Bernie Sanders recorded his second primary victory after taking the Nevada caucus. The United States Senator from Vermont got slightly below 47% of the vote in Nevada, cementing his status as the clear frontrunner in the Democratic primary.
Joe Biden came in second with slightly above 20% of the vote with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren wrapping up the top four. The Nevada win came shortly after Sanders also won New Hampshire and came very close to securing a caucus victory in Iowa.
However, the Nevada win was probably the most important one for Sanders. In New Hampshire and Iowa, a majority of voters there are white. Many pundits felt that a multiracial and cosmopolitan state like Nevada was going to provide the perfect litmus test for the candidates running for the presidency. Sanders managed to win support from literally all the demographic groups in the state including Latinos and young people.
Speaking in Texas shortly after his Nevada win was confirmed, Sanders pointed out this fact, noting that, “In Nevada, we have just put together a multiracial and multigenerational coalition which is not only going to win Nevada but sweep the entire country.” There’s no doubt now that Sanders has built momentum and there are several polls showing him leading other Democratic candidates in nationwide polls.
There are still, however, questions about the electability of Sanders. Many establishment Democrats have always maintained that the party has the best chance of beating Donald Trump if they have a centrist candidate in the 2020 election.
According to analysts, centrists seem to be doing very well in the primaries. In fact, there have been suggestions that if two out of the three centrist democrats running for the nomination could drop out and support one candidate, they would easily beat Sanders who represents the progressive wing of the party.
Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg are the main centrist contenders in the race and looking at the number of votes they have won so far in the three primaries, it is clear that a majority of Democrats prefer a more centrist candidate. However, it’s very unlikely that any of these three will drop out.
There are real concerns among establishment Democrats that if nothing changes over the coming few days, Sanders could ascend to an unassailable lead after Super Tuesday, where a majority of big delegate states vote in the primary.
However, the Sanders campaign has argued that his win in Nevada puts to bed his electability question. For starters, the Senator from Vermont got nearly 50% of the vote. Secondly, the support came from across all the demographic groups that form the core support base of the Democratic Party.
The momentum is now with Sanders and it’s hard to see how any of the other candidates will catch up. But a lot could still happen as we move to the South Carolina primaries. Recent polls show Joe Biden holding a huge lead in the state. South Carolina has a huge African American population too and it may prove decisive in who wins the state.