Why doesn't Donald Trump run in the Nevada primary and do so at a caucus

Why doesn't Donald Trump run in the Nevada primary and do so at a caucus

BarcelonaNevada holds its primary election on Tuesday and Donald Trump's name will not appear on the ballot. In fact, the former president's supporters were asked not to go to vote, and if they did, to mark the “None of the Candidates” option. Anyone who wants to vote for Trump must wait for the Republican Party caucuses, which will be held on Thursday. Who will appear in the Republican primary elections this Tuesday is his opponent, Nikki Haley. For their part, the Democrats will hold the primaries on Tuesday without any complications and with Joe Biden expected to win, just as he won in South Carolina.

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Holding primaries and caucuses (which are two different types of voting) in the same state is an unusual event that has created confusion among Republican voters. But despite expectations, there will be no surprises. Even if Haley wins tonight (which is very likely), it is Trump who will win Nevada's 26 Republican delegates, as those delegates will be distributed at the caucus on Thursday. Some of the caucuses the former UN ambassador is not participating in because she already appeared in Tuesday's primaries. For this reason, Haley accused Trump on several occasions of “rigging” the process to her advantage. Although it may not seem like it, the reality is that what will happen in the coming days is completely legal.

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The origins of this mess go back to 2021, when Nevada, then Democratic, passed a law changing the caucuses to a primary process with the goal of boosting turnout. When the change was made, Republicans appealed to the courts. The judge's answer was that he could not stop the law, but he acknowledged that the distribution of Republican delegates should not be tied to the primary process either. In this way, Republicans decided to keep the caucuses a vote, where they would distribute delegates, while also holding primaries, which are not binding in any way.

However, when setting the requirements candidates must meet in order to appear in the caucuses, they set criteria that are very favorable to Trump, such as having to pay $55,000 to register and not filing in the primaries. The requirements were set by the Nevada Republican Party, whose leadership is filled with Trump-friendly politicians, some of whom have been accused of trying to overturn the results of Jan. 6, 2020. Another important detail of the process is that those who vote and the primary will not be able to participate in Thursday's caucuses. Therefore, anyone registered with the party this Tuesday will be able to vote until 7pm (local time), when polling stations will be closed. Instead, only Republicans who have already registered 30 days ahead of time will be able to participate in the caucus. As with any party rally, it is necessary to go in person to the place where the meetings are being held and proof of identification must be provided.

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Nevada's small margin means Haley has not spent a second of her time campaigning there. However, today's results could have symbolic weight to them. If he wins, he will be able to exploit this victory in the race against Trump, but if turnout is low or the ballot boxes are filled with “none of the candidates” votes, it will be a severe blow. After defeating Iowa and New Hampshire, the Republican candidate is exerting all her efforts in the primary elections scheduled to be held in South Carolina on February 24. Haley served as governor of this state from 2011 to 2017, and she is pinning all her hopes on making a big splash.

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