Nevada caucuses draw comment

One of the nation’s most influential political writers, David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register, offered some thoughts on the proposal to make Nevada’s caucuses one of the earliest presidential campaign year events.

“Iowa and New Hampshire should just shut up about this one,” Yepsen wrote. “If … the Democratic National Committee want[s] to turn to the land of gamblers and brothels for an early test of their candidates’ strengths, maybe it’s best to let them go ahead. Few may take it seriously.”

Yepsen argues that Nevada’s public image may undercut its ability to be taken sincerely in national politics. “And where would network anchors do their stand-ups? No glittering streams meandering through the boulders and evergreens of New Hampshire. No bucolic Iowa silos in the backdrop. Instead, it’ll be a casino. Instead of ‘San Francisco Democrats,’ we’ll now have ‘Las Vegas Democrats.’ (So much for Democrats courting ‘values voters.')”

In New Hampshire, the Portsmouth Herald editorialized, “It is true that Nevada is more racially diverse than New Hampshire. … But Nevada’s racial diversity is offset by several factors. That state has fewer high school and college graduates, for example, and those are just the people who are most capable of ferreting out the political reality from the candidate-manufactured myth.

“And then there is the issue of involvement. … In 2000, during one of the most hotly contested presidential races in recent history, only 30 percent of the population voted as compared to 47 percent of New Hampshire’s total population. So, what makes more sense—to have a racially diverse population that is not engaged in the political process or to have a predominantly white population that is politically involved and active?”