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September 23, 2014

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Caucusopalypse: What the Republican candidates might mean for Las Vegas

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Mitt Romney just won in Florida; can he carry that success with him to Las Vegas?

No big surprises going into the Nevada Caucus: Romney won Florida, and he won it big time. He took home 46 percent of the vote, with Gingrich raking in a mere 32 percent. The race isn’t over, though, and Romney is the first to admit as much. Every candidate still has a chance. Even Ron Paul. (Well, a super-small one.) If elected, each of the four remaining candidates could do some good for Las Vegas … or harm.

Mitt Romney

Good for Vegas: Thanks to Team South Park, Mormonism has surpassed Scientology as America’s religious go-to punch line. The never-ending cheeriness, the planetary assignment, the holy underwear—the jokes practically write themselves. But many people—namely, Mormons—don’t find these jokes funny. And many Mormons live right here in Nevada. Having a Mormon in charge might stop some of the national mockery being hurled our way.

Bad for Vegas: Mormon doctrine and Vegas doctrine don’t exactly line up. We make money when tourists drink, gamble, dance and sin. The Mormon Church? Not such a sin fan. And unlike many politicians, Romney takes his religion seriously. (He made his tax returns public, and we now know Romney tithed $4 million to the LDS Church.) Who knows how Romney’s closely held worldview might affect our bottom line?

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Rick Santorum -- yeah, he really doesn't stand a chance.

Rick Santorum

Good for Vegas: If this guy somehow got elected—don’t worry, he won’t—he’d pull the country further to the right than it’s ever been pulled before. Right rhetoric, right policy, right Supreme Court. And if that happened, the country would freak out. And that freak-out would drive people to Vegas in swarms. They’d need an escape. And we’d be there for them.

Bad for Vegas: Santorum isn’t down with the “What Happens in Vegas” thing. In fact, he generally supports laws that prevent activities “antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.” Which pretty much counts out everything we do here in Vegas.

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Newt Gingrich's campaign got a massive boost from Nevada billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Newt Gingrich

Good for Vegas: Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given the Gingrich campaign $10 million. (Technically, Adelson gave the money to one of Newt’s PACs, but still ...) So, if Gingrich gets elected, he’ll probably think twice before signing any anti-gaming legislation. (Sorry kids, but that’s how politics works.) And at the federal level, what’s good for Adelson is good for Wynn, Kerkorian and the rest of us.

Bad for Vegas: Newt’s not a fan of welfare. Regardless of how you feel about wealth distribution, you can’t deny that a lot of Las Vegans benefit from it, especially in our current economic climate. (Have you seen our unemployment numbers?) Yes, “putting people back to work” is a noble goal, but it’s also a political euphemism for “cutting off welfare checks.”

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Ron Paul -- some pretty good ideas, but not in line with his party's views. It's not looking good.

Ron Paul

Good for Vegas: If Las Vegas were to ever decriminalize prostitution, marijuana possession or currently illegal forms of wagering, and if Ron Paul were president, we wouldn’t have to worry about the federal government flying in and ruining our fun. We’re a libertarian city at heart, and Ron Paul’s a libertarian guy.

Bad for Vegas: If victimless crimes were decriminalized on a national level, the country wouldn’t need Vegas anymore. We’ve seen “Vegas-style” casinos popping up all over the U.S. And if those casinos were surrounded by a sin-capitulating government, people would have their bachelor parties in their own backyards.

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