NAfter former President Donald Trump's convincing victories in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, the Republican caravan has arrived in Nevada. The state has long held the “First in the West” primary. This year, however, there is a special feature in that there is not just one Republican primary, but two. This is not because they like to vote so much, but rather because of a dispute between the party and the state.
In 2021, the state parliament decided that there should no longer be a caucus in the future, but rather a primary, i.e. a normal election instead of a kind of neighborhood meeting. This was a response to major problems that had occurred in the Democratic Iowa caucus the year before. However, the Republican Party did not agree with the decision of the Democratic-controlled legislature and decided not to join the state-organized primary, but to hold its own caucus.
So it happens that there is a primary this Tuesday and the caucus on Thursday. The party has also stipulated that candidates must choose: primary or caucus. Anyone who places themselves on the first-choice ballot cannot participate in the caucus. In order to make the party's wishes clear to the candidates, it has also stipulated that only the result of the caucus is decisive for the distribution of the 26 delegate votes, so the primary is purely a show event.
The winner of the Republican primary in Nevada is now clear: Donald Trump. He has decided to run in the caucus, while his only remaining notable competitor, Nikki Haley, will run in the primary. So while Trump has no serious competition on Thursday, Haley has to face another opponent: the “none of the candidates” option. Voters can mark these on their ballot papers if they do not want to support any of the named candidates. So it's entirely possible that Haley gets fewer votes than “none of the candidates.” The pressure on the former American ambassador to the United Nations to end her candidacy would then be even greater.
But even if the final two Republican candidates met head-to-head, Trump would most likely win big. According to polls in Nevada, he leads the field of candidates by almost 60 percentage points. While that was before some of his competitors dropped out of the race, their supporters will not have rallied behind Haley.
The Democrats are also holding their primary in Nevada on Tuesday. There are 36 delegate votes up for grabs. However, only candidates who win more than 15 percent of the vote will be considered for the awarding of delegates. This will probably be difficult for Joe Biden's competitors – the most well-known is the author Marianne Williamson, who only achieved 2.1 percent in South Carolina on Saturday.