The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Next Up: Nevada

Rich Galen

Monday February 17, 2020

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  • Two down, two to go. We've suffered through the disaster which was the Iowa caucuses and through the strait up-or-down primary in New Hampshire.

  • Given the distance between them in both, it is fair to say that Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are sitting in a tie.

  • There is something to be said for having run for President before. You know what you're in for. Your staff understands how to deal with the ups and downs of daily press coverage. Your volunteers know where the Xerox machine is and are willing to step in and cover for paid staff when necessary.

  • These are no small things and it may be that Buttigieg's operation will prove - or at least test - this theory.

  • Nevada is next on the calendar this coming Saturday February 22. It, like Iowa, is a caucus state. Unlike Iowa they are not planning to use a smartphone app to report results. Also unlike Iowa, Nevada has an early caucusing system in which people who are unlikely to be able to make it to their precinct on Saturday (because of work or whatever) can proclaim their preference all week.

  • One of the larget voting blocs in Nevada are the culinary workers. Those all-you-can eat buffets at the casino-hotels along The Strip didn't magically appear like the opening banquet at Hogwarts.

  • According to Wikipedia, there are about 60,000 culinary workers and " the Culinary Workers Union represents more members than any other union in Nevada."

  • It is the Culinary Workers Union that demanded the extended caucus system. And the state Democratic Party saw the wisdom in acceding to that demand.

  • Also, according to the Nevada


    "Nevada" is pronounced "Nev-AD-a" not "Nev-AH-da." I gave a speech to the state party once and prounced it incorrectly. They literally booed me, and several threw dinner rolls at me.

    It was like I was a batter on the Houston Astros facing Dodger pitching.


  • to the Nev-AD-a Secretary of State there are 603,000 registered Democrats - or at least there were at the end of 2019. Assuming the vast majority of Culinary Union members are Democrats, they represent about 10 percent of the Ds in the state.

  • To fill out your Voter Turnout Bingo Card, there are also about 524,000 registered Republicans and another 349,000 voters who are officially independents.

  • There is a dearth of polling in the runup to Saturday's caucuses. The most recent poll, taken by the Los Vegas Review-Journal, has Bernie Sanders in the lead by seven points over Joe Biden, 25-18.

  • That poll was in the field last week beginning on primary day in New Hampshire and finishing two days later so the effects of Biden's collapse there are likely factored in.

  • Elizabeth Warren was in third with 14, Tom Steyer next with 11 and Buttigieg tied with Amy Klobuchar with 10 percent each.

  • Apparently, the biggest benefit the Culinary Union provides its members is "Culinary Healthcare." Kitchen workers, wait and cleaning staff; and associated jobs are not known, around the nation, for the job benefits they receive.

  • The Union distributed fliers last week claiming that Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" program would end the union's health insurance.

  • This is no small thing. The Culinary Union's health trust fund provides coverage for about 130,000 members and their families. According to the Nevada Independent,
    "Health insurance provided by the Culinary Health Fund is considered to be some of the best in the state, and the union even opened a 60,000-square-foot state-of-the-art health clinic a couple of years ago for its members."

  • A union that can do all that can certainly arrange work schedules, transportation, and other incentives for its members to get to a caucus site and support whomever the union suggests.

  • Buttigieg, and Klobuchar are on an early roll. They have each gone from single digits to first, second, and/or third place finishes in the early going. They LIVED in Iowa for months. About 130 percent of the voting population of New Hampshire is within an hour's drive so a candidate can appear to be everywhere with limited gasoline consumption.

  • Nevada is three time zones away. It is sandwiched between New Hampshire and South Caroline (because the inside-the-beltway crowd though it was cool to be able to say the first four contests included a midwestern state, an eastern state, a western state and a southern state).

  • All that means the candidates have not spent the time in Nevada that they did in Iowa and NH, nor that they will have spent in South Carolina by the time that election is held.

  • Buggigieg and Sanders, it seems to me, can survive a disappointment in Nevada.

  • Biden, it seems to me, cannot. If he limps home again, his campaign might not still be upright by the time South Carolina rolls around.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Nevada Secretary of State's voter registration page and to the Nevada Independent piece on the Culinary Union's flier.

    The Mullfoto is of a big, deep hole being dug in Alexandria Virginia

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