The Strip, The City of Sin, Vegas, everyone is familiar with the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. With its casinos, parties, and lights that stay on all night, it can be easy to be dazzled by Las Vegas. However, what happens if we step away from all the noise, what would we see, and what do the residents of Las Vegas think and feel?
Las Vegas is a liberal city. The 2022 mayor is a former member of the Democratic party and places a large focus on initiatives within the homeless community and in social work. The city tends to lean liberal on social ideas, the residents tend to favor limited government, valuing their independence.
While it can be a little difficult to separate the tourists from the permanent residents of Las Vegas, once we do we can begin to explore the different ideas offered by the residents. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons that Las Vegas is considered a liberal city.
Voting in Elections
One of the quickest ways to determine the politics of an area is to look at how they vote in elections. One crucial election that occurs every four years is the national presidential election. By taking the presidential election results from Las Vegas, Nevada, and comparing them to the rest of the nation, we can begin to determine whether Las Vegas is liberal or not.
According to NBC News during the 2020 presidential election, the state of Nevada voted for the Democratic candidate Joe Biden. In their report on the results, they found that 50.1% of the state voted for Biden, while only 47.7% voted for the incumbent president Donald Trump. But what about the city of Las Vegas, how did they vote?
Looking at the same data from NBC we can see that in Clark County, in which Las Vegas is the largest city, 53.7% of the area voted for Joe Biden with Trump pulling in 44.3% of the vote. Through these results, we can see a big difference in the way that Las Vegas is voting in comparison to the rest of Nevada. If we look at the state as a whole, it is pretty evenly split between the two different parties with only a difference of just over 2% between them.
However, once we start to get closer to the city of Las Vegas, there is a big difference. Instead of a 2% difference, there is a swing in Biden’s favor, giving him a 10% lead in the election results. From this, we can see that Las Vegas is much more liberal than the rest of Nevada, and it is likely that even more of Las Vegas is liberal than these results indicate.
We can only see the results at the county level, but Clark County has several suburbs in addition to Las Vegas, and suburbs tend to be less liberal than the city itself. Also, not all eligible voters voted during the 2020 presidential election.
The 2022 Mayor
While we can see how the people in Las Vegas voted in the presidential election, this is not the only thing we should consider when figuring out whether Las Vegas is a liberal city. Another thing that we should look at is who they are voting for as their local leaders.
People tend to vote for people who hold the same beliefs as them and hold the elected official to those beliefs. If the elected official doesn’t act on those beliefs, or they begin to favor other ideals, people will generally vote for a new candidate.
To look at this idea we can look at the current mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn G. Goodman. Carolyn presents an interesting situation for us to explore as we consider the city of Las Vegas. First of all, how popular is she as mayor among the people living in Las Vegas, Nevada?
In the 2022 mayoral election, she collected around 80% of the votes. By any measure that seems to indicate that she is very popular among the people in the city.
Another thing to consider is how long has she served as mayor. She is serving her third, and final term allowed under law, as the mayor of Las Vegas. Based on the length of her service, it not only appears that the vast majority of the city likes her, but they also appear to trust her as a leader, as they have kept her in office for quite a long time.
Another wrinkle to add to this situation is her husband. Her husband has also served as mayor of Las Vegas for three terms, and when he retired Carolyn was elected to her first term. Clearly, the city believes in this family and in their current mayor.
So, what does Mayor Goodman believe politically? The first thing that we should look at is whether she is a member of any political party.
In the past, she and her husband were members of the Democratic party, but in recent years she has claimed to now be an independent. Not only is her own party affiliation a little murky, but she has also endorsed candidates from multiple parties.
Something else we can consider is what she has done before and while she serves as mayor. By looking at her biography that is posted on the Las Vegas city website, we can determine what beliefs she has favored throughout her life.
As mayor, she has put a focus on education, social services, and child welfare programs, which are typically part of liberal priorities. She also established a bike share program to limit pollution within the city, a central liberal goal. Overall, it seems like the Mayor of Las Vegas tends to favor liberal policies, despite not being an explicit member of the Democratic party.
Transplants from California
While we see what people in the city of Las Vegas were voting for, what are the people themselves like? Something to consider is the number of people that live in Las Vegas that were not born in the city. From 1990 to 2020, the population of the city grew by over 156%. This means that potentially over half of the people in the city have lived somewhere else before moving to Las Vegas. When they moved to Las Vegas, they likely brought their beliefs and politics with them.
Many of these people who have moved in, let’s call them transplants, are from California. California is considered to be one of the most liberal states in the United States. As these transplants from California and other states move into Las Vegas, there is a good chance that they are not going to change their ideas and beliefs just because they are in a new city. This could cause a shift in the political beliefs of the residents of Las Vegas and influence election results.
Another thing to consider is as the city grows larger, the small towns around it begin to shrink. Las Vegas, Nevada was originally a mining town with several towns in all directions each centered around a mine.
As the mines have begun to close and Las Vegas has become more of a tourist destination, these small, mostly conservative areas have begun to close. In the end, the liberal city of Las Vegas continues to grow, while many people are moving out to other areas around the country.
One final thing that we can consider is how the city has spent its time in recent years. To do this we’ll look at some policies and laws that have been put in place and whether a conservative or liberal would be more likely to support them.
One of the first things that have been put in place recently was a law about firearms. The law sought to limit guns being sold without a serial number. This could include guns that were printed with a 3-D Printer or those assembled from parts. Since this is a law restricting firearms, it is one that a liberal citizen is much more likely to support, supporting the thinking that Las Vegas is a liberal city.
Another law that was put in place recently was one that affects the LGBTQ+ community. The law adds small businesses that are owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community to the list of groups that receive protection from the city and state from discrimination and provided additional incentives for these businesses. While this is less clear than the gun law mentioned above, typically those with liberal ideals are the first to promote ideas in support of these communities.
By looking at both of these laws, we can see that Las Vegas as a city favors liberal ideas and choose its leaders based on whether they enact these ideas into law. While there are some conservative elements to Las Vegas, overall the city has become very liberal, and it appears that the residents will continue to have liberal ideals for the foreseeable future.