Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders notched a decisive victory in Nevada’s presidential caucus on Saturday, cementing his frontrunner status and paving a clear road heading into South Carolina’s primary next week and Super Tuesday soon after.
The victory proved how the multi-generational, multi-racial coalition that Sanders has built could carry him to the Democratic presidential nomination, even as party establishment types fret privately and not-so-privately about what that would mean for the general election come November. During this campaign, Sanders has earned the nickname Tío Bernie, or Uncle Bernie, and his support among younger Latino voters was widely regarded as boosting his support among their parents and grandparents.
“The situation is heavy. It’s very hard for us Latinos,” said 72-year-old Margarita Lemus, a retired casino worker and native of Colombia who said in Spanish that she felt compelled to turn out for Sanders and move the country forward. “We have to unite, and I want them to treat us like we deserve.”
The victory also shows how far Sanders has come since launching a quixotic presidential bid four years ago and losing the state narrowly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Sanders, with 100 percent of precincts reporting as of 12:17 p.m. on Monday, won with 46.8 percent support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 20.2 percent, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 14.3 percent, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 9.7 percent, California billionaire Tom Steyer at 4.7 percent, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 4.2 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Sanders early Saturday evening.
If the wind was at Sanders’ back coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire, where he won the popular votes earlier this month, it now is even more so. And entrance polls reveal the broad coalition Sanders has built, with a NBC News entrance poll showing that 54 percent of Latinos supported the Vermont senator in Nevada’s Saturday contest.
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