Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why the Culinary Union Endorsement is a Big Deal

This is the very definition of power:

Just before noon[on caucus day], the hotel's dishwashers, cocktail waitresses, porters and bellhops will go on break and gather in a 30,000-square-foot ballroom to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama or maybe John Edwards to be the Democratic nominee for president.

A similar scene will play out in eight other casinos on or near Las Vegas's Strip as Democrats caucus in Nevada, the next stop in the party's fiercely competitive presidential race. There will be more than 1,700 caucus precincts across Nevada, but estimates are that the votes cast in the casinos could be more than 10 percent of the statewide total. Many of them will be cast by Latinos, the first time in the 2008 presidential race when that ethnic group will play a significant role.

Democratic officials, working with national party leaders, came up with the idea of caucusing in the casinos for the first time to increase participation in a town that doesn't know the meaning of a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday workweek.

Under rules set by the Nevada Democratic Party, only casinos that have been organized by the most powerful labor group in Las Vegas, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, were selected as caucus sites.

The union endorsed Obama, but Clinton has an advantage with Latino voters ... and pollsters have abandoned Nevada after the New Hampshire debacle, so there's really no telling what the hell's going on right now.

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