You wouldn’t know it by watching CNN or MSNBC, but there is a competitive primary taking shape in the Democratic Party as Bernie Sanders is making big gains on Hillary Clinton in Nevada.
The Clinton campaign strategy views the combination of South Carolina and Nevada as a potential Bernie Sanders momentum buster. They have worked hard to build a good organization and learn from their mistakes of 2008, but the well funded Sanders campaign is making a real push to organize the state.
Politico reported on a few of the reasons why Sanders could be in a position to pull an upset:
There are several factors suggesting an opening for Sanders to mount a strong challenge to the Democratic front-runner — if he plays his ground game right.
The powerful Culinary Union that represents 60,000 members, multiple sources said, is expected to remain neutral and offer no endorsement until after the caucuses. In 2008, the union backed Obama about three weeks before the caucuses.
Same-day registration for Democrats here also means more nontraditional voters can participate in the process if Sanders campaign manages to turn them out on caucus day. To that effect, National Nurses United launched a “Bernie Bus” on Wednesday, making multiple stops in Las Vegas to rally supporters ahead of the Democratic dinner. The bus made stops in front of the Tropicana Las Vegas and the MGM Grand Conference Center to turn out Nevada registered nurses for Sanders.
As PoliticusUSA reported on December 23, 2015, the Sanders camp views Nevada as the state that could break open the Democratic race for them. Sanders senior adviser Tad Devine said, “Bernie intends to run a full-fledged national campaign beginning in Iowa and New Hampshire and extending into later states across the nation. The campaign’s movement into Nevada with statewide television advertising is a demonstration of Bernie’s potential and strength with voters and our belief that his story and message of American’s rigged economy held in place by a corrupt system of campaign finance will resonate powerfully across the nation.”
The endorsement of former Clinton supporter and Nevada DNC member Erin Bilbray was big for Sanders. At the time of her endorsement, Bilbray said, “I have spent my entire career working to engage women in the political process,” Bilbray said. “But at this point, the biggest threat to American democracy is the dark money from super PACs that are controlling our elections. Government cannot focus on all of the important issues that affect America’s working families when a handful of super wealthy donors, in both parties, have the ability to predetermine who will win the election. Senator Bernie Sanders has denounced all super PACs and will continue to fight for the future of the middle class. As a mother of two young daughters, their future is my priority, which is why I am endorsing Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.”
A win in Nevada would demonstrate that Sanders can win beyond his white progressive base of support. During well in Nevada would demolish the electability argument against Sen. Sanders.
If Clinton and Sanders split the first four states, Democrats could have a competitive primary on their hands. The media’s constant and unyielding obsession with Trump is hiding the fact the Democratic Party is holding an important and substantial primary. Democrats have two strong candidates who are challenging each other with different strategies and ideas.
CNN and MSNBC’s pro-Trump bias is doing a major disservice to the nation’s voters. It may take a Bernie Sanders upset in Nevada to get the media’s attention and break Trump’s stranglehold on the coverage.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association