Bernie strikes gold in the Silver State

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas before last weekend's caucuses.

After winning a decisive victory in the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders heads into Super Tuesday in an enviable position. 

Sanders came away with 46.8 percent of the vote and former Vice President Joe Biden came in second place with a distant 20.2 percent — the largest winning margin this primary season.  All other candidates trailed the top two significantly.

After a historic performance in the first three contests, Sanders has solidified his position as a frontrunner for the nomination.

This momentum is notable as the candidates head into voting in delegate rich California and other Super Tuesday states on March 3. According to a poll released Friday by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Sanders had an eight-point lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Golden State.

Following former California governor Jerry Brown’s signing of the Prime Time Primary Act in 2017, the delegate rich state may now play a larger role in selecting the next nominee. Super Tuesday, now with California play, is arguably the most important day in any primary election with one U.S. territory and a whopping 14 states in play.

Given that Sanders is entering this phase of the race with the most delegates and a strong lead in the most delegate rich state, many analysts are acknowledging the fact that Sanders could break out of the pack and get so far ahead that there really would be no stopping him.

Politico reported on a memo from Buttigieg’s campaign stating that, “if the dynamics of the race did not dramatically change, Democrats could end up coming out of Super Tuesday with Bernie Sanders holding a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead.” 

While several of Sanders opponents are painting a possible Sanders victory as a potentially dire situation, many polls indicate that Sanders can beat Trump. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll released Feb. 19 found that seventy-percent of democrats believe that Sanders would defeat President Donald Trump if selected as the nominee.

If Sanders’ performance in Nevada was any indication, then Sanders may perform well in upcoming states with similar demographics.

The win by Sanders in Nevada was propelled by his performance with voters of color and young voters alike. According to New York Daily News, Sanders received 51 percent of the Latino vote and 60 percent of voters under the age of 45 in exit polls.

In addition to his strength with young voters and voters of color, Sanders also outperformed other candidates with support from the 60,000 member Culinary Union.  This support came in defiance of union leadership who had been warning members to vote otherwise.

These warnings were in large part motivated by the union leaders’ concerns with Medicare for All — a signature Sanders policy. According to The Intercept, Sanders angered union leaders when he told members of the Culinary Union that employers would save $12,00 per employee with his plan.

Now, with Nevada over, the candidates are looking toward the rest of the primary calendar. The next primary contest before Super Tuesday will take place on Saturday in South Carolina.

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