I have written about primaries, and I have written about caucuses. The title of this node comes from the fact that here, I have to write about both, because Nevada had a primary and a caucus in the same week. Confused? Most of us are.

Before this cycle, Nevada had a caucus, where groups of voters would come together to discuss and decide on candidates. Because caucuses take time, they usually exclude voters with other responsibilities. For this reason, among probably many others, Nevada voted for a primary, a simpler voting procedure. The national Republican party declared that they didn't care and were only going to use the caucuses to grant delegates. So on Tuesday, February 6th, Nevada had a Republican primary where none of the voted counted, and on Thursday, February 8th they had a caucus that did.

To be honest, I am not clear on the legal implications of all of this. Parties are theoretically private organizations, but due to the idea of "compelling interest", state governments can regulate their nominating procedures. Except when they can't. But for now, the primary doesn't count and the caucus does.

As an added twist, candidates who participated in one could not participate in others. There was different names on the ballots. Nikki Haley was the only active candidate campaigning in the primary, while Donald Trump was the only active candidate competing in the caucus.

Are you ready for a third twist? Nevada allows "None of the Above" as an option. So in the primaries, despite Nikki Haley being the only candidate who could win (no delegates), she had the possibility of losing...which, indeed, she did. This is somewhat parallel to Joe Biden winning the write-in campaign in New Hampshire. "None of the Above", representing (presumably) protest votes for Donald Trump, won about 63% of the votes, as opposed to 30% for Haley.

Two days later, Trump won 99% of the vote in the caucuses, with only one other candidate, pastor Ryan Binkley, contesting him, and receiving less than 1% of the vote.

To make an obvious point, this isn't good for Haley. The vein of "moderate Republicans" or even "sane Republicans" she was hoping to tap are just obviously not out there, in any form where she can realistically win the. Even in a state with somewhat favorable demographics, when she was the only name on the ballot, she got beat 2-to-1. It seems unlikely that she can either win, or even place competitively, in any of the remaining states. Realistically, her hopes of victory seem to be about getting enough delegates that if a legal, financial or health crisis finally make Donald Trump untenable, that she will be left in line.

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