So, it looks like a Mormon is going to deny the presidency to Donald Trump after all, but that Mormon isn’t Evan McMullin. It’s retiring Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.
The cadaverous, ghoul-like Reid, last seen in 2012 lying repeatedly from the Senate floor about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, responded to the disastrous 2014 midterms by building a ground operation in Clark County that has brought early voter turnout among Hispanics to record levels this election cycle. If Hillary Clinton wins the Silver State she likely wins the whole enchilada.
The line Friday evening stretched outside Cardenas Market in Las Vegas, teeming with Hispanic voters eager to cast ballots.
Many had to wait for hours on the last day of a fortnight of early voting in Nevada, plied by food and exhortations from activists who didn’t have to do much. Election officials had to keep the polling place open an extra three hours to accommodate the line, which was described thusly on Twitter by Yvanna Cancela, the political director for the majority Hispanic Culinary union:
“Looks like Trump got his wall after all. A wall of beautiful voters.”
By the time Donald Trump’s chief Nevada poll watcher arrived at the supermarket to complain about the late voting, apparently clued in by the massive amount of social media traffic about the historic, organic turnout, it was too late.
Just under 2,000 voters had cast ballots at the market, adding to a record Democratic firewall (73,000 ballot lead in early voting) in the Las Vegas area and putting a fitting final nail in Trump’s Nevada coffin.
The next day, Trump arrived in Reno looking like a dead man walking, railing at the scene in Vegas the night before and blaming “crazy, broken Harry Reid and his corrupt political machine.” Trump’s key ally in Nevada, state Republican Chairman Michael McDonald, preceded Trump on the Reno stage and yelled about allowing “a certain group” to vote until the late hours.
They raged, raged against the dying of their chances. Yet about one thing Trump was right: Harry Reid built this. After two years of boosting voter registration among key Democratic demographics, the retiring Senate minority leader has brought turnout among Hispanics in the state to record levels. In doing so, he’s almost surely delivered the state for Hillary Clinton—and possibly with it the presidential race (Trump has only the narrowest path to 270 electoral votes without Nevada). The reality of this election is that if Clinton wins, especially if she ends up needing Nevada, it’s not a stretch to declare that Reid was the single most important person in her victory.