Nevada prepares for 'First in the West' Democratic caucus
LAS VEGAS -- They call Nevada the “First in the West” – the only state west of the Missouri River to play a determinative role in shaping who wins the Democratic nomination before the rush of Super Tuesday.
State leaders hail Nevada’s demographics as a microcosm of the U.S. electorate: Increasingly diverse as minority voters inch toward becoming the majority, with Latinos carrying the torch as the fastest growing bloc of the electorate.
Just a few short months ago, it would have come as complete shock to see how down to the wire Nevada’s Democratic caucus would be.
The major question question heading into Saturday’s race is whether Hillary Clinton’s “firewall” of support from blacks and Latinos will be able to hold against the insurgency of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, built from the ground up.
Clinton came to Nevada early and hard, setting up an expansive ground game statewide before Sanders had even formally entered the race.
Her roots in the Silver State must not be underestimated. She won the popular vote in 2008 – claiming key support from Latinos – only to be edged out by then-Sen. Barack Obama on the delegate count.
But riding off a virtual tie in Iowa and a win in New Hampshire by a more than 20-point spread, Sanders approaches Nevada with momentum at his back.
Days out from the Nevada caucus, polls showed Sanders whittling Clinton’s lead down to just a single percentage point.
On the eve of caucus day, Sanders stood with confidence before a rapturous crowd of fans and declared that 20, 30 years from now, they will look back and say this is when the revolution began.
“I have a feeling, folks, that we’re going to make history tomorrow,” Sanders said.