International

Sanders wins Nevada caucuses; takes national Democratic lead

Las Vegas, Feb 23 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 2/23/2020 10:10:55 AM IST

Progressive firebrand Bernie Sanders claimed a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, solidifying his frontrunner status in the race to choose the Democratic nominee who faces President Donald Trump in November’s election.

Sanders was comfortably ahead with some 10 percent of the vote reported, and his win is a substantial accomplishment in a state seen as an important bellwether because it is the first diverse electorate to weigh in on the 2020 presidential race.
NBC News reported that the 78-year-old senator from Vermont was leading with 44.7 percent of the vote, followed by former vice president Joe Biden at 19.5 percent.
South Bend, Indiana’s former mayor Pete Buttigieg stood at 15.6 percent, while progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren was at 11.8 percent and Senator Amy Klobuchar well back at 4.3 per cent.
“We won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hampshire primary, and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” Sanders told a raucous rally, which responded with chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
“In Nevada we have just put together a multi-generational, multi-racial coalition, which is not only going to win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country.”
Sanders was speaking in El Paso, Texas, one of the 14 states that votes on “Super Tuesday” on March 3, when he hopes his progressive policies including universal health care and raising the minimum wage will strike a chord with millions of Americans.
Some of Sanders’s rivals, like the moderate Buttigieg, already congratulated him on his Nevada victory. But the 38-year-old military veteran offered a stern warning against picking a self-described democratic socialist who sees “capitalism as the root of all evil” going up against the populist Trump.
With Sanders coming in virtually tied for first in the debut contest in Iowa and then winning New Hampshire last week, he is in the driver’s seat against his seven rivals as the race turns toward South Carolina and then Super Tuesday.
With the race soon taking on a national dynamic, several candidates like Klobuchar, Warren or congressman Tulsi Gabbard will be under pressure to decide whether they stick it out past Nevada or South Carolina, or throw in the towel.
The centrist Biden, desperate to right a listing ship after miserable showings in the first two states, told supporters he feels “really good” about his Nevada finish and shouldn’t be counted out. “We’re alive and we’re coming back,” the onetime frontrunner insisted. “We’re going on to South Carolina to win and then we’re going to take this back!”
Sanders leads national polls with an average of 28 percent support. That is 11 points ahead of Biden and 13 points ahead of billionaire media tycoon Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York who skipped campaigning in the four early states in order to focus on Super Tuesday.

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