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The Jewish Guide to the Nevada Caucuses

What happens in Vegas before sundown stays in Vegas

Marc Tracy
February 03, 2012
The Donald.(Margarita Korol)
The Donald.(Margarita Korol)

What? Caucuses aren’t just for crazy Iowans? A shocking 13 states (to say nothing of territories like Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands), including Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota, use this insanely weird, arbitrary, undemocratic method of selecting delegates to the party conventions. And so does Nevada.

When? Tomorrow.

Who dropped out? Since Florida, nobody, although you could argue that a part of Mitt Romney dropped out by dying inside when Donald Trump endorsed him yesterday at—you knew this was coming—Trump Las Vegas Hotel on the Strip.

The remaining candidates: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.

Our sentimental favorite: Fred Karger. Also, Red 19.

Percentage of state population that is Jewish: 2.8.

Where that ranks: Ninth out of 50.

Jewish issues? Not really, except that this is Gingrich backer Sheldon Adelson’s home state, and there has been much talk that a phone call he placed was responsible for the holding of a special caucus, which theoretically could be gamed, after sundown for observant Jews. He denies it; the special caucus is being held at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus, but they’re this close to naming the town after him anyway.

Is this a further sign of the bad influence of money in politics, like his Super PAC donations? Sort of. Many have judged the special caucus a malign thing, as though religiously observant Jews should be declared ineligible, making the caucuses even more farcical than normal. That’s absurd; the special caucus is a good thing. But Adelson’s being able to engineer it himself (if he did) is bad. As the poet said: no one man should have all that power.

Percentage of state population that is Mormon: 6.47.

Where that ranks: Fourth (admit it, you thought it’d be second).

You see where I’m going with this? Yes, Romney’s going to win.

By how much? Probably 20 points at least. But since it’s caucuses, other contestants could pick up delegates by winning an individual caucus, which is why Rep. Ron Paul did not largely ignore Nevada: his goal is to accumulate as many delegates as possible heading into the Republican National Convention.

Number of delegates to the Republican National Convention: 28.

Which casinos are you going to hit? The Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand.

These are Terry Benedict’s places! Yes they are.

Think he’ll mind? More than somewhat.

What’s next? Maine’s caucuses will be held from tomorrow through a whole week. Caucuses!

Didn’t Perot do well in Maine? I bet Paul’s expected to do pretty well there. Yes and yes.

Closing thought:

There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first work together, worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition, we ran molasses into Canada, made a fortune, your father too. As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GIs on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself: this is the business we’ve chosen! I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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