Newspaper column: In Nevada election the tail wags the dog

Welcome to the state of Clark.

The land mass that is Clark County was added to Nevada three years after statehood, carved from a corner of Arizona. It was a part of Lincoln County until 1909, when the Legislature split off Clark County.

Clark dangles on the map like a vestigial tail on the nether region of Nevada.

On Election Day 2016, the tail wagged the dog.

This past week 1.1 million Nevadans cast presidential ballots, fully 68 percent of those were cast in Clark County — and there was a stark difference in how Clark voted compared to the rest of the state.

Only in Clark County did a majority vote for the Democratic Senate candidate. Thus it was for much of the ballot.

In the presidential contest alone the difference was a spectrum shift from bright Democratic blue in Clark to crimson Republican red just about everywhere else in the state.

While Democrat Hillary Clinton beat out Republican nominee Donald Trump statewide by about 36,000 votes, she bested him in Clark by more than 80,000 ballots, while he out polled her in the rest of the state by 55,000 votes, according to Secretary of State tabulations.

The only other Nevada county Clinton won was urban Washoe and that by only 2,500 votes out of more than 190,000 cast there. In other counties Trump won largely by margins exceeding 2-to-1 and in Lincoln County by 6-to-1.

Meanwhile, in the senatorial race to fill the vacancy being left by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s retirement, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto won statewide, but the only county she won was Clark. She won statewide by about 2 percentage points or 26,000 votes, but won by 80,000 votes in Clark. Republican Joe Heck, who gave up his Congressional District 3 seat to run for the Senate, won every other county, some by more than 4-to-1. Excluding Clark, Heck won the remainder of Nevada by more than 55,000 votes.

Nearly 4 percent of Nevadans chose “none of these candidates” in the Senate race.

In the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part of Lyon County and all of White Pine, Nye, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Lincoln counties — Democrat Ruben Kihuen won districtwide by nearly 10,000 votes but won in Clark by about 24,000.

Incumbent Republican Cresent Hardy won every other county, all by about 2-to-1 or more.

After the dust settles, Nevada switches from having four out of its six Washington delegates being Republicans to four being Democrats.

Democrats won all save one of the Clark County state Senate seats up for grabs, giving the Democrats an 11-10 majority in Carson City, instead of the previous 11-10 GOP edge.

Republicans won every rural Assembly seat, while Democrats carried most races in Clark and Washoe, giving Democrats a 27-15 majority, instead of the previous Republican majority.

The gun grabbing Question 1 ballot initiative requiring background checks for almost every gun purchase or gift passed by 100,000 votes in Clark, but failed in every other county, often with 80 to 90 percent voting no.

Question 2, legalization of pot, passed only in Clark, Washoe, Nye and Story, but narrowly won statewide due to Clark’s numbers.

In 2014 Nevada experienced a red shift, when Republicans won all six statewide elective offices — governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, attorney general — as well as majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

The 2016 reversal of fortune was probably best explained by a little-circulated Associated Press story that appeared about a week before the election. It described how the Las Vegas Culinary union was busing thousands of casino housekeepers and staffers to early voting sites just off the Las Vegas Strip, “speaking in Spanish as they clutched pocket-sized brochures listing candidates endorsed by the powerful Culinary union.”

The union bused workers during their paid lunch break and handed them boxed lunches for the ride back to work.

The story went on to report that the union had registered 34,000 members to vote, had reassigned 150 members to full-time political work, planned to knock on 200,000 doors and place phone calls to co-workers.

There is talk in California since the election of Trump about secession from the Union. Anyone think Clark County should go with them?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

44 comments on “Newspaper column: In Nevada election the tail wags the dog

  1. John L. Smith says:

    Looks pretty blue to me. Since when is an election a battle of geography? Vestigial tail? How about a big empty cranium set between Sierra and Wasatch ears? >

  2. Vernon Clayson says:

    On the other hand, the vote placed 2 newcomers to Washington where they will be minor figures in the minority, it will take a long time for Kihuen to get his legs in the House, if ever, and Cortez-Masto carrying out Harry Reid’s messages and agenda in the Senate won’t make her exactly popular there, hope she develops a distaste for that. Will she even select her own staff?

