Nevada’s Clark County held a special Republican caucus today at 7 pm tonight to accommodate a substantial observant Jewish population.
It’s dubbed the Adelson caucus because it is being held at a local Jewish school, the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus. The actual Adelsons have disclaimed any association with the caucus.
What’s interesting, watching it unfold on CNN, is how few of the caucus-goers appear to be observant Jews.
Could this be explained as a Nevada version of a problem I’ve heard for years about the Iowa caucuses? In that state, the weeknight, hours-long meetings tend to exclude folks who can’t dedicate that time — shift workers, young parents, etc.
(In primary states, polls tend to open before and close after office hours, and usually cost just a few minutes voting time.)
Las Vegas is the Clark County seat.
And in Las Vegas, a 24/7 town, you’ve got to figure there are plenty of shift workers in the entertainment industry who would not have been able to make Saturday morning caucuses. One fellow, touting Ron Paul’s proposal not to tax tips (who knew?) seemed to be a casino worker.
The caucus that appears along with three stars in the sky may be a blessing to more than Orthodox Jews.
UPDATE: I wuz wrong — well kind of. In a way, I was right too.
The New York Times reports that caucus goers "had to sign a legal declaration under penalty of perjury that they could not attend their daytime caucus because of ‘my religious beliefs.’" (Seventh Day Adventists also were expected to attend.)
This was evidently, in part, to keep Ron Paul devotees from upending a caucus that was likely to attract very pro-Israel Jews.
So much for that: Paul won the caucus with 183 votes, far outdistancing Mitt Romney, who got 61.
There were, according to the Times, a couple of tussles over whether anyone, constitutionally, should be required to sign such a declaration.
Only three people were turned away for not signing, the local GOP says (Paul’s folks say it was dozens), but it’s not clear if the organizers simply gave up and stopped requiring the signature, or if some caucus-goers signed the document in bad faith.
In any case, Paul officials said their folks should have been let in — if only because they were not able to attend earlier, in some cases, for work reasons.
Which brings me back to my point about opening up the process to folks who just can’t make the designated time.