Bernie Sanders claimed a decisive victory in the Democratic presidential caucuses in Nevada on Saturday, while Joe Biden appeared headed to a second-place finish that would give his struggling campaign new hope.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, rode a wave of backing from a diverse coalition of young and middle-aged voters, Latinos, union members and white college-educated women to a win in Nevada, showing signs of expanding support for his front-running campaign beyond his longstanding core.
“We won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hampshire primary, and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” the 78-year-old told cheering supporters in San Antonio, Texas.
“We have put together a multi-generational, multiracial coalition that is going to not only win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep the country.”
Biden, the former vice president, had been in desperate need of a strong showing after poor finishes in the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire for the party’s nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November election.
He was a distant second to Sanders with 19 percent of the vote with 10 percent of the precincts reported but ahead of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, in third with 16 percent.
“The press is ready to declare people dead quickly, but we’re alive and we’re coming back and we’re gonna win,” Biden told supporters in Las Vegas.
Buttigieg congratulated Sanders, but then told his supporters in Las Vegas that Democrats should stop and reconsider nominating Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist that he portrayed as an ideologue.
“We can prioritise either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new, broad, big-hearted American coalition,” Buttigieg said.
New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who dominated the political conversation this week after a poor debate-stage debut, was not on the ballot. He is betting everything on a series of delegate-rich states that begin voting next month.
Supporters cheer as they watch returns from the Nevada caucuses while waiting for Bernie Sanders to arrive for a campaign rally at Cowboys Dancehall on February 22, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas [Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP]
Nevada was the third contest on a 2020 election calendar marked by chaos and uncertainty after the opening votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, overwhelmingly white, rural states.
The first presidential contest in the West tested the candidates’ strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020. Nevada’s population aligns more with the US as a whole, compared with Iowa and New Hampshire: 29 percent Latino, 10 percent black and 9 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander.
The Nevada verdict represented the third in a primary season that will span all 50 states and several US territories, ending only at the party’s national convention in July. But with two more rounds of voting scheduled over the next 10 days – including Super Tuesday’s massive delegate haul – the party may identify a consensus candidate long before the convention.
Steve Clemons, host of Al Jazeera’s weekly show The Bottom Line, called the margin of victory for Sanders “unexpected”.
” I think the [Democratic race] is going to winnow out more quickly than people thought, given Bernie Sanders’ strength,” he said from Chestertown in Maryland. “Joe Biden is acting confidently, but at 19 percent in a state like Nevada, many people are looking at that fairly shocked. Elizabeth Warren has done very poorly and Amy Klobuchar barely registered in this race and this has got to be a concern for her.”
If Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, the November election was likely to be “intense”, he said.
“We are going to see an incredibly passionate turnout because what’s clear about Bernie Sanders, where he is in the Democratic Party and the contest he’s giving to the so-called ‘moderates’ is that the intensity of [his supporters’] passion for him, is about as great as the intensity of passion that Donald Trump’s support base feel for the president.
“If this comes to be, and Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic primary, it will be an incredibly intense election.”
Trump offered a congratulation of sorts to Sanders.
“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada,” Trump tweeted, maligning other candidates before adding: “Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!”
The stakes were high for Nevada Democrats to avoid a repeat of the chaos in Iowa, and officials promised that a revised reporting system using a telephone hotline and photos of caucus reporting sheets would ensure a smoother process.
But precinct chairs at some caucuses reported long waits on the phone lines. Larry Van, a retired pharmacist who was the volunteer secretary at a precinct that went to Biden, said he called the phone number to report results eight times before he eventually got through.
In the final result of a caucus at the famed Bellagio hotel on the Las Vegas strip, Sanders finished with 76 votes, Biden had 45 and no other candidate ended with a vote.
Workers at the hotel, who are members of the Culinary Workers Union, streamed out of the caucus after backing Sanders despite their leadership expressing reservations about his healthcare plan.
“I went for Bernie. I’m not big into politics, but I like the things he’s going for: student loan debt, schools, free healthcare,” said Aleiza Smith, 22, a housekeeper at the Bellagio.
Four days of early voting in Nevada this week drew more than 75,000 Democrats, more than half first-time voters, putting the party in position to surpass the turnout record of 118,000 in 2008, when Barack Obama’s candidacy electrified the party.
But those early votes had to be counted along with those cast on Saturday, complicating the process.
An entrance poll by the Edison Research agency showed six in 10 Nevada voters at the caucuses backed the Medicare for All proposal, a version of which is also supported by Warren. Six out of 10 caucus-goers wanted someone who can beat Trump more than someone who agrees with them on major issues, according to the poll.
Bernie Sanders warns: Biden win ‘no slam dunk’
WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders is warning that if onetime rival Joe Biden doesn’t do more to promote his policies and reach out to Latino voters, the Democratic presidential nominee is at risk of falling short to President Donald Trump this November. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who left the primary race in the spring and…
WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders is warning that if onetime rival Joe Biden doesn’t do more to promote his policies and reach out to Latino voters, the Democratic presidential nominee is at risk of falling short to President Donald Trump this November.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who left the primary race in the spring and has worked to shift Biden to the left on key issues, has made the warnings in public and private in recent days. Most recently, he went on MSNBC on Sunday to express concerns that Biden wasn’t speaking up enough about his economic proposals.
“I think Biden’s in an excellent position to win this election, but I think we have got to do more as a campaign than just go after Trump,” he said. “We also have to give people a reason to vote for Joe Biden. And Joe has some pretty strong positions on the economy, and I think we should be talking about that more than we have.”
In a Friday interview with PBS, Sanders was more blunt: “Am I here to tell you absolutely, this is a slam dunk, no chance that he will lose? That is not what I’m saying,” the Vermont senator said.