  3. Bill says:

    Clark County has long been the population, economic and political center of the State of Nevada with the ability to totally control the politics in Nevada. The North and the Rurals have been in a state of hope and denial that this was true for a number of years. If Clark wants to secede I would think that this might be met with universal approval in the Rurals and they might well want Washoe to do the same.

  4. Barbara says:

    Look at the voting records of those defeated Republicans. Is there really more than a dime’s worth of difference between the Dems and the Reps? Obama got every funding option he wanted as well as defacto amnesty. Yes there is some differences, but no bright line.

  5. Barbara has it right. The Republican majority of 2014 and the governor voted for the largest tax increase in Nevada history with a few exceptions. This round the conservative candidates were all defeated with just a couple of exceptions. However, having been close to this mix I will add we have election fraud that is not being addressed. The courts have corruption and the unions have corruption and a whole bus load of illegal aliens voted. No one seems to care much so why should I. And John Smith that was an uneccessary post. You should concern yourself with cleaning up your party. I will concern myself with cleaning up mine. Nevada is the shame of the nation.

  6. Bruce Feher says:

    Spot on Barbara!

  7. deleted says:

    The rural counties in Nevada, as with most, if not all, “red” areas of the country, are parasitical on the relative economic producing areas of the country. Clark Country produces the revenue, and the rural areas get more, on a per capita basis, than they contribute.

    It’s time they learned to stop sucking off the teat of those whose ideals they profess to distain.

    I’m reminded of a parent with whiny kids always being told how wrong they handle things, until they grow up.

  8. Steve says:

    Patrick is one vote FOR secession.

    I say, riddance!

  9. Rincon says:

    Does it occur to anyone that this is very much the same for much of the nation? New York City dominates New York politics, Chicago dominates Illinois politics, Atlanta dominates Georgian politics and so on. Somehow, as I grew up, the leaders of these states managed to compromise as needed and I’ve seen most of these states thrive. Today, we’re too childish to allow compromise, so we squabble like a couple on the verge of divorce. As with marriage, this dynamic is destructive for everyone

    Rural Nevadans have more voting power per person than their urban and suburban counterparts, but they’re unhappy because they have more land and so, feel they deserve even more representation as if acreage should confer power. Do they net more or less tax money per person than people in the cities? In Illinois, rural people come out ahead. Sounds like the rurals in Nevada don’t believe that democracy as a unified country is a good idea.

    The strength of our country lies in our unity. Do we really want to go the way of the European Union?

  10. Steve says:

    85% of Nevada is federal land.
    Rincon is from Illinois if memory serves. Your rural population actually has more land than our rural population….

  11. Bill says:

    Sorry, Rincon, I am a little slow. How do “rural nevadans have more voting power per person than their urban and suburban counterparts”? Explain that to his slow learner.

    And, were did you get the idea that rural residents are unhappy “because hey have more land”…? Most of the “rurals” that I know live in urban centers in houses about the same sized as in Clark and Washoe Counties.

    A good number of hose who live in our “rural” counties tend to be a bit more conservative in their views than those in our major metropolitan areas. Take a look at the results of this election if you have any doubts. They tend to be the ones that our President described as clinging to their “guns and religion”.

    Finally, do you really believe what you have written? For instance, the “rurals in Nevada don’ believe that democracy in a unified country is a good idea”? I only took one logic course in college so enlighten me please and while you are at it, throw in a little empirical evidence to support your gross generalizations.

  12. Barbara says:

    “Sounds like the rurals in Nevada don’t believe that democracy as a unified country is a good idea”.

    Madison in Federalist 10 …”such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

    The Founding Fathers rejected establishing a pure democracy which is what you are arguing for now. Article IV, Section 4 – “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,”

    You need to understand why a Republic is superior to a Democracy.

  13. deleted says:

    Two opinion pieces, one based on assertions made in the other?

    I would have thought the spread of false journalism would have bothered you more Thomas.

