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Tim Burke: Democrats are driving the political bus in Nevada

Yesterday was the Fourth of July holiday. Also known as Independence Day, we celebrate what took place July 4, 1776, annually as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

Since 2020 is a presidential election year we might also view this July 4 as the unofficial kickoff to the 2020 elections. Many of the Democratic Party candidates for president started their campaigns last year but officially ramped up their campaigns at the start of this summer.

A staggering number of Democratic party candidates have already participated in debates held on June 26 and 27, hosted by liberal media outlets NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo. The second round of debates of the year will be hosted by CNN in Detroit on July 30 and 31, and the third round of debates will be hosted by ABC News on Sept. 12 and 13. Missing from the debates is the network with the largest viewership, Fox News.

The Democratic National Committee said that it has barred Fox News from hosting or televising a candidate debate for the party’s 2020 primary election. Fox News was 2018’s most-watched cable network in primetime and total day, based on Nielsen numbers. ESPN finished second with 1.9 million viewers, followed MSNBC’s 1.8 million viewers and HGTV’s 1.3 million watchers, according to Nielsen.

While the Democrats sort through who they will nominate for president in 2020, the Republicans will not have nearly as much drama with President Trump declaring that he will run for re-election in 2020. There will be some noise by a few hopefuls, but it is hard to imagine anyone successfully challenging the president for the Republican nomination.

What will the Nevada elections look like in 2020? Nevada elections were dominated by the blue wave that swept through our state in 2018. Fueled by the Democratic Party voters from Clark County, Democrats were voted into most of our national offices and into most of our state and Legislature offices as well.

Last year’s voting results demonstrate the widening split in our state elections between rural and urban counties. While Clark County was solidly Democrat, all other counties in Nevada voted mostly for Republican candidates except for Washoe County, which split its votes between the two political parties. Washoe County has traditionally voted Republican, but Reno has had a large influx of residents from other states and could be viewed as a swing vote in 2020.

Predictably, this year’s Nevada state Legislature passed bills far more to the liberal left than in recent previous sessions. The Legislature’s bill agenda was determined by the Democrats, who controlled both houses of our Legislature in 2019 and have a Democrat as governor.

Bills passed by this Legislature have been viewed by conservatives as anti-business and anti-rural. Businesses stung by the new laws passed this year will be less likely to support candidates in 2020 that are viewed as liberal or anti-business. The rural areas will continue to be solidly Republican. But the numbers are not in favor of Nevada moving back into the red in 2020.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, in December of 2018, Democrats held a 90,000 voter registration advantage over Republican voters statewide. Of the 1,582,355 voters registered in the state, Clark County accounted for 1,109,212 voters. Registrations of voters for Clark County show Democrats holding a 140,000 voter advantage over registered Republican voters.

A conservative candidate could win the rest of the state and still lose the election because of Clark County voters. For a candidate to win a state or national office in 2020, he or she will need to find a way to appeal to those urban voters. As much as the rural counties and maybe even Washoe County would prefer more conservative candidates, Clark County voters are driving the political bus in our state.

Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at timstakenv@gmail.com

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