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Sanders wins big in Nevada but some Democrats worry

Sanders wins big in Nevada but some Democrats worry

AFP
Las Vegas
Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory in Nevada’s Democratic nominating contest has scattered his moderate challengers and injected his White House campaign with a fresh burst of momentum as he drives into the next crucial battlegrounds.
With his strong result on Saturday, the Vermont senator demonstrated an ability to broaden a coalition beyond the narrow limits of leftist voters, undercutting the argument from several moderates that he would not be able to bridge the divide between progressives and centrists.
“He showed last night that he can energise our core base,” Howard Dean, a former presidential aspirant himself and former head of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN.
By early Sunday, Sanders was comfortably ahead in Nevada with 60 percent of precincts reporting. The 78-year-old senator was leading the Democratic pack with 46 percent of the vote, followed far behind by former vice president Joe Biden at 19.6 percent and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at 15.3 percent.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar trailed at, respectively, 10.1 percent and 4.8 percent.
Sanders was quick to claim victory, saying his “multi-generational, multi-racial coalition” was “going to sweep this country.”
Dean said the senator’s result in a state far more typical of America’s demographic variety than the two earlier-voting states was “incredibly impressive.” But he quickly added that a more definitive result will come only after voters in 14 states cast ballots on March 3, or “Super Tuesday.” Before that comes South Carolina, which votes on February 29.
Biden’s once-strong prospects had faded sharply for weeks, but he said Saturday that he felt “really good” about his second-place showing in Nevada and shouldn’t be counted out.
His team is banking on a strong showing in South Carolina, where Biden has enjoyed support among a majority-black Democratic electorate.
But after Sanders came in virtually tied for first in Iowa and then won last week in New Hampshire, his undeniable victory in Nevada places him squarely in the driver’s seat, at least for now.
He leads national polls by an 11 point margin over Biden and by 13 points over Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who skipped the early voting states to focus on Super Tuesday.
Sanders’s progressive policies, including universal health care, higher taxes on the wealthy and an increase in the minimum wage, have struck a chord with millions of Americans.
But they have raised alarm among some Democrats that he will make an easy target for President Donald Trump as a radical leftist, and that if he heads the Democratic ticket in November the party could face sweeping losses.