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Sanders was campaigning in California and Texas as Nevadans were voting
Along with a few far-flung US island territories, only four states are still using the caucus system, with its two-part voting rounds and 15% “viability” cut-offs, to determine their Democratic presidential nomination contests. Iowa, of course, went first. We know how that turned out. Now it’s Nevada’s time in the spotlight (or, perhaps, the barrel).Despite reported glitches, a few caucus-site ties settled by high-card draw and plenty of calls to the state party hotline for advice, the Nevada results trickled in throughout the afternoon on Saturday, well into the evening and stretching into the morning hours. Before the day was over, it became increasingly clear who the biggest winners and losers would be.
Four years ago, the Nevada caucuses were the moment Hillary Clinton began to turn the tide against Sanders in his upstart bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. This time around, the results could be further evidence that the Sanders surge is very real and very durable.Caucus entrance polls show Sanders won a dominating 53% of the Hispanic vote – a demographic he struggled with against Clinton. That bodes well for the senator in the two biggest prizes coming up, Texas and California, with their sizeable Hispanic populations. Sanders also, not as surprisingly, carried a majority of those ages 18 to 27 and voters who said they want someone who agrees with them on the issues.If Sanders has a winning formula this time around, it could be that he has successfully diversified his coalition, while keeping his loyal support from the young and those who want a president who is with them on issues like major healthcare reform, aggressively combating climate change and addressing income inequality.
In the caucus’s first alignment voting – the preference caucus-goers expressed before they had to abandon sub-15% candidates and pick their second choice – the Sanders margin of victory did not appear nearly as large. The win, however, is still impressive. And no matter the metric, Sanders cruised to victory.The Vermont senator appears so confident in his standing that he was campaigning in California this week and spent the day of the Nevada caucuses in Texas. If there was any doubt whether Sanders was the front-runner before now (and, quite honestly, there shouldn’t have been), there is no question now.
Ever since Joe Biden’s struggles in Iowa presaged a downward spiral for his presidential hopes, his team has pointed to black voters as his “firewall” – an ethnic base of support that would pick him up after a rough stretch in the predominantly white first two states. While Biden appears destined for a distant second in Nevada, wit