After a triumphant victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is in the driver’s seat, with a clear path to winning the Democratic nomination.
Sanders’ win in the Silver State was about as good as it gets. He came first among voters both white and non-white, old and young, educated and not. He won a clear majority of Latino voters.
Voters who said they want a candidate that can beat Trump decided Sanders was their best bet, but the Vermont Senator also won with voters who said health care, climate change and income equality were issues that mattered most to them.
Sanders also drove voters to the polls, with half of all voters attending a caucus for the very first time. Among first-time caucus goers, Sanders came first.
Nearly half of Nevada voters said they decided who they would support before January. Among those voters, 47 percent caucused for Sanders. But the Vermont Senator also finished first among the 10 percent of voters who only made up their mind in the last few days.
There is no way to write off Sanders’ victory in Nevada the same way many in the media and establishment tried to after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Nevada is a diverse state, and Sanders’ support cut across gender, racial, generational and ideological lines.
No other candidate can credibly argue that they have a coalition as broad and powerful as Sanders’.
There is no denying that Bernie Sanders is now the clear front runner. Democratic primary voters want a candidate that can beat Donald Trump, but many also want a candidate that represents their values. Bernie Sanders can do both.
Perhaps that is why the attacks on Sanders from moderates such as Pete Buttigieg are not resonating with voters. It is obvious that Sanders has a far greater argument for electability when he has built such a diverse coalition of support, while Buttigieg was barely able to register 2 percent support among black voters.
An overwhelming number of Nevada voters say they prefer a government health care plan for all instead of private insurance, yet the attacks on Sanders over Medicare for All continue.
It is now getting desperate for the moderate candidates in the race, who will now try anything to remain relevant and justify their existence. But for the greater good of the race, they must now focus on uniting the party behind the candidate that will beat Trump while also championing progressive values.
For these reasons, it is clear that Bernie Sanders has broken away from the once crowded field and is well on his way to going head to head with Donald Trump in November.