Tags: west | urban | cities | GOP

The Hill: Wild West Becoming Urban West Problem for GOP

Image: The Hill: Wild West Becoming Urban West Problem for GOP
Las Vegas Boulevard (AP Photo/Matt York)

Monday, 17 Jul 2017 08:34 PM

A decades-old construction boom in Las Vegas brought tens of thousands of new residents — including illegal immigrants — that have turned the "Wild West" into an urban West, and a looming nightmare for the GOP, The Hill reported.

"My story's a very common story," Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen – the first formerly illegal immigrant to claim a seat in Nevada's state legislature – told The Hill.

The Hill reported the political power shift in Las Vegas illustrates the possible "nightmare scenario" for the GOP: a large metropolitan area so decidedly Democratic it swamps the Republican advantage in rural areas.

"The Wild West is slowly becoming an Urbanized West," Mike Slanker, a Republican strategist in Las Vegas, told The Hill.

The Hill reported the trend could also spread to states with metropolitan areas experiencing significant Hispanic population growth such as Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Republicans still control most offices in Mountain West states, The Hill noted: In the eight states within the region, the GOP owns 10 of 16 Senate seats, 19 of 31 House seats, and six of eight governorships.

And many of those seats are at stake in the 2018 midterm elections, with GOP governors of Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and New Mexico facing term limits, as does the Democratic governor of Colorado.

"Arizona, by the time you get to [2020], Democrats will take it seriously," David Damore, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told The Hill.

Damore, who has conducted research into Hispanic voters for the Democratic firm Latino Decisions, said the changing political nature of the Mountain West is being driven not only by new immigrants, but also by Kihuen and other children of those immigrants.

"In a [Republican] primary, you've almost got to be Trump-like, and then the general comes around, and you realize you can't win that way," Peter Guzman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada, told The Hill, pointing to a second set of immigrants influencing Nevada's changing political behavior: blue-collar, working Californians.

"In the last 15 to 20 years, most of the people who came here came from California," Guzman told The Hill. "Now they're voting like they did in California."

But it is getting the new "immigrants" to the polls that poses a challenge, The Hill reported.

Nationally, almost 65 percent of non-Hispanic white voters turned out to vote in 2016, according to political scientist Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. Nearly 60 percent of non-Hispanic black voters turned out, but only 45 percent of Hispanic registered voters showed up at the polls.

"We're still a relatively low-turnout state, so there's a huge untapped resource for Democrats," Damore told The Hill.

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A decades-old construction boom in Las Vegas brought tens of thousands of new residents – including illegal immigrants – that have turned the "Wild West" into an urban West, and a looming nightmare for the GOP, The Hill reported.
west, urban, cities, GOP
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2017-34-17
Monday, 17 Jul 2017 08:34 PM
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