old same old: Iowa’s dumb caucuses, followed by New Hampshire, then Nevada, then South Carolina.
Iowa and New Hampshire, both reportedly peopled with stubborn snow-bound farmers, insist they’re not deviating from the traditional order (even if that means their Democratic contests, if there are any, don’t even count). So those states will schedule themselves to be first. Those darned anti-Iowa and anti-New Hampshire national Democrats scheduled South Carolina for Feb.3, so Iowa and New Hampshire will both have to before then.
That means Nevada Republicans could go third, as per the RNC, and still end up having their contest on the first Tuesday in February, Feb. 6. That’s the same day as the currently scheduled Nevada Democratic Presidential Primary, and more important to Republicans, the day state statute designates. If Republicans went then, and had a primary instead of a caucus, the state would pay for it and run it. If Republicans go for a different date, and opt for a dumb caucus, it’d be like the oldy timey days again and the party would have to foot the bill and organize and run the event.
Nevada Republicans opposed the state law creating a primary. Especially if there is no Democratic primary, it has to be super tempting for Republicans to say ha ha neener neener state of Nevada you will now pay for ours. Or words to that effect.
Whether Republicans hold a caucus or a primary might matter to some candidates, though. For instance, Trump reportedly may favor caucuses. You will recall Nevada Republican Party Chairman For Life Michael McDonald and Nevada’s Republican National Committeeman James DeGraffenried both signed and submitted to Congress fake electoral certificates as part of Trump’s plot to overthrow the election results, even though both McDonald and DeGraffenreid knew doing so was against the law. So if Trump wants a caucus, that might be what Nevada Republicans get.
But for the average Nevadan on the street, the scenarios are likely the same whatever the date or form of the Republican contest
As of this writing, the most likely of those scenarios is an epic Kulturkampf in which Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis battle to see who can most earnestly arouse and exploit the fear and grievance of MAGA and MAGA-adjacent folk by most inappropriately grossing out virtually everyone else.
Unless DeSantis chickens out.
In that case too many Republicans to mention will be bumping into each other in Elko and that one bar off the south end of the Strip where Michele Fiore made a NSFW video that one time.
Perhaps now you are not even looking forward to the 2024 presidential race at all. Fair enough. More than fair enough.
And it is too bad that Nevada Democrats probably won’t get to really show off their second-place medal in 2024. Anticlimactic, no?
But if you are among those who pine for Nevada to be in the thick of presidential politics (oh hi local tv station ad reps), don’t cry. As in 2020, some states will be battleground states in 2024. We all know which ones they are (and which ones they’re not – oh hi South Carolina and Iowa and New Hampshire).
And like it or not, we all know Nevada, though one of the smaller ones, is one of them nonetheless.
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