‘NevAHda’ a hurdle for GOP top three contenders and for party

Next up on the GOP primary/caucus calendar is the state of Nevada where voters will gather on Tuesday to declare their presidential preferences. Nevada, like Iowa, is a caucus, not a primary. In some ways that may present a hurdle for the top three contenders in the Republican field and for the party as well. 

Lake Mead Nevada

Lake Mead in Nevada. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith Collection; US Library of Congress)

All eyes are on a state whose name pundits routinely mispronounce.

At present polls on Nevada indicate Donald Trump is ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) by double digits.

Trump has won the first two state primaries, so he is also ahead in delegates, with 67 to Cruz’s 11 and Rubio’s 10.

Top brand pundits in the GOP camp are feverishly crunching numbers in hopes of derailing Trump, a candidate no one took seriously at first. How much damage the negativity will do to the eventual nominee is anyone’s guess, but there’s no love lost between the Cruz and Rubio camps either.

What Republicans are experiencing is a true primary competition. Obviously, people at the grass roots level are making their voices heard, and GOP registrations have been up so far in the early states.

Democrats, in contrast, are largely running a process of optics. It would take a miracle for Sen. Bernie Sanders to usurp the nomination Mrs. Hillary Clinton considered her right from the moment she declared. At present, the nation’s leading wire service lists 502 delegates for Clinton and 70 for Sanders.

Can we trust the polls on Trump’s lead? Normally because Nevada holds a caucus—“First in the West!rather than a primary, I’d look at those polls with skepticism.

In this case, however, I think the polls may be pretty accurate. Why?

Ahead of the Democrats’ caucus, Mrs. Clinton polled at 53 percent while Sanders polled at 47 percent. The final numbers? Basically, same as the poll, according to the Associated Press.

The polls Real Clear Politics listed included GOP caucus-goers.

Thus far, Trump has defied the status quo in every election in my lifetime. Candidates have hit him; he hit back harder. The pope made inflammatory comments about Trump’s faith, and the faith of anyone who believes a wall on the US southern border should be built, and Trump handled his response expertly. Pundits on Fox News spend most of their time deriding him, discounting him, and assailing him for policy although he has never cast a single legislative vote and what happens? He continues to win.

Meanwhile, hardcore conservatives declare they won’t vote for Trump if he is the nominee. Reminds me of a bunch of kids playing marbles and the kid who’s losing grabs his marbles and skedaddles.

Am I endorsing Trump? No. When the season started, he wasn’t even on my short list of preferred candidates. But here’s the way I see it.

I have one choice. Either help elect a Republican or face the consequences of Mrs. Clinton in the White House. I lived through her husband’s terms. I am eminently familiar with how these two conduct self-serving business and with the dearth of loyalty each has to our country.

If Trump should become the nominee and win the White House, he will be held accountable by both media and voters. A Democrat president will not be—as exhibit A, I give you eight years of the Obama presidency that’s been de facto proxy rule by Clinton insiders.

Furthermore, I chose to register as a Republican and I vote in the Primaries. If I don’t want to support the party nominee, I should change my registration to independent.

The Republican Party is doing something Democrats aren’t. The GOP is enabling—willingly or not—a real primary process. New voters are coming into the fold. Any of the top three candidates can run this country better than it has been run in quite some time and far better than either Democrat contender.

I’m not the loser kid packing my marbles up. You shouldn’t be either if you vote in a GOP Primary.

By the way, I aim that statement at supporters of the top three candidates who have a viable shot at the nomination.

Those who are involved in campaigns should promote their own candidate and avoid dirty politics because you may damage the eventual nominee regardless of who it is. Democrats are proceeding with caution. Republicans should as well.

A final thought. Over the weekend I heard pundits deride Americans for pronouncing Nevada as NevAHda. The pundits said it with a short a. The pundits are, not for the first time, dead wrong.

Nevada is a word of Spanish origin, and as those of us who can speak a little Spanish know, the word is correctly pronounced NevAHda. The would be softer as well. Doesn’t matter to me how residents say it or how pundits say it. But it’s a loan word, not a derivative.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 22, 2016)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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