Trump Prevails In Nevada, Wins Third Consecutive State

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he greets voters at a caucus site Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Las Vegas. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JAE C. HONG

Donald Trump rolled to victory in Tuesday’s Nevada GOP presidential caucus, his third consecutive convincing win.

Looking ahead, polls indicate Trump is the strong favorite in most of the 12 states that will cast ballots on March 1. In short, the possibility Trump will ultimately emerge as the GOP nominee is becoming a very real one.

Trump’s often controversial policy positions — highlighted by his support for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and the construction of a wall to keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the Mexican border — have been well known for months. In recent weeks, he’s been dominating the political news cycle thanks to a string of high-profile beefs he’s had with people ranging from Republican Sen.Ted Cruz (“He’s like a little baby, soft weak little baby”) to Pope Francis (“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful”). He made calling since-out-of-the-race Jeb Bush “sad” into an art form of sorts, and now pundits are anticipating the terrible things he might do to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) if “Marcomentum” ever amounts to anything.

Recent controversies aside, a Trump supporter we spoke with at a rally this week cited Trump’s policy positions as the reason he supports him.

Trump supporter Neil Connolly CREDIT: Alice Ollstein

“I’m supporting Trump because he’ll close the border and protect the 2nd amendment,” said Las Vegas-based truck driver Neil Connolly. “If the government treats us this bad when we’re armed to the teeth, imagine how it’d be if we didn’t have any guns.”

There are indications Trump may have to tone down some of his immigration rhetoric to win a general election, but polls indicate that even before that happens, Trump could compete in a general election with either of the Democratic candidates.

But Trump’s bullying brand of politics wasn’t popular with all Nevadans. One Cruz supporter we spoke with, Henderson resident and Vietnam veteran and Henderson resident Bill Roush, cited Trump’s temperament while explaining why he can’t support him.

“He’s very emotional, and if you don’t agree with him, he shoots you down,” Roush said of Trump. “I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him. He’s a liberal and he pretends like he’s a moderate.”

Alice Ollstein contributed reporting