Is there a conspiracy between former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton to stop Bernie Sanders?
I’m beginning to smell a rat!
Here’s how it would work:
After Bloomberg’s disastrous debate performance on Wednesday, he has no realistic chance at winning the nomination by amassing primary victories. Nor does Joe Biden after his shellackings in Iowa and New Hampshire. But they do have a good shot of denying Sanders a first ballot majority if they both stay in the race and Bloomberg’s checks continue to flow. And, if Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar stay in the race, winning smaller vote shares, so much the better.
It is, after all, very hard for a candidate facing five opponents in a race decided through proportional representation to win a majority. Decades of coalition governments in Italy, for example, attest to the near impossibility of pulling off the trick.
The problem is that if the establishment succeeds in deadlocking the convention, it still lack a decent candidate. Numerically, Bloomberg and Biden have sustained such critical wounds that they can’t win the nomination. And, substantively, Biden has shown himself unable to hold front runner status while Bloomberg is not ready for television, let alone prime time. Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar lack the appeal to be a compromise candidate.
But the Democratic Party establishment is determined to stop Bernie Sanders and you can’t beat somebody with nobody.
Enter Hillary Clinton at the convention, the establishment’s last hope.
With proportional representation, its likely that even if Sanders wins all of the primaries on and after Super Tuesday, he will still only get about 40 percent of the delegates. Give Biden and Warren about 15 percent each and Klobuchar and Buttigieg about 15 percent between them and you have accounted for 85 percent of the delegates.
Do you think Michael Bloomberg would throw his support behind Hillary Clinton if she jumped into the race?
87% (13 Votes)
13% (2 Votes)
Here’s where Bloomberg comes in.
He can’t win any primaries, but, with a massive ad buy, there are enough uninformed voters to give him the remaining 15 percent. These might be folks who never see any of the debates and are just voting for the guy whose ads they see. Call them the “Wheel of Fortune” crowd.
So if Mini Mike stays in the race, along with Biden, Warren, Buttigieg and Klobuchar, it is very unlikely that Sanders can get to 50 percent.
After Bernie is stopped on the first ballot, party rules permit the super delegates to vote their personal preferences. (On the first ballot, they must vote in proportion to the votes of the primary voters in their home states.). Sanders won’t win many of them but Hillary could.
Then, one by one, the others drop out — seeing no path to victory — and Hillary emerges as the candidate.
Karl Marx wrote that history always repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce: Hillary’s first race was in 2008, repeated as “tragedy” in 2016 and perhaps as farce in 2020.
Democratic leaders are likely realistic about Hillary’s chances of victory, but will argue that she is likely to avoid the kind of wipeout they fear Sanders would face.
Impelling their panic is the likelihood of losing Congress with Sanders as their standard bearer. Not only would they probably lose the House, but the Republicans might even expand their Senate majority to close to 60 seats. The GOP would probably hold its marginal seats in North Carolina, Colorado, and Arizona while recapturing its Alabama seat. Whether its Sanders or Hillary on top of the ticket, that outcome is likely.
But, beyond that, they might score takeaways in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia and even Illinois.
This explanation probably accounts for Hillary’s silence during recent weeks, her virulent criticism of Bernie Sanders before that, Bill’s disappearance from the planet Earth, and the rumors of a VP slot back before Bloomberg imploded.
The establishment is just desperate enough to pull off such a coup against its own voters.
The unknown in this scenario is Elizabeth Warren. Having revived her candidacy by an outstanding prosecution of Bloomberg in Wednesday’s debate, she stands to pick up a good number of delegates — possibly enough to put Sanders over 50 percent.
Will she stick with her leftist base and give the nomination to Bernie or hold out and make a Hillary nomination possible?
If events do actually follow the pattern this column suggests, the results for the Democratic Party will be nothing short of catastrophic.
The loss of the 2020 elections will be the least of its problems. If the establishment seeks to deny Sanders the nomination after he wins almost all the primaries, the party will face an all-out civil war. The party of the left will permanently alienate the left and lose its very soul. God knows what the future of the party would be.
We can only hope, for the sake of our democracy, that it will be an example of what Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction.” But surely, it will destroy the Democratic Party.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times local):
Pete Buttigieg is trying to fundraise off the recent revelation that Russia may be trying to help the campaign of his rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
News broke Friday that intelligence officials briefed Sanders a month ago about the apparent Russian meddling effort. Sanders called on the Russians to stop, but also used the occasion to take a shot at The Washington Post, which first to report it. He suggested that the story could have been timed to hurt him in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.
Buttigieg’s campaign said in a fundraising email Saturday that Sanders’ response was “deeply troubling” but also “telling of the kind of politics we’re in for in Bernie’s vision of the future.”
The email went on to suggest Sanders would foment what it called “more conspiracy theories, more attacks undermining the free press when they write something you don’t like, more attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% of the time.”
Nevada Democrats have discovered an anomaly as they count up caucus votes at the site on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno: one of the precincts doesn’t have any voters.
Amy Travis, a Bernie Sanders supporter from a neighboring precinct, was given the task of filling in the “zeroes” next to all the candidates names in precinct 7321.
She thought it was strange that no one voted there either during early voting or at Saturday’s caucus. So she got out her phone and found a map of the precinct to find it consists entirely of a 600-acre county park just west of the UNR campus.
Austin Daly, the site leader at the UNR campus, says he thinks there used to be two houses in the precinct along the edge of San Rafael Park. But he says they might be vacant now or at least aren’t occupied by residents who wanted to cast a ballot in the Democratic caucus.
