In rural Nevada, Mitt Romney will win big. He’ll win the Reno metro area, too.
But in Las Vegas, Romney will get his butt kicked. And that, in my opinion, makes absolutely no sense.
Las Vegas has been devastated economically by the economy. Homeowners have been brought to their knees with the collapse of the housing market. The once-mighty private construction industry in Las Vegas has all but disappeared. Full-time union jobs and full-time non-union jobs alike have become endangered by a casino industry not only on the brink, but also in love with spending money in China.
If you drive down the once-thriving Sahara Avenue between the Beltway and the Strip, you see strip mall after strip mall struggling. Empty car lots, closed restaurants. Some parts of the thoroughfare look like one of those fake towns at the Nevada Test Site erected to show the effect of above-ground nuclear testing.
Yet, President Obama will win the Las Vegas metro area by a fair margin. Go figure.
The political watchers in Nevada try to explain this. Hispanics, they say. Unions, they suggest. Some think it is imported voters, but I’m not going there. Fact is no one’s been able to convincingly put their finger, exactly, on why Las Vegas voters wouldn’t hold Obama more accountable. He promised he’d fix the economy. He didn’t. In some ways he made it worse. Yet, he doesn’t seem to be paying the price.
Romney should be showing more strength, it seems to me, given the economic devastation in the breadbasket of the state. But he’s not.
Maybe it is coming. But I have not seen it yet. Team Romney better put the full court press on out here. Or he’s going to lose a swing state that he, by all rights, should win.