  14. I always encourage skepticism … of all sources. Did you read the headlines on some of the “true” stories?

  15. deleted says:

    I did read the headlines. Tabloid journalism at it’s finest. Sad that it’s come to this.

    Doesn’t change that stories that are pure falsehoods, posing as news, will inevitably lead to calls for restricting freedom of the press, and people who will be forced to agree.

    It’s why self regulation, and the ideal that people will act reasonably in the absence of regulation just never works.

  16. I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.

  17. Steve says:

    Fake news, all of it not just the political forms, is what created fact checking sites like Politifact and FactCheck. Snopes was already on the march way back in the 90’s fighting fake virus “alerts”, they branched out into debunking all kinds of fake garbage we used to call rumor.

    I was pushing back on many of those things and lost people from my list on Facebook. 3 conservatives and 2 liberals decided they liked their fantasy’s better than reality.

    Now I treat all those things as they should be treated, gossip. I block any originating page from my feed and it has slowly improved to the point I am no longer bothered with them.

    All those pages listed in the buzzfeed top 5 were blocked from my FB feed a few months ago.

    Now, Facebook and Google are actively working at the very mechanism making those lies so pervasive, the engine designed to create and sell advertising on the platforms.
    Crappy advertising eventually turns people away from the source. Both Google and Facebook know where their revenue will go if they allow such corruption to continue to spread on their platforms. This alone will be enough to keep these money hungry snake oil salespersons at bay.

    But the real problem is people. People just love their echo chambers. I try to avoid doing that by reading Sebelius and Ralston regularly but the Sun and the RJ have become their own echo chambers and are increasingly difficult to accept.
    I look forward to Ralston’s new effort the Nevada Independent.

    Patrick, Rincon and Nyp really should be congratulated for coming to a site like this one. They are fish out of water here.

  18. Barbara says:

    And that in a nutshell is the difference in the left vs the right today. Shall we acknowledge that the left has nothing but disdain for humanity and this disdain manifests itself by demanding complete control of the individual from cradle to grave? The left just doesn’t believe in enlightenment, but would in fact return to the dark ages.

  19. Steve says:

    The right also suffers from control freak issues, Barbara.

    Jeff Sessions is a good example.

  20. Barbara says:

    Examples of Jeff Sessions being a control freak?

  21. deleted says:

    Funny. Someone suggesting that “we” should acknowledge that “the left” has “nothing but distain” for humanity” pressing anyone for specific examples of a comment.

    Course, this does come from someone who professed to support Tom Cruz, and also vehemently stated her position of never voting for Trump, on some “principled basis”, then turning around and stating that she was voting for Trump.

    Let me just LOL.

  22. Steve says:

    “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”
    He once joked the KKK was OK until he found out they smoked Marijuana….

    While you may agree with this, it doesn’t give him any more right to control people in their own homes than it gives the left the right to prevent people from reading any material they wish.

  23. Steve says:

    I presume you meant Ted Cruz, Patrick.

  24. deleted says:

    And a Thomas the sentiment expressed may have been a fine thing when it was uttered, although something tells me even then it was hopelessly naive and even dangerous to liberty.

    Today, not onl have people shown themselves capable of exercising their control, the current economic system in place, encourages the exact opposite. Which is why false news, continues to grow as an enterprise.

  25. deleted says:

    “I said what I meant, and I meant wha I said”

    Steve, your a fuking idiot.

  26. Steve says:

    And there you have it, Patrick’s own special way of admitting to an error.

  27. Barbara says:

    Very weak Steve. The accusation that Sessions said the KKK was okay until he found out they smoked marijuana came from Thomas Figures, a black assistant U.S. attorney who worked for Sessions It only came up during a confirmation hearing on a federal judgeship for Sessions back in the 80s. Figures also similar allegations against another US attorney who worked in the office. The allegations were nothing more than hearsay, and both Sessions and the other attorney denied them.

