- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sen. Bernard Sanders easily won the Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday, according to projections by the Associated Press.

The decisive win cemented Mr. Sanders’ frontrunner position and demonstrating that he had assembled a broad coalition of support behind his far-left agenda.

With 50% of caucus precincts reporting, Mr. Sanders had a seemingly insurmountable lead with 46.6% of the vote.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was poised for a second-place finish with 19.2%, his best showing yet in the race which steadied what had been a stumbling campaign, which came in fifth in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire.

“You all did it for me,” Mr. Biden told an enthusiastic crowd in Las Vegas. “Now we’re going on to South Carolina and win, and then we are going to take this back.”

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg kept alive his upstart bid to become the more-moderate alternative to Mr. Sanders with a third-place finish at 15.4%.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gained some much-needed traction for her sagging campaign with a fourth-place showing at 10.3%.

At the back of the pack were Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer with 4.5% and at 3.8%, respectively.

Ms. Klobuchar, who had exceeded expectations in New Hampshire, now faces the grim reality that she is fading.

Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg did not compete in Nevada and also is sitting out the next contest in South Carolina. But his self-funded campaign remains a formidable threat and will wade into the contest in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3.

Still, the overriding lesson of the Nevada caucuses was that Mr. Sanders, who describes himself as a Democratic socialist and advocates a political revolution in America, is expanding his base and marching toward the nomination.

The Silver State contest revealed Mr. Sanders’ enjoyed broad support and a strong following among key demographics, including Hispanic voters and union households, according to entrance polls.

He led among men, women, white and Hispanic voters, with every age group from 17 to 64, and among voters describing themselves as liberal, somewhat liberal and moderate or conservative.

The building momentum behind Mr. Sanders, coupled with the crowded field of candidates splitting the rest of the more-moderate vote, intensified the heartburn for a Democratic Party establishment fretting that an avowed socialist can’t beat President Trump in November.

Mr. Sanders placed second in the Iowa caucuses, losing by a whisker to Mr. Buttigieg, an openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

He won the New Hampshire primary, closely followed by Mr. Buttigieg.

The Nevada contest was the first test of the Democratic hopefuls support among large minority populations.

Among the Hispanic voters in Nevada, the entrance Mr. Sanders was the choice of 54% of that key constituency in the state.

Mr. Bien took 14% of the Hispanic vote, followed by Mr. Buttigieg at 9%, Ms. Warren at 7% and Ms. Klobuchar at 5%, according to the poll.

Mr. Biden led the field with black voters in the state, garnering 34% of their votes.

Mr. Biden, whose campaign has limped through the first few contests, has consistently led in support among black voters, which will be a boon when the race moves next to South Carolina.

The second-largest share of black voters in Nevada went to Mr. Sanders, 28%, followed by Ms. Warren at 12%.

Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Buttigieg trailed far behind with black voters at 3% and 2%, respectively.

Mr. Biden also led in support among voters over 65, which accounted for roughly 27% of the turnout. Mr. Sanders dominated every other age group.

Among households with union members, which was supposed to be a strength for Mr. Biden, the entrance polls showed Mr. Sanders with a big lead with that major force in Nevada politics.

Mr. Sanders was the pick of 36% of union households, trailed by Mr. Biden at 17%, Mr. Buttigieg at 15%, Ms. Warren at 11% and Ms. Klobuchar at 8%.

Mr. Sanders also dominated among non-union households with 35%, according to the entrance polls.

Mr. Sanders has been the choice of liberal voters since entering the race. Nevada voters showed his appeal to a broader electorate, edging out Mr. Biden for support among moderate or conservative Democratic voters.

Mr. Sanders got 24% of the vote from self-described moderates or conservatives, followed by Mr. Biden at 22%.

Mr. Buttigieg took 19% of the moderate vote, Ms. Klobuchar got 13% and Ms. Warren got 7%, according to the entrance polls.

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