Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump would need to win big on election day to secure Nevada’s six electoral votes.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring, but his political machine is working overtime to deliver another stinging loss to Silver State Republicans. Analysis of early voting shows that the Reid turnout machine — known for effectively using labor unions to bus people to the polls — has built a significant lead for Democrats including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. For Trump to win, he’d need a big turnout from his supporters on Tuesday and he’d need Clinton to underperform with voting Democrats.
As respected Nevada journalist Jon Ralston explained in Politico, the Reid machine has “brought turnout among Hispanics in the state to record levels,” a good sign for Clinton. Ralston shows how Hispanics have steadily increased their overall percentage of the Nevada vote.
Reid’s ground operation exploited the fear and loathing of Trump to the max, and the early results bear it out: Whereas the Latino vote was 15 percent of the Nevada electorate in 2008 and 18 percent in 2012, data I have seen shows now it is up 30 percent from 2012 in early voting, meaning it could go above 20 percent of all voters by Tuesday evening.
Ralston has earned his moniker as the “Oracle of Nevada” with accurate predictions in previous Nevada elections. In 2010 he picked against the polls and correctly predicted Reid’s victory over Sharron Angle. He accurately predicted Nevada would pick Democrat President Obama in the presidential election but narrowly elect Republican Dean Heller to the Senate in 2012. In 2016, Ralston is confidently predicting a “blue wave” for Democrats in Nevada.
It's that time of year: My predictions for NV on Tuesday. I see a blue wave coming. https://t.co/keG4gDQbBD
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 6, 2016
Early voting numbers released by the Nevada Secretary of State paint a bleak picture for Trump. Democrats have already cast more than 70,000 votes in Clark County where more than two-thirds of Nevada’s population lives. Democrats even have a narrow margin in Nevada’s second largest county, Washoe. The early voting margins between Trump and Hillary mirror the presidential election in 2012 when President Obama beat Mitt Romney by seven points. While the early voting returns paint a bleak picture, several other factors could make the presidential race for Nevada competitive.
Donald Trump has maintained a slight but consistent lead in Nevada polling. The Real Clear Politics average shows Trump with a two-point lead over Clinton. Two recent polls show momentum for Trump expanding his lead to four-points and five-points respectively.
Another factor that could play well for Trump is the bitter divide opened up during the Democrat primary between Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The primary fight culminated at the Democrat State convention where Sanders supporters claim the Democrat establishment colluded to rob Bernie of a win in the caucus by revoking the credentials of Bernie delegates in a shady procedural vote. For Trump to claim Nevada, he needs to outperform Mitt Romney in 2012 with Democrats and Independents and NeverHillary Democrats will not be able to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who does not appear on the Nevada ballot. Even some delegates for Bernie are reportedly voting for Trump.
Former Nevada state convention Sanders delegate @sivadavi8 tells me she voted for Trump, would have voted Stein but she's not on the ballot.
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 5, 2016
I guess defaming people and screwing them over, as was done to the Nevada Sanders delegates, has electoral consequences. Who knew?
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 6, 2016
For Trump to win in Nevada he will not only have to overcome Reid’s political machine, he will have to overcome opposition from the Senate candidate in his own party. Republican Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto are competing for the Senate seat vacated by Reid. Heck is slightly underperforming Trump in the Real Clear Politics average of polls with just a 1.4-point advantage. Heck was booed and jeered after rescinding his endorsement of Trump shortly after the release of the Access Hollywood tape showing Trump making lewd comments more than a decade ago.
The Trump campaign needs every vote in Nevada to deliver six electoral votes that could prove crucial in the race for the White House. If the Trump movement delivers a victory in Nevada, they will have defeated one of the most formidable political machines in American history and the establishment of their own party.