    From the Weekly Standard:

    “Sessions’s actual track record certainly doesn’t suggest he’s a racist. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a U.S. Attorney he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, son of Alabama Klan leader Bennie Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a black teenager selected at random. Sessions insisted on the death penalty for Hays. When he was later elected the state Attorney General, Sessions followed through and made sure Hays was executed. The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.”

  28. Steve says:

    “Very weak Steve.” I made it clear that KKK bit was a joke. But his efforts at keeping prohibition in place are no joke and not weak at all.
    Nor did I say anything about his personal racial beliefs.
    You asked for an example. His prohibitionist position is a perfect example of the right being just as much control freak as the left.

  29. Barbara says:

    I have not heard or read his beliefs on the federal drug laws. It’s very possible he believes it should be up to the states and is not a federal issue. This is not even in the same league as cradle to grave control demanded by the left., And “joking” about an old unproven KKK allegation is disingenuous. As you know, repeat something often enough and long enough and people will begin to believe it. Sessions has proven his fidelity to the rule of law as a US Attorney, an AG of Alabama, and as a US Senator. I doubt you will find any candidate that you agree with 100 percent of the time on every single issue.

  30. deleted says:

    Please cite examples of “the left” “demanding” “cradle to grave” “control” over people.

    Of course, as we know, repeating something often enough may lead some people to believe it. No matter how wrong and ridiculous it is.

  31. Steve says:

    Your own words, Patrick.

    “Doesn’t change that stories that are pure falsehoods, posing as news, will inevitably lead to calls for restricting freedom of the press, and people who will be forced to agree.

    It’s why self regulation, and the ideal that people will act reasonably in the absence of regulation just never works.”

  32. Steve says:

    Barbara, simple searches using any of your preferred internet tools will result in a plethora of links describing Jeff Sessions position on federal drug law and policy in enforcement of said law.

    Just as control freak as the left requiring all citizens to purchase a product from private industry or face a fine.

  33. deleted says:

    And Barbara you clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word heresay.

    When the US Attorney testified what Sessions said, he was not asserting that the statement itself was “true” merely that Sessions had said it.

    “Not all out-of-court statements or assertions are impermissible hearsay. If an attorney wishes the judge or jury to consider the fact that a certain statement was made, but not the truthfulness of that statement, the statement is not hearsay and may be admitted as evidence.”

  34. Rincon says:

    “Just as control freak as the left requiring all citizens to purchase a product from private industry or face a fine.” Would you not agree that requiring hospitals to treat people who are unable to pay is also “control freak”? At least in the former case, the person required to pay is the one who gets the benefit. Your words are rational though, as long as we are prepared to allow hospitals to euthanize those who are suffering greatly and cannot pay for treatment.

  35. Steve says:

    Hospitals live under the “Hippocratic Oath” do they not?

  36. Rincon says:

    Treating patients for free is not included in the Hippocratic Oath. Besides, doctors take the oath. Hospitals are a cartel and take no oath.

  37. Steve says:

    Ahh, that explains the lack of services in rural locations required under ACA to pay for insurance!

  38. A tidbit on recreational pot and prohibition. Though it will be legal on January 1, 2017 to have up to 1 oz. of recreational cannabis in ones possession. There won’t be any recreational dispensaries for 15 – 18 months. So the black market providers can expect a windfall in sales over the next year. (one of the initial reasons for legalization – to do away with the black market profiteers…tee hee). So the state and local government are trying to figure out how to legally allow the medicinal outlets to provide recreational pot…thus the 15 month estimate. The silver lining? Since there won’t be any recreational dispensaries within five miles of my house I should be able to grow five plants for my personal consumption! (looking for an exotic seed book on Amazon!)

  39. […] while we are not speculating about the impact such votes might’ve had on the 2016 election, we will note that Hillary Clinton lost in every county in Nevada except Clark and Washoe, while newly elected […]

  40. […] we forget, Kihuen won the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part […]

  41. […] we forget, Kihuen won the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part […]

  42. 4TH ST8 says:

    […] The website also said she has the backing of the Culinary union, which has a strong voter turnout organization. In the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump by 2 points, largely due to the unions getting members to the polls. […]

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