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Building Pressure on Swing States – Nevada’s Critical Role in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Elections

Jan 09, 2020 08:00PM ● By Rick Jenkins

Nevada may not be the most influential state in national elections, but it certainly plays an important role due to its status as a swing state.

The state will be an early indicator of how well candidates are campaigning because the Nevada Democrat caucuses will be held on February 22, one of the earliest primary elections in the country. Part of what makes this election emblematic for other states is that Nevada has a good blend of urban and rural populations, thus it can predict how well candidates are influencing a wide array of demographics.

This diversely settled population also affects Nevada’s role in the national elections themselves. Urban populations tend to vote more toward Democrats, while rural populations tend to support Republicans. This has led to Nevada shifting support between both sides many times throughout its history, making it a swing state.

Swing states, whether they’re big or small, have always been important in elections. Every single Electoral College vote is important.

However, times are changing. Swing states are going to be even more important than before.

Recent years have seen the rise of the National Popular Vote Bill. Its goal is to have the popular vote decide national elections rather than the Electoral College. It does this by amending each state’s constitution to have them allocate their Electoral College votes to support the candidate who receives the most votes in the nation-wide popular election. This would replace the existing system in which states usually give their votes to whoever wins their state’s specific popular vote.

The nature of this bill requires it to be passed by each state’s legislature, and 16 states have already approved it and made it their law. Most of these states have, traditionally, supported Democrats. This appears to be a reaction to the 2016 election, in which Clinton won the popular vote while Trump won the Electoral College. Democrats do not want to risk this happening again, so they have been supporting this bill in every state.

This might backfire on the Democrats.

It’s not just the little Democrat states that have passed the National Popular Vote Bill. Their most reliable supporters, California and New York, have passed the bill. This means that if a Republican wins the popular vote, all of those Electoral College votes that usually would have gone to the Democrats will go to the Republicans instead.

The National Popular Vote Bill states represent a combined total of 196 Electoral College votes (so far). Most of these are votes that, without the bill, would probably have gone to support the Democrats. Now nobody knows for certain which side will get them. This is almost enough votes to decide the entire election based solely on the outcome of the popular vote. Almost.

This brings us back to the swing states. The Democrats will need to secure as many Electoral College votes as they can in case the popular vote doesn’t go their way. They can’t rely on their old supporting states, so they will need to campaign with as much effort as possible to win the swing states, and the Republicans will need to match those efforts in order to not be left behind. Every single swing state will be a vital political battleground.

Nevada, on its own, is not the most influential state in national elections. However, Nevada is not on its own. It is a part of the whole, as well as somewhat representative of the whole. Both the Democrats and Republicans, with all their global ambitions, will be even more desperate to win this state over than ever before.

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