I'm greatly encouraged by the Nevada caucuses so far for three reasons:
The first reason is the turnout. Though we don't yet know exactly how many people participated, it's being reported that some 75,000 people voted early in this year's Nevada caucuses, which is nearly the same number of people who voted in the same caucuses grand total in 2016! That suggests an enormous turnout (always a positive sign for the general election), and also shows the introduction of early voting in said caucuses this year to have been a tremendous success! The decision to allow early voting was one of the best ideas to be implemented, second only to using traditional reporting by phone call instead of an app like in the Iowa caucuses.
That last point brings me to my second reason for being encouraged: thanks to the use of reporting by phone calls instead of by app, the results are being released much faster than they were in the Iowa caucuses. (Although we can also see, in that connection, that by this metric as well, caucuses are inferior processes to straightforward primaries, as we had nearly all of the vote out of New Hampshire in by the analogous point there, not just half.) Let me go on record here as being in favor of low-tech elections. Phone calls and paper trails may not be the most sophisticated options, but they are the fastest and most reliable methods on offer, as applicable.
My third and final reason for being encouraged can be found in what the results indicate so far. While we don't know all the details yet, with 50% of Nevada's precincts reporting their results, so far the popular vote in the Nevada caucuses looks like this:
These numbers remain subject to the possibility of considerable change since we only have the results of half the precincts at this point. One thing, however, is clear: Bernie Sanders won the most votes, especially on the second ballot, and by a double-digit margin at that. According to the entrance polls, Sanders won the most votes among both men and (for the first time so far) women, among working class voters and union households (despite the advice of the bosses of the Culinary Workers Union), those with a college degree and those without, Latinas and Latinos (easily), voters under the age of 50 (not just under 30), and also among both those prioritizing issue alignment and those prioritizing electability in their candidate preference. Additionally, Sanders not only won the support of self-described progressive voters easily, but also achieved parity with his nearest rivals among self-described moderate voters as well. According to this same data, some 62% of voters in the Nevada caucuses support Medicare-for-all; higher than the 57% of Iowa caucus voters and the 58% of New Hampshire primary voters taking the same position. This marks the third consecutive state in which Sanders has won the most votes, and his widest margin of victory yet by far. Also, satisfyingly, he appears poised to reap a share of delegates disproportionate to his actual vote (so far, 46.6% of the delegate total), thus making up the difference from Pete Buttigieg's disproportionate delegate allocations in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and then some.
What all this suggests is that Bernie Sanders is succeeding in building a large coalition of supporters that reaches well beyond his traditional base. The rest of the campaigns are starting to look like a joke. I've never seen this strong a launch for any candidate who wasn't either a sitting president or vice president before in my life, especially in this crowded a field! At this rate, despite the remarkable stance of all his rivals favoring a brokered convention (something that has not happened since the disastrous Democratic convention of 1968), Sanders may even wind up with an outright majority of the delegates to the DNC. One has to remember, after all, that these first four contests before Super Tuesday account for just 4% of the delegates to be assigned. The momentum the Sanders campaign is building therein could well translate into full majorities beginning either on or immediately after Super Tuesday, and even possibly into Sanders winning the most votes in all 50 states. It's not an exaggeration at this point to say that those things are now real possibilities. These possibilities become especially apparent when one mentally combines the votes of the two progressive candidates in this race. The votes for Sanders and Warren combined in Nevada, for example, at least as of this count add up to a full majority, and one suspects that Warren will be pulling out of the race after probably losing in her home state of Massachusetts in nine days.
Mike Bloomberg had been emerging as the potentially the most serious challenger to Sanders before Wednesday's Democratic debate, but, to put it a certain way, according to Morning Consult polls taken before and after the debate, Bloomberg's favorability rating has gone from being 36 points above water before to 17 points above water after. Thus we can see that so far the impact of his...interesting...debate performance has been sharply negative for him (I know you're shocked), with his steepest drop-off in favorability being seen among moderate voters. He might not Get It Done after all. And the notion that Biden won by "exceeding expectations" last night seems like a joke when you look at the above numbers. Look at the margin between him and Sanders in what we know of the popular vote as yet.
Bottom line: people are showing up for these primaries and caucuses in large numbers, and right now the specific candidate they're showing up for is Bernie Sanders. If that doesn't speak to his electability, I don't know what could. If you're wondering why, I recommend checking out his victory speech from last night, which was what I'd consider among his strongest speeches so far. It's not essentially different from his normal, bullet point style of listing off his various positions on the issues, but he does so here in a particularly clear and efficient way that strikes one as both sincere and passionate. Most everything you'll hear therein are positions supported by the majority of Americans. The clarity, the sincerity, and frankly the agreeability that Bernie Sanders offers is unique in this field.
I also want to take a moment to criticize all of the other candidates for advocating a brokered Democratic convention. These candidates have all spent no shortage of time and energy voicing the danger that the current U.S. president represents to lower-case "D" democratic principles. Some of them have even advocated doing away with the Electoral College specifically on the grounds that it has repeatedly denied the winner of the popular vote the presidency (e.g. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton). It's flatly impossible to square their purported support for such principles with calls for the nomination of an unpopular candidate by a group of special electors (super delegates in this case). As much shows you their actual level of commitment to democratic principles: they are serious about such principles only when they stand to benefit and not otherwise. Apparently it takes a candidate from outside the Democratic Party to live up to the meaning of said party's name!
Last edited by Jaicee - on 23 February 2020