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Politics

The Sanders Insurgency Takes Nevada

Bernie busts out as the clear front-runner after dominating the latest caucuses.

Nate Jackson · Feb. 24, 2020

Bernie Sanders trounced the rest of the still-crowded Democrat field in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, coming away with nearly 47% of the vote and 14 delegates (with 96% reporting as we go to press). Joe Biden finished a distant second with 20% and the first four delegates he has ever won in his three presidential runs. Pete Buttigieg was third with nearly 14% and two delegates, while Elizabeth Warren came in fourth with just under 10% but no delegates. And then there were other candidates like Amy Klobuchar, whose sixth-place finish (4% and behind billionaire Tom Steyer) showed that, no, she did not have momentum coming out of New Hampshire. Next up is South Carolina on Saturday, followed closely by 15 contests for a third of all delegates on Super Tuesday, when Michael Bloomberg will show up on ballots for the first time.

There are two particularly noteworthy aspects of the Nevada results. First, due to the way the state’s caucuses work, a candidate must exceed 15% at each location to move forward. Voters faced with having to choose another candidate did not coalesce around a more “moderate” choice, however. Instead, Sanders actually increased support as the second choice of voters. Second, Sanders won 53% of Hispanics and 27% of blacks in Nevada. That’s strong minority support, and it undercuts the appeal of Biden in particular.

Longtime Democrat strategist James Carville says a Sanders nomination will be “political suicide” for the party. But Democrats have only themselves to blame. They’ve spent decades selling ever-more fantastical promises to voters, who are mis-educated in Democrat-run government schools. They see Bernie as “authentic” — a virtue to be prized above all others for many Millennials. In other words, Bernie actually believes what he says, while Democrats like Carville (and the rest of the field) have made a living just saying whatever it takes to win.

If Democrats didn’t see it coming before, they do now — their own replay of the Republicans’ 2016 primaries. A crowded field of GOP candidates enabled Donald Trump, who was a Democrat until Barack Obama became president, to keep winning and racking up delegates. Without a single alternative candidate to rally behind, Trump won the GOP nomination despite not winning a majority of the votes. He won due to justly deserved massive dissatisfaction with the Republican Party.

Democrats now face the increasingly real prospect of nominating a guy who has remained staunchly “independent,” not registering as a Democrat until it suited his desire to run for president. They’ll be nominating a guy who honeymooned in the Soviet Union and praised its breadlines, while just this weekend giving some love to Fidel Castro’s “massive literacy program” in Cuba. But if Sanders wins, it will be due to justly deserved massive dissatisfaction with the Democrat Party.

The big difference is that a crass and philandering former Democrat ended up being just the guy to save the Republican Party from self-immolation and the country from the Obama years. But a former “independent” socialist is unlikely to unite America behind his demands for exorbitant and punitive taxes and regulation. That’s why we may witness a growing Never Sanders movement, even as he gains momentum toward the Democrat nomination.

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