Nevada was the proving ground for the two remaining Democrats in the third test after Iowa and New Hampshire. It is also the second to last trial before the decisive Super Tuesday on March 1st. This leaves the important questions: Who won? Who lost? And what do these results mean?
The Winners: With only two candidates left and with a clear majority of the votes, Hillary Clinton is the only winner in the Nevada Caucus. This win came at a perfect time for her, after the huge loss in New Hampshire and virtual tie in Iowa. The timing is especially crucial as the next primary in South Carolina, as well as many of the states hosting a primary on Super Tuesday, are places where Clinton is favorite. Thus, going into those states with some momentum from the Nevada win will serve her well.
The Losers: On the other hand, there is the loser in Nevada, Bernie Sanders. After his impressive and decisive win in New Hampshire, this loss has let some air out of the balloon that is Sanders momentum. Furthermore, this happens at a very bad time for the former outsider, since the next weeks features primaries in states where his opponent, Clinton, is heavily favored in most of them.
What do these results mean? The result means that it is beginning to look hard for Sanders to win the nomination ahead of the favorite, Clinton. Sanders needed to further grow his momentum after his New Hampshire win and with the defeat in Nevada that did not happen. Clinton has two big factors going in her favor right now. The first is the schedule, the win in Nevada gives her some momentum before South Carolina on the 27th of February, where she is a heavy favorite and thus very likely to win. After South Carolina, Super Tuesday awaits with most states favoring Clinton. Even though there are primaries in late March where Sanders are the favorite, Clinton might have built up such strong momentum and gathered so many delegates that Sanders chances and momentum have vanished. Secondly, speaking of delegates, Clinton has received almost all of the super delegates (delegates from high standing Democratic Party members), which means that Sanders not only has to win more delegates through the states primaries, but he has to win a substantially more, to catch up to Clinton. Hence, the loss for Sanders in Nevada is a tough one and he needs to have a “super” Super Tuesday to still have an outside realistic chance of getting the Democratic nomination.
The Democratic race:
- Hillary Clinton 53%
- Bernie Sanders 47%
*Numbers taken from CNN’s estimates.
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(Photo credit: Wikimedia & Gage Skidmore)