Sanders’s advantage in Nevada was overwhelming, with substantial leads in nearly every demographic group, allowing him to set down a marker in the first state with a significant share of nonwhite voters. Sanders expanded the electorate by attracting relatively large numbers of first-time caucus-goers, providing momentum as the race shifts into a critical stretch over the next 10 days.
He prevailed among those with college degrees and those without; those living in union and nonunion households; and in every age group except those over 65. He won more than half of Hispanic caucus-goers — almost four times as much support as his nearest rival, former vice president Joe Biden — and even narrowly prevailed among those who identified as moderate or conservative. Despite attacks on his health proposal by the powerful Culinary Union, he won in caucus sites filled with union members.
One state, of course, and using the blighted caucus system, but I cannot deny the magnitude of the victory. Even moderate Hispanic Dems voted for Sanders.
I reckoned with the rise of Sanders a few days ago, written hours before my preferred candidate Elizabeth Warren upset expectations with a vigorous debate performance. She remains my preferred candidate: I’ll take a smart woman who isn’t seventy-nine and a survivor of a heart condition. But her chances look grim. Should Sanders become the nominee, expect shrewder strategy for wary House and Senate members; he’s already started pitching toward moderates.
Finally, readers, prepare for the frenzied attempts by the Democratic establishment to isolate Sanders as a bacillus, foreign in every sense to political discourse. According to ProPublica, Sanders and Doug Jones of Albama, one of the most conservative members in the Senate Democratic caucus, agreed on fifty-nine percent of votes cast in the 115th Congress. The independence beloved by his most fervent cultists is largely what we’d call now a branding exercise. Barack Hussein Obama got shit too: a black Muslim and a secret Red who palled around with Saul Alinsky (remember him?). Get used to it, people, and fight.