GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West

TheHill | 7/17/2017 | Reid Wilson
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NORTH LAS VEGAS — When the Mirage Hotel and Casino opened in 1989, it kicked off one of the most significant construction booms in recent history.

Four new mega-casinos opened in quick succession on the Las Vegas Strip, bringing in tens of thousands of new residents to work as card dealers, cocktail servers, security guards and maids.

Arrivals - Family - Immigrants - House - Bedroom

Among the new arrivals was a family of undocumented Mexican immigrants who found a house in the impoverished bedroom community of North Las Vegas, where their son found a local team to play soccer with.

After winning citizenship, that son became the first formerly undocumented immigrant to claim a seat in Nevada’s state legislature.

Today - Rep - Ruben - Kihuen - D-Nev

Today, Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s (D-Nev.) family still lives in North Las Vegas, and his mother still cleans hotel rooms.

“My story’s a very common story,” Kihuen said at a cafe recently, just a block from the field on which his soccer team played.

Tale - Problem - Republicans - Change - States

It’s a deeply personal tale that points to a growing problem for Republicans: Demographic change is slowly, but inevitably, moving Western states to the left.

The political power of Las Vegas is a hint of the GOP’s worst-case scenario: A mega-metropolitan area so dominant, and so Democratic, that it swamps the Republican advantage in increasingly conservative rural areas.

Republicans - Nevada - Politics - Years - Party

Republicans who have watched Nevada politics in recent years worry their party’s struggles in the Silver State will be a harbinger of things to come as the face of the American electorate changes — especially in other Mountain West states such as Arizona and Colorado.

“The Wild West is slowly becoming an Urbanized West,” said Mike Slanker, a Republican strategist in Las Vegas.

Majority - Nevada - Growth - Clark - County

The vast majority of Nevada’s growth has come in Clark County, which has seen its population jump from 48,000 in 1950 to 2.1 million today. Waves of immigrants from Central and South America, Asia,...
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