The Nevada Democratic Caucus began at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2016, with CNN reporting the early impressions of the candidates were somewhat imperative at the beginning stages of the poll. CNN’s entrance poll of the caucus had 85 percent of voters casting Senator Bernie Sanders as an honest and trustworthy candidate, whereas, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won 92 percent of voters who valued her experience.
It was noted there were roughly equal pockets of voters, valuing different qualities in the hopefuls, which is why the battle has been close. Halfway through the caucus, with 35 delegates at stake, Clinton held the lead by 52.1 percent and Sanders at 47.8 percent. However, the largest county in the state, Clark County’s vote had not been announced. Clark County could have easily changed the entire pace of the caucus. Despite this fact, in 2008, during the Nevada Democratic Caucus, Clinton won Clark County, yet President Obama managed to win by appealing to the rural areas in the state.
CNN’s major projection was that Clinton would win, a victory that would blunt the burn of her loss in New Hampshire. The projection proved to be correct, with a win for Clinton that culminated in an exhilarating victory party at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. The race was very tight, due to a lot of groundwork laid by both campaign teams.
Sanders had been courting Latino voters by blasting Donald Trump’s stance on immigration at the Clark County Democratic dinner, as well as during an MSNBC forum. PBS NewsHour reported that both Clinton and Sanders met with workers at Harrah’s before the caucus began, shaking hands and ingratiating themselves.
Various voters, who were interviewed by PBS, made similar statements, they liked Sanders, and agreed with what he was saying, but ultimately could not believe it would be feasible to implement his plans in the White House. Sanders has aspirations of eliminating college debt and tuition, stomping out the abject gap of wealth and income between the citizens of the United States, and creating a swathe of decent jobs so people can make a living wage. These ideas seem far-fetched, for many. Clinton won 74 percent of voters who said they wanted to continue President Obamas’ policies, with 23 percent of voters gunning for Sanders under that idea.
Women made up 56 percent of the electorate that voted for Clinton while 41 percent of women voted for Sanders, and only three percent of women were uncommitted. Sanders’ support stems from a largely Independent and far left voters. Clinton appeals to those she set out to garner in the first place, moderate Democrats, not as radical as Sanders’ supporters. This extremely close election resulted in an exhilarating win for Clinton at the Nevada Democratic Caucus.
NBC News 3 reported that the caucus went well, especially as an organized, energizing event for Democrats. It was noted that in 2008, in terms of gauging the turnout of voters, the caucus went terribly, with disappointing low numbers. Certain expected winners lost. 2016’s Nevada Democratic Caucus had a marked difference, with an exhilarating party atmosphere, as Clinton took to a Caesar’s Palace stage after thanking Nevada for her win on Twitter.
As close as the election was in Nevada, it was also reported, the union leaders remained neutral this year. This choice was in contrast to 2008 when they overwhelmingly voted for Obama. This reticence may account for how close the election ran, leaving Sanders lingering in second place with 47.8 percent rivaling Clinton’s final number of 52.1 percent. As a powerful and vital voice in Las Vegas, the union’s choice was anticipated. As of now, Clinton can sit comfortably in her victory at the Nevada Democratic Caucus, an exhilarating win that has centered her on the path to the White House.
Sanders’ supporters were in shock at the Henderson pavilion, a stark contrast from the party atmosphere at Caesar’s Palace. A number of them booed when CNN gave their initial projection of a Clinton victory at the Nevada Democratic Caucus. It was interesting to note that a number of Sanders’ supporters were young, first-time voters. Clinton’s were mixed, more of an older, slightly more middle stream, professional group. Whereas the Black Caucus came out in support of Sanders and his push against the stark amount of income inequality in the country. Clinton stuck to her narrative of women’s issues, which many voters latched onto.
Sanders later stated on Twitter that he wanted to thank the state of Nevada, expressing gratitude for those who came out to vote and gave him a boost, both for the caucus and for the days ahead. He had called to congratulate his opponent before addressing the crowd at the Henderson Pavilion. Sanders was proud of his campaign and his team, marveling about the progress that had been made. A little over a month ago, they were 25 points behind and the Nevada Democratic Caucus was extremely close.
By Juanita Lewis
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
CNN: Tight Democratic Race in Nevada
KTNV: Live updates from the Nevada Democratic Caucus
Twitter: Bernie Sanders Twitter page
PBS NewsHour: Hillary Clinton wins the Nevada Democratic caucuses
Image Courtesy of Center for Michael Bentley’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License