The changing political demographics across America are increasingly showing the problems the Democratic Party is having with Hispanic and working-class white voters, with Nevada as the flagship state for a Democratic crisis.
The majority of Nevada voters are now members of ethnic minorities and the state has been reliably Democratic in the last four presidential elections. The state has a Democrat governor and both of its U.S. senators are Democrats.
Even though the state’s population has grown rapidly and steadily become more diverse, the margins for Democratic politicians have been narrowing. Obama carried the state by 12.5 percentage points in 2008, but by 2016 Hillary Clinton only won by 2.4 points. Even though Democrats gained ground nationwide in winning the 2020 election, the margin in Nevada remained unchanged at 2.4 points.
Despite the increasingly diverse population, Nevada became 2 percentage points more Republican than the rest of the nation in 2020.
Hispanics now make up 16 of registered Nevada voters. The share of Hispanics voting Democratic fell steeply between 2016 and 2020 by 8 points. Democrats lost most heavily among working-class Hispanics, who make up 81 percent of the state’s Hispanic voters.
Liberal political scientist Ruy Teixeria wrote that his analysis shows that the Hispanic contribution to the margin enjoyed by Democrats in Nevada fell by 2 full points in 2020.
As a result, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) is facing a serious challenge in her reelection campaign. National Democratic strategists have become very concerned about the safety of her seat in this year’s midterm election. If the Democratic Party has any realistic hope of retaining control of the Senate after the midterms, they simply cannot afford a Masto loss.
Republicans in Nevada have also gotten a boost from the takeover of the state’s Democratic leadership by the Democratic Socialist Party. The New York Times has reported that many Nevadan Democrats are very uncomfortable with the party’s open approach to radical socialism. Border security is also an area where many Democrats in the state are aligned with President Donald Trump.
Hispanics in Nevada especially approve of Trump’s position on reopening the American economy and “living without fear of COVID.”
A Blueprint Polling survey taken last month showed likely Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt holding a 47 percent to 40 percent lead over Masto among all likely voters.