The hidden way Trump can still beat Haley in the Nevada primary

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As if election season wasn’t already complicated enough, Nevada Republicans are holding both a primary and a caucus this year — effectively a gathering of registered conservative voters to declare their preferred candidate for the party’s presidential nomination. Giving two chances.

This situation is the result of a dispute between the state and the local branch of the Republican Party over a bipartisan bill passed by Nevada’s state legislature in 2021.

The bill would require the Silver State to hold political primaries if there is more than one candidate vying for a race, eliminating the old party-run caucus system traditionally employed.

As a result, a mandatory state-run Republican primary will be held on Tuesday, February 6.

However, the state Republican Party pushed back this plan and arranged that the caucuses would still take place on Thursday, February 8.

Under Nevada Republican Party rules, candidates are barred from running in both the primary and caucus.

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This strange state of play has divided the contenders into two camps and means that Nikki Haley and Donald Trump will not face each other this time, as they did in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Ms. Haley will face three lesser-known candidates in Tuesday’s primary election – John Anthony Castro, Heath V. Fulkerson and Donald Kjorns, while Mr. Trump is up against only Texas pastor Ryan Binky in the caucuses on Thursday, with all others facing challengers. Those who have been out for a long time.

As a result, both Ms Haley and Mr Trump are naturally expected to win their parallel contests.

But the state’s 26 delegates will be appointed solely from the caucus, making any victory for the former UN ambassador at the primary level almost entirely symbolic.

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A big showing that signals conservative support for her could give Ms. Haley’s campaign some much-needed momentum ahead of the next, much more important primary event in her native South Carolina later this month, which could determine the future. Threatens to decide. of his campaign even before it reached Super Tuesday on March 5.

But, despite not competing in the primary, Mr. Trump and his MAGA supporters could derail Ms. Haley’s primary victory in another way.

After all, there is a way a former president’s base can defeat his opponent without even getting his name on the primary ballot.

On the primary ballot, voters will have another option to cast their vote.

Instead of choosing one of the candidates who appear on the primary ballot, Mr. Trump supporters can mark their ballot: “None of these candidates.”

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It is a move that would indirectly cast protest votes on Mr Trump’s behalf, as the only serious contender in the race other than Ms Haley.

Such a cowardly move would actually have some similarity to the massive write-in campaign that unofficially propelled President Joe Biden to victory in the Democratic Party’s New Hampshire primary — where his name also cropped up over another local-level controversy that fall. Did not appear on the ballot.

A grassroots campaign effort urged Democratic voters to manually add her name to ballots so that her rivals Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson could not win a shock victory by default.

So now, while the Nevada Republican primaries and caucuses are unlikely to yield any surprises this week, it is possible that Mr. Trump’s camp could make another move to derail Ms. Haley’s campaign.

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