Here in Las Vegas, the Democrats are getting ready for the fifth of six debates scheduled for this primary season. The debate is being held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the Cox Pavilion. In addition, approximately 700 people, including many Nevada caucus attendees, will gather in the Student Union for a “debate watching party.”
Are you watching? What issues do you think are most important – both for the residents of Nevada as well as for each candidate at this juncture of the primary?
The three issues said to be “hot” for Nevada residents are immigration, water, and the environment/energy. Some residents believe that water should be piped in from rural areas to accommodate a growing need and to compensate for drought. One major hot button concerning the environment is what to do about Yucca Mountain. Should it be used as a nuclear waste “dumping ground?” With regard to immigration, Nevada is one of the most important states in which candidates need to send a cohesive and problem-solving message.
The United States is home to around 12 million undocumented workers. The candidates will likely “tailor” their responses to questions about immigration tonight to suit the Intermountain West population. As Nevada becomes increasingly democratic, it is setting the stage for other battleground states.
Senator Clinton recently said that it’s time to turn up the heat. No doubt, the Edwards campaign is thinking the same thing and Senator Obama is poised for a hopeful takeover as his poll numbers approach Clinton’s. Then there’s Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and – notably absent tonight – Mike Gravel. Less and less seems to be expected of these players as their polls numbers fade.
The pundits are just waiting for Obama and Edwards to take Senator Clinton to task this evening. Some are guessing that she will come out swinging. Is the best defense really an offense?