After Nevada, an Undisputed Frontrunner

Bernie Sanders pulled together a diverse coalition of voters to lift him to victory
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2020 7:11 AM CST
After Nevada, an Undisputed Frontrunner
Supporters of Bernie Sanders cheer as they watch results of the Nevada Caucus during a campaign event in San Antonio, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Bernie Sanders' caucus romp Saturday night in Nevada is putting the word "undisputed" in front of "frontrunner" in many news accounts, and the candidate himself was so confident of victory that he headed out to campaign in other states before results were even announced. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, however, Sanders was able to harness what the New York Times calls "a multiracial coalition of immigrants, college students, Latina mothers, younger black voters, white liberals and even some moderates who embraced his idea of radical change and lifted him to victory." And while Joe Biden had hoped to fare better in a more diverse state, he failed, and the AP notes that the former vice president may now be up against a firewall in South Carolina.

  • No clear runner-up: Vox notes that "the story out of Nevada is that Sanders is running away with the nomination and there is little clarity about the strongest opponent to challenge him."
  • Pete Buttigieg issues a warning: "Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” the third-place finisher told supporters, via the AP. “We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. Sen. Sanders sees capitalism as the root of all evil. He’d go beyond reform and reorder the economy in ways most Democrats—let alone most Americans—don’t support."
  • Medicare-for-All plays well: Vox notes that 60% of caucus-goers said they supported Sanders' health plan, "and the candidate who has married his brand to Medicare-for-all was winning caucuses in casinos with union workers, after that union’s leaders made their opposition to the plan abundantly clear." NPR notes that moderates who gambled against the plan are losing that argument.
  • No miracles for Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren. "Time is running out for candidates who haven't finished higher than third in any contest," notes the AP. Warren saw a boost from a strong debate performance, but was hurt by people who had already cast their votes by the debate.
(More Bernie Sanders stories.)

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