What's at Stake in Saturday's Races
Clinton needs to win big, while Bush may have come to the end of the road
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2016 3:06 PM CST
Some experts say Hillary Clinton needs to win big in this Saturday's Nevada caucus or she might as well not win at all.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(Newser) – Saturday is a big day for the presidential hopefuls from both parties, with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off in the Nevada Democratic caucuses and Donald Trump taking on all challengers in the South Carolina Republican primary. How both of those events play out could have major impacts on the rest of the race. Here are six things you need to know:

  • Both Clinton and Sanders have a lot to lose in Nevada, NBC News reports. A Clinton loss "would launch another week's worth of negative headlines for her campaign," while "a Sanders loss could even be more impactful because it would set up Hillary Clinton to start running the table" in the south.
  • The Washington Post believes the GOP side is turning into a three-man race in South Carolina and beyond. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have been "attempting to position themselves as the main alternative to Trump," but "Trump is still the biggest attraction of all, dominating the polls and attracting huge crowds wherever he goes."
  • Clinton made a serious mistake when "she failed to take Bernie Sanders serious enough," allowing him to close the gap in Nevada, the Los Angeles Times reports. Now even a narrow victory over Sanders in Nevada "could raise strong doubts about [her] candidacy."
  • NBC notes that while Trump has had the lead in South Carolina polls for months, its no longer looking insurmountable. His 16-point lead from last month has crumbled to 5 points in one recent poll.
  • USA Today highlights five questions, the answers to which will determine the way the Nevada caucuses go. One of the major questions is whether turnout will be small enough and—especially—diverse enough to deliver a win for Clinton. "If she loses Nevada because—horror of horrors—the caucus voters looked more like New Hampshire and Iowa, Clinton will have to look in the mirror. Or at her field operatives."
  • Finally, things aren't looking good for Jeb Bush (not to mention John Kasich and Ben Carson), according to Politico. Morale is down in the Bush camp, with even his biggest supporters believing "Saturday might be the end." Donors are reportedly ready "to intervene and tell Bush, depending on his finish here Saturday night, that his time is up" after a week one describes as "a kick in the balls."