Donald Trump won New Hampshire, a moderate Northeastern state that prides itself on its sober analysis of the candidates at hand. Donald Trump won South Carolina, a conservative Southern state with a number of religious voters. Donald Trump has now won Nevada, a Western state with its own eclectic mix of Republican voting groups.
Trump won them all. According to preliminary entrance poll data reported by CNN, he won every age group and every education group and both genders -- and even every racial and ethnic group. About 1 in 10 Nevada Republicans were Hispanic. More than 4 in 10 of them backed Donald Trump (according to entrance polls with a notably large margin of error).
What's the theme here? What's the thing that's turned Donald Trump from the never-gonna-happen outsider of last June into the how-can-he-be-stopped candidate of February?
Nevada offers one hint: Anger.
Nevada Republicans are mad at the government. This probably isn't too much of a surprise, given that it's also the home of the family of Cliven Bundy, but it's still remarkable how much angrier it is than previous states. Voters were mad.
And voters didn't want a politician to address that anger. Six in 10 Nevada Republicans said that they were looking for the next president to be someone from "outside politics." That's 6 in 10 of a "huge" turnout, by the way. And 70 percent of them voted for Donald Trump.
Reports from field: Carson has two locations. Nugget packed w/folks standing in line clear downstairs on the casino floor. Huge turnout.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 24, 2016
Trump wasn't supposed to win Hispanics, but he appears to have won them. (This was a key question even after returns were in from the Democratic race.) Trump wasn't supposed to win evangelicals in South Carolina or here, really, but he won them in both. In Nevada, he won 4 out of every 10 evangelical votes. He wasn't supposed to win conservatives. Won 'em -- even the "very conservative" ones. Wasn't supposed to win better educated voters. Won 'em.
This is an electorate that does not care about what it is supposed to do. Voters who decided later, those who took their time and considered the candidates, one would assume, went more heavily for Marco Rubio than Trump. It's one of the few groups he lost. But the people who've been mad at politics for a long time and decided weeks ago who they were going to back? More than half backed Trump.
Trump has proven resilient. His opponents demonstrably don't know how to beat him, and he's eroded all of the pillars they thought were propping them up. We've grown accustomed to Trump being expected to win, but we haven't yet become used to his actually winning. Nevada may be a fluke, as may New Hampshire and South Carolina. Who knows?
But if the electorate stays this unhappy at the candidates that were supposed to win, the one that was never supposed to will keep on doing it.