Dare we say rigged?
That is what Ms. Haley’s campaign called it on Monday. “And to be fair, it is rigged,” said Rebecca Gill, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. “It was set up to deliver all the convention votes to Donald Trump.” Under Republican Party rules, candidates can participate in either the primary or the caucus, not both. Mr. Trump’s name will appear in the caucuses, and Ms. Haley is on the primary ballot, in the calculation that she could never overcome the Trump forces in a caucus.
It seems important to point out here that while this contest is being described as rigged — meaning, in effect, that its outcome is predetermined — there is nothing illegal about what the Trump campaign is doing. It has used the courts and its allies in the party to bend rules in its favor. That is what campaigns do.
And Mr. Trump’s campaign disputed the idea that it was manipulating the outcome, noting that the caucus system had been created by Nevada Republican leaders. “I can’t help it if in Nevada, the vast majority of Republicans are working for and voting for Donald Trump and not Nikki Haley,” said Chris LaCivita, a senior campaign adviser to Mr. Trump. “Just because that is the way the system is doesn’t constitute anything but that is the way the system is. It’s really shame on them for saying that.”
Is there any possibility for surprises?
Get ready for a blizzard of numbers from the Haley and Trump camps to try to present the results as a victory. Yes, Mr. Trump will capture the delegates; but Ms. Haley conceivably could walk away with more actual votes on Tuesday than Mr. Trump gets in the caucus on Thursday. That’s because more Nevada residents will almost certainly be participating in this primary than will make the effort to go to a caucus.