Daly says the precinct’s lone delegate to the county convention will be recorded as “uncommitted.” Once they get to the county convention, a delegate will be elected to that uncommitted slot.
Bernie Sanders has moved on to Texas, where he addressed about 1,500 supporters in El Paso as the results came in from the Nevada caucuses. Early voting is already underway in Texas, one of the Super Tuesday states holding contests March 3.
Before his El Paso campaign event, Sanders visited a memorial for the victims of the Aug. 3 shooting that left 22 dead and about two dozen injured. That’s according to a local politician who addressed the crowd before Sanders took the stage. Another 2020 contender, Mike Bloomberg, also said he visited the memorial before his rally this month.
A national co-chair of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign says the Massachusetts senator’s finishes in some of the first voting contests are not reasons to count her out. Rep. Ayanna Pressley told The Associated Press on Saturday that Warren’s strengths have long been underestimated and that she’s unconcerned about prior finishes or poll numbers.
Warren finished third in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire. As voters caucused Saturday in Nevada, Pressley said she believed Warren would surprise voters in the states that follow, like South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states.
Pressley is spending several days campaigning for Warren in South Carolina before its primary in a week.
Votes are being cast in the Nevada presidential caucuses. It’s the first presidential contest in the West and the first to test the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates with black and Latino voters. Altogether, 200 locations are hosting caucuses. Among them are seven casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is a Democrat who’s not endorsing a candidate. He says the state “represents an opportunity for these candidates to demonstrate their appeal to a larger swath of our country.” All eyes are on the process after the lead-off Iowa caucuses yielded a muddy result marked by error.
What happens at a Nevada caucus site if two candidates end up in a tie? According to one precinct leader, it comes down to the luck of the draw.
Several hundred voters and about a dozen observers were crowded into a site on the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno when things got underway. The temporary precinct captain, Becky Cohen, explained the process and said everything will be transparent, with results at each stage written on poster boards stuck to the walls.
She closed by holding up a deck of cards and saying, “If there’s a tie, God forbid, this is what we do. It’s Nevada.”
Several of the Democratic presidential candidates are out among the voters as the Nevada caucuses get underway. Pete Buttigieg greeted supporters at a Las Vegas caucus site shortly before the start. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor shook hands and exchanged small talk with those gathered at a south side high school.
Buttigieg nodded to Nevada’s diversity compared with the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire that have already held contests. He says Nevada offers him a chance to prove he has a broad base of support. Buttigieg has been dogged by low polling numbers with minorities, particularly black voters.
Elizabeth Warren swung by a suburban Nevada caucus site to pose for pictures with supporters and offer doughnuts to volunteers. She ducked inside for a moment and called out to voters still waiting in line to caucus. She said: “Thank you for participating in democracy.”
At Rancho High School, a 38-year-old Las Vegas resident, community organizer and political activist was changing her voter registration from independent so that she could caucus.
Lashonda Marve-Austin said: “I’m black, so I don’t want a candidate that just wants to do the right thing for black people. I want them to do the right thing for all the people. She added: “And then I’m poor, so I don’t want them to just do the right thing for poor people, I want them to do what’s right for people overall.”
The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is expressing confidence that the Nevada caucuses will go smoothly and won’t repeat the problems that muddied the results in Iowa. The hours ahead will show whether he’s correct.
Tom Perez spoke to reporters Saturday at a caucus site at the Bellagio hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip. He says the goal in Saturday’s caucuses is to release the results as soon as possible but “first and foremost, to get it right.”
Perez says the popularity of early voting made processing those votes difficult but party officials have worked overtime to accomplish the task.
Nearly 75,000 people participated in a four-day early voting period that ended on Tuesday. Their choices will be added to results of Saturday’s in-person caucusing. Perez says the party has trained more than 3,000 people to carry out the caucuses, with training going on as recently as Friday.
Before the sun started peeking out behind the clouds in late morning, Elizabeth Warren volunteers were shielding Nevada caucus goers for the rain with umbrellas as they entered a caucus location at a high school on the east side of Las Vegas.
Turnout appeared to be light and there was no line at the registration tables an hour before caucuses were supposed to start.
In one room with about a dozen caucus-goers standing around chatting, about half the attendees were wearing Pete Buttigieg buttons.
One Buttigieg supporter, 54-year-old Sue Thornton, said she worried the poor weather in the morning and the early vote may have cut into caucus-day turnout. She said in 2016, lines were out the door when she showed up to caucus.
Thornton works in food and beverage management at a hotel-casino. She said she was interested in Buttigieg from the start and his performance in the campaign sealed her support. She says: “I am a sucker for a nerd and a geek, and he fits the bill. … Stays calm and collected. Speaks seven languages, for goodness’ sake.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says her presidential campaign has raised $14 million in the past 10 days.
In a tweet, the Democratic hopeful says the haul is double what the campaign had hoped to raise between the New Hampshire primary and Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. It’s unclear how much came in since Wednesday night, when Warren savaged New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas.
Warren’s disappointing fourth place finish in her neighboring state of New Hampshire was considered potentially fatal to her campaign. But her supporters believe she can build on her strong debate performance and find a path to victory. The money will help.
Nevada Democrats say they added 10,000 people to their rolls during four days of early caucus voting this week.
The state party announced Saturday, hours before presidential caucuses were set to begin, that more than one out of 10 early voters took advantage of same-day registration and became Democratic voters.
Nevada’s caucuses are open only to Democrats but people can register as Democrats or switch their affiliation as they show up to vote.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in Nevada and had about 610,000 active registered voters through the end of January.
The political focus Saturday is on the 200 locations across Nevada that are hosting presidential caucuses.
It’s the third contest on the 2020 election calendar as Democrats try to determine which candidate will take on President Donald Trump in November.
Nevada will test the candidates’ strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020, after contests in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire.
Questions linger about Nevada Democrats’ ability to report election results quickly as new concerns surface about foreign interference in the U.S. election. Saturday’s caucuses are the first since technical glitches and human errors plagued Iowa’s kickoff caucuses. Nevada Democrats have projected confidence in their process but it’s not certain full results will be released on the day of the vote.
The state party added to its responsibilities by offering early voting — something Iowa didn’t attempt.
President Donald Trump is mocking a recent intelligence briefing given to the House intelligence committee about Moscow’s interference in the 2020 race. He’s claiming that House Democrats are saying Russia wants Bernie Sanders to win.
Democratic presidential candidate Sanders said Friday that U.S. officials told him about a month ago that Russia has been trying to help his campaign, just as Russia did on Trump’s behalf in 2016.
There actually are conflicting accounts about what the briefers told the House intelligence committee about Russia’s intentions. One intelligence official said members were not told in the briefing that Russia was working to aid Trump directly. But advancing Sanders’ candidacy could be seen as beneficial to Trump’s reelection prospects.
Trump tweeted sarcastically that Nevada Democrats, voting in Saturday’s caucuses, need to be careful of “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
A busload of volunteers for Pete Buttigieg is on its way to South Carolina from Indiana to knock on doors for him in the campaign for the Democratic presidential primary a week away.
His campaign says 18 volunteers are coming from South Bend and Gary to spread the word on the former South Bend mayor. They’ll also attend Sunday church services before heading back. Buttigieg and other contenders are in Nevada for that state’s caucuses Saturday.
The candidates are expected to spend much of the coming week campaigning in South Carolina for the last of the four early-voting contests. Their debate in Charleston on Tuesday will be the final one before that primary and the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
As Pete Buttigieg’s campaign watches the results come in, it believes it has an opportunity to amass a sizable number of county delegates in rural counties where populations are smaller, according to a Buttigieg aide.
The campaign has 1,300 precinct captains across the state and it believes their presence, particularly in the rural counties, will help during realignment, the aide said. They believe if Buttigieg is viable in a specific precinct, having volunteers on site who know their communities, their neighbors and the realignment process is a real advantage to attract voters from other candidates who weren’t viable.
Their organizing strategy is focused on maximizing delegates, the aide added. This is a similar strategy the Buttigieg campaign had in Iowa — which it believes aided Buttigieg’s narrow victory even though Bernie Sanders won the popular vote.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending money at breakneck speed as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.
The billionaire spent $220 million in January, the same dollar amount he spent from November, when Bloomberg announced his campaign, through December, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.
Bloomberg has, so far, spent well over $400 million on political ads, beating out fellow billionaire Tom Steyer by more than double the amount, and the next closest candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, by a factor of 10.
Bloomberg skipped the first voting contests in Iowa and New Hampshire but surged to third place in national polls for the Democratic presidential primary, according to aRealClearPolitics average.
Registered Democratic voters in Nevada poured into various sites on Saturday amid the first in the west caucuses — the first diverse electorate to weigh in on the 2020 presidential race.
After a fiery Las Vegas debate last week, during which candidates’ attacks on each other made clear a splintering Democratic field, results out of the Silver State will have the possibility to maintain momentum for the front-runners or save campaigns that emerged from Iowa and New Hampshire with lackluster results.
Among the four early states, South Carolina is the only one left between the campaigns and Super Tuesday, and momentum out of Nevada has the potential to reignite a campaign or cement a candidate’s standing outside of the top tier.
Follow along, as the ABC News team keeps a close watch of what happens in Nevada.
All times are eastern.
Here’s how the day is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.
5:25 p.m.: With 4% of precincts reporting, Sanders leads
Sanders leads in first and final alignments, with 4% of precincts reporting. Both Sanders and Biden picked up votes in the final alignment.
The vote is starting to come in from the state’s two biggest counties — Clark and Washoe — as well as Douglas County and Lyon County, which are both more rural parts of the state on the western border, just south of Reno and Carson City and west of Reno, respectively.
5:15 p.m. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar left Nevada to cast early vote in home state
According to a campaign spokesperson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar left Las Vegas shortly after speaking to staff and volunteers at a “get out the caucus” kickoff event this morning.
She flew home to Minneapolis to cast her vote early, the spokesperson told ABC News.
Minnesota is a Super Tuesday state.
ABC News’ Lissette Rodriguez reported.
4:50 p.m. Still no votes in from Nevada precincts
While caucuses began about an hour and 45 minutes ago, no votes have come in yet out of Nevada, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein reported.
Though Sanders’ supporters have dominated the room in several caucus sites where ABC News was present, he noted. In one site, Sanders was the only viable candidate.
Reminder: Candidates need to get at least 15% in an individual caucus to walk away with anything, and at least 15% statewide or in a congressional district to get delegates out of the Nevada caucuses.
ABC News’ Rick Klein and Alex Stone reported.
4:15 p.m.: Entrance polls show less participation from racial and ethnic minorities
Based on ABC analysis of preliminary entrance polls, there has been a decline in the participation of racial and ethnic minorities.
Nonwhites accounted for 35% of caucusgoers, compared with 41% in 2016.
Hispanic caucusgoers joined young and very liberal Nevadans in backing Bernie Sanders in the state’s Democratic caucuses, and he won broad support among those focused on two of his signature issues: health care and income inequality.
Sanders’ 28% support from blacks improved on his 22% versus Clinton in 2016. Blacks, by contrast, were Joe Biden’s single best group in Nevada. Yet Biden fell back among other voters.
Bernie Sanders’ 28 percent support from blacks in Nevada improved on his 22 percent vs. Clinton in 2016, per preliminary entrance poll results. Blacks, by contrast, were Joe Biden’s single best group in Nevada, but Biden fell back among other voters. https://t.co/devd2822c1pic.twitter.com/crURzjtu1p
As in the two previous states, caucusgoers far and away cited health care as their top issue — 43% placed it first among four issues tested — and Sanders won 39% support in this group. He won an even larger share, 51%, among the majority who said they support a government-run, single-payer health system.
Another issue was less successful for Sanders: His support lagged among the majority of caucusgoers (64%) who said they care more about defeating Donald Trump than supporting the candidate who agrees with them on major issues.
ABC News’ polling director Gary Langer contributed.
3:27 p.m. Buttigieg says to supporters in Las Vegas: “We think we’re gonna have a great day here.”
Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg stopped in at a Las Vegas caucus site this afternoon, remaining optimistic about a strong finish in Nevada.
“Our goal is a strong finish and a lot of people supporting us,” he said. “I think the percentage that we need to hit is the kind of thing that the pundits will work out. And our focus is making sure we have a very strong support.”
He focused his attacks on Sen. Bernie Sanders and the potential that he will break away with a large delegate lead.
“You know, this is critical. I mean, we could wake up in 10 days with Senator Sanders with a prohibitive lead, or we could wake up on the road to a unified party, and obviously, that’s our focus,” he said.
ABC News’ Justin Gomez contributed.
3:20 p.m. Lack of volunteers could present problems
The caucuses might only be just getting underway, but a lack of volunteers at various caucus sites, according to a Democratic presidential campaign in Nevada, could potentially muddle the party’s efforts to run a smooth process.
One observer at a Las Vegas area site believes that the site only has enough volunteers because early voting helped alleviate some of the turnout on caucus day.
“I am at a site that houses multiple precincts and lines are mostly short due to early voting. Lots of candidates and campaign volunteers. Only enough NV Dems because of small turnout,” said Seth Morrison, a former site lead who is only observing a caucus in Las Vegas today after quitting his role over the state party’s nondisclosure agreements.
CBS News first reported that the campaigns were informed by party leaders about a “deficit of volunteers.”
Prior to caucus day, the Nevada Democratic Party touted that they “have over 3,000 volunteers, including over 300 site leads who are actively receiving robust training for early vote and Caucus Day.”
The state party today continues to assure that they have “thousands of volunteers,” before adding that it is “common” for campaign volunteers to help run precincts.
“We have been recruiting and training volunteers all the way through this morning to ensure we have the capacity we need and we are confident in having the necessary volunteer numbers to cover caucus sites today. We have thousands of volunteers working hard across the state today and this is not occurring at the vast majority of sites and precincts,” said Molly Forgey, communications director for the Nevada Democratic Party. “It’s common and not unusual for campaign volunteers to help with running precincts on Caucus Day — this happened in 2016 and in 2008.”
One Nevada Democratic Party official also told ABC News that the party has “the coverage that we planned for.” According to the party, there is an average of eight volunteers per caucus site so roughly more than 2,000 volunteers across the state.”
“As of half an hour ago, more than 1,000 volunteers had already logged in to use the caucus calculator,” the official added.
In the days leading up to caucus day, some of the precinct chairs ABC News spoke with said that beyond the angst over the technology, a shortage of trained volunteers was a top concern.
ABC News’ John Verhovek, Kendall Karson and Meg Cunningham reported.
2:45 p.m. A more diverse electorate turns out
Based on ABC News analysis of preliminary results from the Nevada Democratic caucus entrance polls, a more diverse and more liberal electorate than in Iowa or New Hampshire is participating in the Nevada Democratic caucuses, albeit with a shared priority — defeating President Donald Trump in November.
Whites account for 65% of caucus-goers in preliminary ABC News entrance poll results, compared with about 90% in Iowa and New Hampshire. Hispanics make up 18% of Nevada participants; blacks, 10%.
It can matter in vote preferences: Bernie Sanders won 53% of Hispanics and 49% of whites in a two-way contest with Hillary Clinton in Nevada in 2016, but just 22% of blacks, a core Democratic group in which he consistently fell short that year.
Even if Nevada is more diverse than the earlier states, today’s preliminary results mark a decline in the participation of racial and ethnic minorities in these caucuses — nonwhites total 35% of caucusgoers, compared with 41% in 2016. That may change as additional results come in.
Among other groups, independents account for 19% of caucus-goers in these early results. They were a key group for Sanders in 2016, when he won 71% of Nevada independents, compared with 40% of Democrats — another pattern than persisted in subsequent primaries that year.
Age and ideological groups also may be key. Sanders won a thumping 82% of caucus-goers under age 30 in 2016, and 62% of those 30-44, while his support from seniors plummeted to 24%. He was especially strong with young voters in Iowa and New Hampshire this year, as well.
Sanders also owes his Iowa and New Hampshire results this month disproportionately to voters who identified themselves as very liberal. They accounted for a quarter of the electorate in Iowa, a fifth in New Hampshire — and they make up 30% of Nevada caucus-goers in these preliminary entrance poll results. That compares with 33% in Nevada in 2016.
Labor may be another group to watch; 24% of caucus-goers are from union households, compared with 16% of New Hampshire primary voters on Feb. 11. Union households accounted for 28% of Nevada caucus-goers in 2016.
Whatever the differences with the previous states, there’s alignment on goals and issues. Sixty-four percent in preliminary Nevada entrance poll results say they care more about supporting the candidate who can defeat Trump than one who agrees with them on major issues. That’s similar to the results in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Also, 62% in Nevada support a government-run, single-payer health care system, again similar to Iowa and New Hampshire results, with a majority for one of Bernie Sanders’ signature issues (along with Elizabeth Warren). And, also like the previous contests, 43% call health care the top issue in their vote, out of four that were tested.
Nevada caucusgoers made up their minds comparatively early; just 15% say they finally chose their candidate today or in the last few days, compared with 36 percent in Iowa and 51 percent in New Hampshire.
The Nevada entrance poll measure caucus-goers’ initial preferences; final results can differ, since those whose candidate falls short of 15% get a second choice.
The entrance poll includes a sample of early-caucus participants.
ABC News considers preliminary exit poll results on the proportion of early participants to be unreliable; that estimate awaits additional data.
The botched vote count in the Iowa Democratic caucuses seems not to have fazed most Nevada caucus-goers: Eighty-two percent say they expect the votes to be counted correctly.
ABC News’ pollster Gary Langer contributed
2:17 p.m. DNC chair confident in Nevada precinct captains
In a quick gaggle at the Bellagio Hotel caucus site in Las Vegas , Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez told reporters that precinct chairs have received adequate training that continued as late as Friday.
Perez downplayed how approximately 1,000 voter preference cards cast during the early-voting stage this week were nullified because they lacked a signature. He also said he thought the voters had been reminded that “no election is perfect.”
He said the party needed to have a real conversation about caucuses after the debacle in Iowa but that the party, from his perspective, can’t just mandate they go away.
ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks reports
2 p.m. Nevada caucus by-the-numbers
Amid the second caucuses of the primary season, and the first nominating contest in the west, eight Democratic contenders are vying for 36 delegates.
The candidates on the ballot are former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, businessman Tom Steyer and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Only Democratic caucuses are held today, after the Nevada GOP voted last year to forgo a 2020 presidential caucus as part of a broad effort by the Republican National Committee to give “undivided support” to the president.
Caucusgoers will head to their designated precincts to declare their pick for president beginning at noon.
By the close of the early voting period, 2020’s turnout in the Silver State had already reached nearly 90% of 2016’s total caucus turnout of roughly 84,000.
On top of that, those votes already had been cast by the time the candidates took the debate stage in Las Vegas last Wednesday.
Diverse voters will finally weigh in
Nevada is the first diverse state to weigh in on choosing a nominee. Sanders has enjoyed fairly strong support from communities of color, although former Vice President Joe Biden is typically seen as the front-runner when it comes to such support across the nation.
A January Washington Post-Ipsos poll, showed that although Biden leads his rivals by more than 2 to 1 overall among black Americans, he trails Sen. Bernie Sanders 42% to 30% among black Democrats ages 18 to 34.
Biden’s support among black voters has also declined, dropping from 51% last month to 32% now, according to the ABC News-Washington Post poll released on Feb. 19. A poll released this week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows Biden and Sanders with roughly equal support among African American voters.
According to U.S. Census data, 29% of Nevada’s population is Hispanic or Latino, and 10% is black or African American.
In addition to those diverse voters, 14% of the state’s workforce is unionized, teeing up what could be an interesting showdown among those who’ve been courting the union vote.
That faction of the party has come into question in recent weeks as Sanders has undergone a rocky back-and-forth with the powerful Las Vegas-area Culinary Workers Union, which distributed fliers to its members criticizing Medicare for All, after they spent years picketing for the private insurance that protects the union’s 60,000 members.
Biden got a boost on Thursday, netting an endorsement from Latino Victory Fund, his first from a national Latino organization. He’s spent his time on the trail touting his diverse support and arguing that without that backing, it would be impossible to beat Trump.
“I’ve been saying from the beginning, I think the most critical thing that has to happen is we have to elect someone in fact who can run in the purple states, win Pennsylvania, win in Florida, in places we haven’t won before,” Biden said Monday.
Electability remains the focus of the Democratic field, despite Sanders’ front-runner status
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has two more delegates than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but Sanders is considered the front-runner after a strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, and polls that put him safely ahead of Democratic rivals.
Buttigieg took the stage on the offense, going after Sanders for “polarizing” the country.
“We have a responsibility to energize and unify,” Buttigieg said in Las Vegas after the debate. “For Sen. Sanders to say it’s not enough unless you go further — if you’re not for that revolution, you must be for the status quo — that’s a picture most Americans don’t see where we fit.”
Within the feud of moderates versus progressives, the candidates have honed their pitches on who can beat President Donald Trump in November. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took a veiled dig at Sanders during the debate, arguing that voters are worried about gambling on a revolution.
“Democrats want to beat Donald Trump. But they are worried. They are worried about gambling on a narrow vision that doesn’t address the fears of millions of Americans across this country who see real problems and want real change. They are worried about gambling on a revolution that won’t bring along a majority of this country,” Warren said.
She went after her other competitors, as well, attempting to prove to voters that she could take on Trump on the debate stage.
“Amy, I looked online at your plan, its two paragraphs. Families are suffering. And they need a plan,” Warren said, criticizing Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s health care plan.
Her campaign touted her post-performance fundraising numbers, saying she’d raised $5 million in less than 24 hours after the debate.
She has continued to play the long game on the trail after lackluster performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, calling on the fact that 98% of the delegates needed to nab the nomination this summer have yet to be allocated. Despite that, she’ll need a strong showing in Nevada to prove that her campaign belongs in the top tier.
His late entrance into the race, however, means every decision he makes is exponentially more consequential as the clock counts down to November 3. His strategy so far has been to spend — and spend some more — blanketing the media landscape with the message that he’s the best candidate to take on Trump.
In any political campaign, candidates need to know what they stand for, and who — or what — they’re up against. At this stage in the game for Bloomberg, that enemy is not Trump. It’s Sen. Bernie Sanders and the election calendar.
If Bloomberg wants to make it past the Democratic National Convention in July, his strategy needs to change –quickly. His first objective is to nab the nomination, and to do that, he needs to direct his resources to take down Sanders before he even has a chance at Trump.
As it stands, Sanders has a chance to run the table as the rest of the field fights each other for the honor of coming in second. Sanders has emerged as the Democratic front-runner, and his support stands at 25% among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll.
But that’s not enough to win the general election. I don’t believe the country is prepared to support a Democratic socialist, and I agree with the theory that Sanders would lose in a matchup against Trump. In a general election battle between two divisive figures who both preach the politics of grievance, I believe Trump will win the battle to the bottom and remain the last man standing.
Given that the primary calendar dictates that 60% of delegates will be determined by St. Patrick’s Day, the primary race could be effectively over in less than a month. Of all the other Democratic candidates, Bloomberg may be the only one who can stop the Sanders freight train and still have a shot at winning the White House.
But let’s not forget — Bloomberg is already skipping the first four voting states in favor of concentrating on Super Tuesday. With his disastrous performance in the Las Vegas debate, it appears he won’t be building any organic momentum in this race. He has to buy it.
If Bloomberg has any chance of winning the nomination, he has to redirect his resources during the primary and run ads against Sanders — not Trump.
Bloomberg needs to use the next $400 million in ad spending to attack Sanders on his potential weaknesses in a general election and highlight how far left his campaign is. Hitting him on his past record on guns is a must.
Bloomberg also needs to drive home the fact that very little of what Sanders has proposed has any chance of being implemented without serious challenges and major compromises, as even, for example, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted on Medicare for All.
Sanders’ praise of Soviet-backed regimes is ripe for political attack ads — and if Bloomberg doesn’t take advantage of this, Trump certainly will in the fall. Finally, Sanders’ legislative record of achievements is lacking, and the difficulty he faces in garnering support among both Democratic or Republican lawmakers can be highlighted.
Bloomberg has a narrow window of time to shift his strategy. As Tim Miller, who served as Jeb Bush’s communications director in 2016 wrote in The Bulwark, a big lesson from 2016 is “attack the freaking front-runner for God’s sake … If Mike’s goal is to actually beat Bernie — and not just finish Super Tuesday with a gentleman’s 18 percent and embark on a long, losing slog in the hopes something crazy happens — then his paid media needs to shift to targeting Bernie immediately. Let me emphasize this: Immediately, today, five minutes ago, the fork NOW.”
Taking on the front-runner is risky business. By launching an all-out attack, Bloomberg is likely to hurt Sanders. But this plan could also backfire. It may be that Bloomberg succeeds in derailing Sanders — and damages his own campaign in the process, clearing the way for Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar if they manage to stay above the fray.
But what’s the alternative for Bloomberg? Continuing to focus only on Trump does nothing to stop the Sanders campaign, nor does it do anything to sort out the rest of the field until after Super Tuesday. By then, it’ll be too late. If Bloomberg entered the race to become President and to stop Trump, he has no choice now but to try to stop Sanders.
Doing so without taking himself down is the strategic test for Mike Bloomberg. Either way, he has to face it now instead of waiting until Super Tuesday. Winning the White House ultimately means beating Donald Trump.
But to get to Trump, and to deny him a second term, Bloomberg will have to defeat Sanders first, even if that might mean ruining his own chances at the nomination.
Philip Haney spoke out against the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of the US government back in October. Haney was also an outspoken critic of CAIR (the Council for American-Islamic Relations).
Philip Haney: CAIR is the acronym for the Council on American Islamic Relations. It’s probably the best known Muslim organization in the country, but unfortunately, it’s also connected, irrefutably proven to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, the Muslim Brotherhood has been already designated in several countries around the world, including Middle Eastern countries, and they should know as a terrorist organization, as a front group up to and including Hamas, which we know as a designated terrorist group itself. Now, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 as an Islamic revival organization, and its goal is to implement a caliphate, a Sharia-based form of government around the whole world. They’re not shy about saying so, and we’re not immune to it, which brings us to where we are today. We’ve been continuing to track this group and other ones that are part of the Muslim Brotherhood. And I have to say with great distress that if anything, they’re more woven into the fabric of different branches of our government today, 2019 October than they were when I was still active duty within DHS. And yeah, that does seem like a bold statement. It seems like it ought to be impossible, but I think that’s what we’re going to go over today.
Barry Nussbaum: So I get it. And let’s talk specifics. So why in the world Phil with the FBI, the premier law enforcement agency in the world, and certainly our number one national police force whose mission it is to protect us internally within the boundaries of the United States what the heck is the FBI doing in bed with CAIR?
Philip Haney: Well, first of all, let’s make sure to make the point that they are. This isn’t something that started years ago and was taken care of. I’m talking just in the last week or two. CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood front groups have been meeting by invitation from the Department of Homeland Security and/or branches within the U.S. State Department to help implement and develop policy here in the United States. And before I forget it, I should mention that the new focus of the Department of Homeland Security has just released in their new twenty nineteen strategic documents, about 20 to 40 pages, is a focus on white supremacy, not so much Islamic terrorism. Now a new shift into a new arena, white supremacy. And that brings us to the relationship with CAIR. They have now asked groups like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations all part of the Muslim Brotherhood to come and help them implement this new policy of focus on white supremacy.
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Bernie Sanders faces a test of his front-runner status in the Democratic White House race on Saturday in Nevada, where voters will consider an unsettled field of candidates as they search for a challenger to take on President Donald Trump.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
The Nevada caucuses come a day after the news broke that Sanders had been briefed by U.S. officials that Russia was trying to help his campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic nominating contest.
Trump tweeted on Saturday that he expected to win in Nevada in the general election in November, and alluded to the reports that a Russian disinformation effort was supporting Sanders.
A self-identified democratic socialist senator from Vermont, Sanders, has surged to the top of opinion polls nationally and in Nevada after strong performances in the first two nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.
“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters on Friday in California.
After days of delay and mistrust caused by a technical meltdown during the Iowa caucuses, Nevada Democratic Party officials said in a memo to campaigns on Friday that a telephone hotline many volunteers “were already familiar with” would be the main method of reporting precinct caucus results, not digital tools.
The party understood “just how important it is that we get this right and protect the integrity of Nevadans’ votes,” it said.
While Sanders’ rivals will try to blunt his momentum in the caucuses, they each face significant challenges of their own.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren are looking to jump-start struggling campaigns after poor finishes in the first two states, while former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar are hoping to prove they can appeal to Nevada’s more diverse electorate.
On Friday evening, Sanders spoke to about 2,000 people in Las Vegas, revving up the crowd with vows to take on “the corporate elite” and the “whole damn 1%”.
He said both the Republican and Democratic establishment were getting nervous wondering how they could stop his campaign, to which supporters cried: “You can’t!”
Voters will turn up at more than 250 sites around Nevada to take part in the caucuses, and officials say they have taken steps to avoid the chaos that a malfunctioning app caused in Iowa by switching to a system with multiple backups using paper, phones and iPads.
Four days of early voting in Nevada this week drew more than 75,000 Democrats, more than half first-time voters, putting the party in position to surpass the turnout record of 118,000 in 2008, when Barack Obama’s candidacy electrified the party.
At a Democratic debate in Nevada on Wednesday, candidates launched scathing attacks on Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, who has been rising in the polls on the back of a self-funded advertising blitz but is not competing in Nevada.
The next primary will be Feb. 29 in South Carolina, followed by the Super Tuesday contests in 14 states on March 3 that pick more than one-third of the pledged delegates who will help select a Democratic nominee.
Trump, who narrowly lost Nevada to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, visited Las Vegas on Friday and predicted another round of Iowa-style chaos for the Democrats at the caucuses.
“With your help this November we’re going to defeat the radical socialist Democrats and we are going to win Nevada in a big, beautiful landslide,” he said.
Nevada is the first nominating state with a diverse population after contests in predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire. More than four of every 10 voters in the Nevada Democratic caucuses in 2016 were non-white, according to entrance polls.
Sanders has led national polls among Hispanics, who represented about one-fifth of the Democratic electorate in the 2016 Nevada caucus. He has led the last five opinion polls in the state.
Warren held an evening event in Las Vegas on Friday, but before a smaller crowd than Sanders.
Sanders lost Nevada to Clinton by five percentage points during his first presidential bid in 2016, but this time he faces a far more splintered field that includes three centrist candidates – Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar – all vying to win votes of the party’s moderate wing.
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Buttigieg and Klobuchar lag in support among non-white voters, who are a core part of the Democratic electorate and typically a significant factor in primary battles.
Buttigieg’s campaigning on Friday included meetings with Native American tribal leaders to discuss protections for public lands and the environment.
Biden is counting on a robust showing next week in South Carolina, where he has enjoyed strong support among the state’s sizable bloc of African-Americans, although Sanders has pulled even with him among black voters in some recent polls.
Writing by John Whitesides and Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Tim Reid and Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Alistair Bell
LAS VEGAS — Bernie Sanders seemed to be enjoying himself as he made his final pitch in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucuses.
“As you may have noticed lately, the establishment is getting a little bit nervous,” he said to cheers at his Friday night rally before mimicking the hand-wringing Democrats panicking over his rise.
“‘Oh my god, they’re putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of millions of millions of people! Oh my goodness, how can we stop them?’” he continued as his thousands-strong crowd laughed. “They’re getting nervous. But you know what? When we stand up together, they ain’t going to stop us.”
Sanders appears to be cruising to an easy win in Nevada’s Saturday caucuses, buoyed by a fractured field of middling candidates struggling to break out against him.
He’s had a comfortable lead in most recent polls. He’s drawing the largest crowds — the official crowd count from the venue staff Friday night was, no joke, 2,020 attendees, not his biggest crowd this week but a number one Sanders supporter called an “omen” as he left the event.
He showed so much confidence in his standing in the state that broke away to campaign in Washington and California in the week ahead of the caucuses.
Rival campaigns admit that everyone else is left fighting it out for second place, not a good position for them to be in when all of them need a strong performance to build the momentum needed to compete on Super Tuesday ten days from now.
“All signs point to a Bernie victory,” said Jon Ralston, the head of the Nevada Independent and the state’s top political analyst. “And second is such a muddle.”
While Sanders has been hovering around 30% in most recent Nevada polls, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer have all been bunched up in the teens.
A strong second place could let one of the non-Sanders candidates claim momentum and head into South Carolina next Saturday with a bounce in their step, potentially slingshotting into Super Tuesday. And Nevada is notoriously hard to poll, so Saturday’s caucuses could produce a surprise.
Scramble for second-place
But nearly everyone competing in Nevada not named Sanders is running low on resources and struggling to break out of a muddled field. A distant second place is unlikely to produce the bounce needed for anyone to break out of the pack.
In short (and since it’s Nevada), Sanders looks like he’ll be leaving Las Vegas the big winner. And the rest of the field are quickly running out of chips.
That’s especially problematic for Biden, whose lead in Nevada polls was erased by his disastrous showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has publicly proclaimed his comeback must start in Nevada, a state with a lot more diverse population and high union density. His once-dominant poll numbers in South Carolina have suddenly disappeared, and without a strong Nevada finish he may well lose in the state he’s described as his firewall.
“We’re finally in a place where there are folks that represent the country look like the country, look like the country. There are good folks in Iowa and New Hampshire, but this looks like America,” Biden told a multiracial audience of union organizers backing him in Las Vegas Friday afternoon.
But Biden’s supporters aren’t feeling so good about where things are headed.
“I’m kinda scared that it might not go as well as we’d like. But I’m hoping he gets up there, like number two. I don’t know, I’ve met a lot of Bernie people,” John Norvell, a retired factory and casino worker who is serving as a Biden precinct captain in rural Pahrump, told VICE News at Biden’s Friday afternoon Las Vegas event. “They’re all going to be scrambling for second. I don’t know how it’s going to go.”
As Biden and multiple other candidates pointed out, only 2% of delegates have been awarded. But the race is about to speed up dramatically. Once Super Tuesday is complete, fully 40% of delegates will have been doled out. And the type of positive national buzz necessary to do well in states from California to North Carolina and Texas to Massachusetts without spending tens of millions of dollars worth of ads — a sum no one in the race besides Michael Bloomberg have at their disposal — necessitates some big wins beforehand.
Many of those states have early voting, so voters are already are casting ballots. And if Sanders wins Nevada, as expected, that just leaves South Carolina in a week to score a win, and making it almost impossible for anyone else to build momentum.
Steyer has also invested heavily in Nevada, and is banking on a strong showing here to give him a chance at a South Carolina upset that could give his campaign real life. Buttigieg has a real if delayed presence in the state and hopes he can keep rolling after his New Hampshire win. Klobuchar is looking to avoid an embarrassment in the state.
But for any of them to get themselves in a position to be seriously competitive nationally for Super Tuesday, just ten days away, they’re going to need a strong Nevada showing.
The candidate with arguably the most momentum at the moment is Warren, whose evisceration of Michael Bloomberg onstage during Wednesday’s Nevada debate got rave reviews. After Sanders she has the strongest field operation in the state. If she can pull off a strong finish in Nevada, it could help resurrect her campaign.
But unluckily for her, Nevada Democrats allowed early voting for the first time in their caucuses — and nearly 75,000 people turned out, almost as much as voted in the entire 2016 caucuses. All those votes were cast before her debate performance, blunting any momentum she could have scored from the debate.
Her ardent supporters sound much like the rest of the candidates’.
“I would love to see her come in second, stay in the race, because I think at minimum she’s informing the conversation in a way that’s helpful,” Harmoni Hines, a Warren volunteer, told VICE News at Warren’s Thursday morning event. “I want it to be her [in first], but I think Sanders has it locked and loaded.”
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on February 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The upcoming Nevada Democratic presidential caucus will be held February 22. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The New York City-based Fashion Institute of Technology has placed two officials on administrative leave Friday, following a runway show in which models wore “monkey ears” and oversized lips that suggest racist references.
“The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the MFA Fashion Design Department have been placed on administrative leave,” FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown said in a statement, pending the results of an independent investigation.
Brown called the “styling and accessorizing” used in the show “inexcusable and irresponsible.”
“To us, this indicates that those in charge of and responsible for overseeing the show failed to recognize or anticipate the racist references and cultural insensitivities that were obvious to almost everybody else,” Brown stated.
Newsweek reached out to the Fashion Institute of Technology Saturday for comment.
The February 7 runway show took place during New York Fashion Week and featured “ninety-plus looks by 10 alumni from FIT’s inaugural Master of Fine Arts class in Fashion Design.” Designer Junkai Huang was among the alumni who showcased their designs and was the person who selected the controversial accessories for his designs.
Brown asked “for pause” regarding Huang’s intentions, and added the ultimate blame should be placed on the school.
“We are urging a pause—and a request for context—around the role of Junkai Huang, the young FIT alumnus whose collection at the runway show is at the center of this controversy. Junkai has said, and his thesis notes and sketches support, that the collection he designed and produced was not aimed at invoking or provoking racial implications.”
Amy Lefevre, an African-American model who participated in the February 7 show, told the New York Post that she “was shaking” and could not control her emotions when she was presented with the accessories. Lefevre was “told that it was fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.”
“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefevre said. She did participate in the runway but did not wear the “racist” accessories.
“I am sending a personal letter of apology on behalf of myself and FIT to model Amy LeFevre for what she experienced at the show,” Brown said in the statement. “I am sending similar letters of apology to all the models who were part of the same collection. My cabinet has already held multiple meetings with faculty and students to begin a deep and serious dialogue about the immediate, long-term, and systemic implications of the MFA-FIT runway show.”