A billboard on the Las Vegas strip counts the national debt as it ticks up every second, $70K+ per person in the US, and growing. I am wandering alone, unable to get into a hotel room booked in another’s name. Five hours to kill. Two showgirls pass, photos for tips. I hold the phone and snap one for a man who won’t remember this in the morning. I get a manicure and eat really good vegan food. My nails make my hands look like they’re someone else’s.

At the far end of the strip, Trump Tower looms. The king of vapid and grossest of all.

The city of sin, faux, isms, addiction, fun, the lost and the strange. I’ve been here twice before and always end up feeling hungover after having exactly zero drinks. The smells and sounds of fake.

We leave early the next morning. The smell of smoke from the Tropicana’s lobby permeates my clothes.

And now it’s one week later. Every news source has reporters there for the Nevada Caucuses. A debate in the Paris Casino. A castle in the background on the PBS Newshour. A perfect metaphor for the circus that is our current state of democracy.

And then today, Bernie wins again.

I repeatedly hear “he can’t win.” Though he keeps winning. “It will never work.” “It can’t happen”. Almost word for word what we said about Trump four years ago.

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