His comments follow a week when Biden campaigned with union workers in Michigan and released a tax plan focused on boosting U.S. manufacturing by punishing businesses that take jobs overseas. Biden also emphasized his economic agenda and attacked Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic while the former vice president spent Labor Day with union workers in Pennsylvania.
Sanders used his MSNBC appearance to urge Biden to speak more about some of his kitchen-table economic policies: raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, lowering prescription drug costs and expanding health insurance coverage.
Sanders said Biden’s policies are “a compromise” but that they were “pretty strong, progressive policies.”
He also encouraged Biden to focus more on Latino and young voters, groups that broadly supported Sanders during the primary. Biden has struggled to build enthusiasm among young voters, and some Democrats have expressed concerns about what they see as the campaign’s lack of outreach to Latino voters, which Sanders echoed on MSNBC.
“We got to reach out to the Latino community. You know, a lot of young people, you’ve got a lot of Latinos, African Americans who may not vote. They’re not gonna for Donald Trump, that’s for sure, but they may not vote at all,” Sanders said. “How do we bring them into the political process? How do we get them to vote?”
A Biden campaign adviser, Symone Sanders, was asked Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” whether the campaign would take Sanders’ advice.
“We know that we have work to do. And we have said from the beginning, and Vice President Biden has been very clear about this … that we are really working to earn every single vote in this country. And we want to earn the votes of the Latino and Hispanic community,” she said.
Sanders has campaigned for Biden, holding virtual rallies in seven states, including one this weekend in Michigan. It’s one of three states where Sanders warned Democrats should be “nervous” about their chances, along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“The enthusiasm is with Trump, not with Biden,” Sanders said.
In 2016, Trump’s unexpected victories n those three Rust Belt states, bolstered in part by his support among white working class voters, helped deliver him the White House. The Biden campaign has focused much of its early efforts on those three states, with Biden and running mate Kamala Harris visiting all three in recent weeks.
While Sanders made his concerns public in recent interviews, he also has expressed them in private to the Biden campaign, according to Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ former presidential campaign manager.
“He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage,” Shakir said.
Shakir said Sanders “also thinks that a stronger outreach to young people, the Latino community and the progressive movement will be of real help to the campaign.”
Biden has adopted some of Sanders’ more liberal proposals, but the Democratic nominee has been careful to avoid some of progressives’ more contentious policy priorities, such as defunding the police and adopting a fully government-run healthcare system. His commitment to a more centrist campaign has frustrated some progressives, who warn that Biden’s careful campaign could turn off young and minority voters.
But Sanders expressed confidence that those in the progressive movement who may be disappointed by Biden’s policies would still be motivated by a desire to win the White House.
“I would hope that, while people will have strong disagreements with Biden – I do – for the moment, put that aside,” Sanders said on PBS. “That’s what, in a sense, coalition politics is about: You come together for a common goal. The goal is to defeat Trump.”
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Bernie Sanders wants ‘serious debate’ with Biden after teaming up on the election
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday he plans to bring back robust policy debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, after the election, but stressed the importance of “coalition politics.” As a self-described democratic socialist, Mr. Sanders said he obviously disagrees with Mr. Biden on a number of issues, but that the Democratic Party needs…
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday he plans to bring back robust policy debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, after the election, but stressed the importance of “coalition politics.”
As a self-described democratic socialist, Mr. Sanders said he obviously disagrees with Mr. Biden on a number of issues, but that the Democratic Party needs to unite ahead of the November election.
The Vermont independent even extended that call for unity to Republicans like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who endorsed Mr. Biden at the Democratic National Convention this week.
“We’re going to come together to defeat Trump,” Mr. Sanders told “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah. “And the day after Biden is elected, we’re going to have a serious debate about the future of this country, but it will be done within the framework of a democratic society.”
“What you’re seeing now is what I would call a united front of people of many different points of view,” he added. “So this is what coalition politics is about.”
Some progressives were frustrated that Republicans got so much time to participate in the DNC convention, feeling like some of their liberal voices weren’t given the same amount of time.
Mr. Sanders was Mr. Biden’s closest competition in the Democratic presidential primary, though he suspended his campaign in April. However, he had collected enough delegate votes to be formally nominated at the convention.
Part of the GOP’s strategy has been to link Mr. Biden to Mr. Sanders, framing their connection as the nominee’s embrace of the “radical left.”
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Bernie Sanders warns DNC: ‘The price of failure is just too great to imagine’
Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont warned his supporters Monday that President Trump will erase the gains his political revolution has made over the course of the last six years. In a virtual address to the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Sanders thanked his followers for pushing the nation in a “bold new direction,” and said the…
Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont warned his supporters Monday that President Trump will erase the gains his political revolution has made over the course of the last six years.
In a virtual address to the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Sanders thanked his followers for pushing the nation in a “bold new direction,” and said the stakes are too high this election not get behind presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden.
“Let us be clear: if Donald Trump is re-elected all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy,” Mr. Sanders said.
“We must come together to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president,” he said. “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”
Mr. Sanders has arguably done more than anyone else to push the Democratic party in a more liberal direction over the course of his back-to-back bids for president.
Mr. Sanders said working families have suffered and said “together we must build a nation that is more equitable, more compassionate and more inclusive.”
“I know that Joe Biden will begin that fight on Day One,” he said.
He cited Mr. Biden’s support for a $15 minimum wage, expanding pre-kindergarten and transition the nation to 100% clean electricity over the next 15 years.
Mr. Sanders said he disagrees with Mr. Biden’s overall health care views, but said that his approach will expand access to coverage and cut the cost of prescription drugs.
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