Welcome to the state of Clark.
The land mass that is Clark County was added to Nevada three years after statehood, carved from a corner of Arizona. It was a part of Lincoln County until 1909, when the Legislature split off Clark County.
Clark dangles on the map like a vestigial tail on the nether region of Nevada.
On Election Day 2016, the tail wagged the dog.
This past week 1.1 million Nevadans cast presidential ballots, fully 68 percent of those were cast in Clark County — and there was a stark difference in how Clark voted compared to the rest of the state.
In the presidential contest alone the difference was a spectrum shift from bright Democratic blue in Clark to crimson Republican red just about everywhere else in the state.
While Democrat Hillary Clinton beat out Republican nominee Donald Trump statewide by about 36,000 votes, she bested him in Clark by more than 80,000 ballots, while he out polled her in the rest of the state by 55,000 votes, according to Secretary of State tabulations.
The only other Nevada county Clinton won was urban Washoe and that by only 2,500 votes out of more than 190,000 cast there. In other counties Trump won largely by margins exceeding 2-to-1 and in Lincoln County by 6-to-1.
Meanwhile, in the senatorial race to fill the vacancy being left by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s retirement, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto won statewide, but the only county she won was Clark. She won statewide by about 2 percentage points or 26,000 votes, but won by 80,000 votes in Clark. Republican Joe Heck, who gave up his Congressional District 3 seat to run for the Senate, won every other county, some by more than 4-to-1. Excluding Clark, Heck won the remainder of Nevada by more than 55,000 votes.
Nearly 4 percent of Nevadans chose “none of these candidates” in the Senate race.
In the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part of Lyon County and all of White Pine, Nye, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Lincoln counties — Democrat Ruben Kihuen won districtwide by nearly 10,000 votes but won in Clark by about 24,000. Incumbent Republican Cresent Hardy won every other county, all by about 2-to-1 or more.
After the dust settles, Nevada switches from having four out of its six Washington delegates being Republicans to four being Democrats.
Democrats won all save one of the Clark County state Senate seats up for grabs, giving the Democrats an 11-10 majority in Carson City, instead of the previous 11-10 GOP edge.
Republicans won every rural Assembly seat, while Democrats carried most races in Clark and Washoe, giving Democrats a 27-15 majority, instead of the previous Republican majority
.The gun grabbing Question 1 ballot initiative requiring background checks for almost every gun purchase or gift passed by 100,000 votes in Clark, but failed in every other county, often with 80 to 90 percent voting no.
Question 2, legalization of pot, passed only in Clark, Washoe, Nye and Story, but narrowly won statewide due to Clark’s numbers.
In 2014 Nevada experienced a red shift, when Republicans won all six statewide elective offices — governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, attorney general — as well as majorities in both houses of the Legislature.
The 2016 reversal of fortune was probably best explained by a little-circulated Associated Press story that appeared about a week before the election. It described how the Las Vegas Culinary union was busing thousands of casino housekeepers and staffers to early voting sites just off the Las Vegas Strip, “speaking in Spanish as they clutched pocket-sized brochures listing candidates endorsed by the powerful Culinary union.”
The union bused workers during their paid lunch break and handed them boxed lunches for the ride back to work.
The story went on to report that the union had registered 34,000 members to vote, had reassigned 150 members to full-time political work, planned to knock on 200,000 doors and place phone calls to co-workers.
There is talk in California since the election of Trump about secession from the Union. Anyone think Clark County should go with them?
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.