Right Now, Politics Means Nevada


(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., basks in the cheers of his supporters as he declares victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night in Manchester, N.H.

In Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders won, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg placed a close second, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar surged into third.

Now the attention of the political world turns to Nevada, where early voting in the state’s Democratic presidential caucuses begins Saturday.

Former State Senator Patricia Farley told KNPR's State of Nevada that to her the most surprising thing about the New Hampshire primary was how late people were deciding on who they were going to vote for.

"A lot of people were walking seemed like they were deciding right then and there who their candidate was," she said.

She said the problem was a lack of messaging from the candidates.

Hugh Jackson the editor of the Nevada Current doesn't think it is a matter of messaging but more of a concern about who can beat President Donald Trump in November.

"There is such a high premium on finding the candidate who can beat Trump and I think people are not sure who that candidate is," he said, "Polling shows it could be any one of a half dozen Democrats."

Jackson believes that if people are not sure which candidate can beat President Trump in November they should vote for the candidate they agree with most.

Warren Hardy is a Republican and a former state senator. He says the big takeaway from New Hampshire is that moderate Democrats need to coalesce behind one candidate or Bernie Sanders will win the nomination.

Support comes from

While Sanders supporters see that has a good thing, Hardy doesn't believe Sanders will beat Trump in a general election.

"I don't believe the country is ready for socialism as a political agenda," Hardy said, "I think he will have a very, very difficult time connecting with the center."

Farley, who was a registered Republican but left to become an independent during her time at the State Legislature, agrees with Hardy that Sanders is too extreme for a majority of the country to get behind.

"I think even the middle is tired of extremes," she said, "I think that is what we are concerned about. What concerns me watching the caucuses and all the voting is you see most of the votes are in the middle. They are candidates like Klobuchar, Buttigieg."

Farley has supported Pete Buttigieg from the beginning. She believes his moderate message can capture the center-left and center-right.

Jackson disagrees. He believes Sanders can get the votes needed to beat President Trump in the general election.

"You could argue of everybody who is running on the Democratic side he is the most difficult to knock off his message. The most difficult to knock off his game," he said, "He's been doing it for four years. He's consistent. He has a solid message and clearly it resonants with a lot of people." 

Jackson also believes that Sanders' message goes beyond the "progressive-wing" of the Democratic party. He described it as having a populist element that appeals to people who feel like the system has failed them.

Hardy believes many of those people are also part of President Trump's non-traditional base and they're going to be looking at the economy when deciding who to vote for in November.

"And at the end of the day, there is a lot of noise and chatter going on but people are going to vote with their wallets," he said, "That base that Hugh is talking about is better off then they were four years ago."

While Jackson agreed that people vote with their wallets, he doesn't think the economic numbers touted by the Trump administration tell the whole story.

"When you look at these numbers and they look all rosy and such, does that translate into your household situation and your bills and your experience with health care companies, with the financial service industry, with landlords and housing."

He said for a lot of people it is not translating into a way that is working for them.

Farley said while economically things are better for some people there is a large chunk of the population who are working but aren't making enough to make ends meet.

She wants the candidates to address that.

"You can't just have the some of us who are doing better and leaving a good chunk of our community behind," she said, "It doesn't work. It never nets out as a positive and so that is why I think we need somebody who can talk to that. Somebody who can represent everybody not just the business people or the wealthy."



Patricia Farley, community activist, political independent; Warren Hardy, lobbyist, Republican; Hugh Jackson, editor, Nevada Current


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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada