Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has emerged as the clear Democratic frontrunner after the Nevada caucuses over the weekend.
Sanders’ win in Nevada was called quickly by the major TV networks and the Associated Press. As the results continued trickling in from caucus precincts across the state Saturday, it became clear that self-declared Democratic-Socialist, Sanders was racking up a sizable win.
Sanders explained how he pulled off the Silver State victory.
“In Nevada we have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition which is going to not only win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country,” he said.
His victory – following a win in last week’s New Hampshire primary and a draw with former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses — instantly drew incoming fire from his top rivals for the Democratic nomination. And it made already nervous moderate and establishment Democrats even more nervous over the prospect of Sanders becoming their party’s standard-bearer in November against President Trump.
Meanwhile a floundering Joe Biden managed to his campaign alive with a second place finish. In a speech celebrating what was his much-needed second place finish, Biden made an appeal to party loyalists.
“I’m a Democrat … and I’m proud of it,” Biden said.
Then – sharpening his knives – the man who served as former President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years highlighted that history.
“I was proud to run with Barack Obama,” Biden said. “I’m proud to still be his friend and, I tell you what, I promise you I wasn’t talking about running a Democratic primary against him in 2012.”
That barb by Biden was in reference to recent reports that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had to convince Sanders to stop mulling a primary challenge against Obama as he ran for re-election in 2012.
As the now clear frontrunner, the rest of the candidates left in the campaign, also took their shots at Bernie.
Minutes after Biden spoke, Buttigieg complimented Sanders before launching an attack on his rival.
“Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” he argued.
Although their candidate didn’t run in Nevada, Mike Bloomberg’s campaign also took aim at Sanders – and used the senator’s apparent big win Saturday to once again make the much-derided pitch for the other moderate Democratic presidential candidates to drop out of the race to allow Bloomberg to consolidate the anti-Sanders vote.
“The Nevada results reinforce the reality that this fragmented field is putting Bernie Sanders on pace to amass an insurmountable delegate lead. This is a candidate who just declared war on the so-called ‘Democratic Establishment.’ We are going to need Independents AND Republicans to defeat Trump – attacking your own party is no way to get started.
Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey added, “As Mike says, if we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base – like Senator Sanders – it will be a fatal error.”