Bernie Sanders has retroactively won the Nevada caucus in terms of delegates. His renewed lead in the state’s race came from a strong showing of supporters at some of the state’s Democratic conventions.
Hillary Clinton originally beat out Bernie by a comfortable margin in the Nevada caucus. She came in with 52.6 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 47.3 percent. In terms of delegates, she won 20 to his 15.
Those numbers will now be in Bernie’s favor due to how voting panned out at the state’s Democratic county conventions. Even though Hillary should have technically had the most votes to reflect her win in the Nevada caucus, it seemed that many who had volunteered to represent her either didn’t show up or changed their mind.
This disadvantage wouldn’t have been quite so fatal if such a large number of Sanders alternates hadn’t also shown up to state conventions. TheLas Vegas Sun explained how Nevada’s caucuses work, and why all of these factors resulted in Clinton losing her lead.
“The county convention was the second in a three-step process for Nevada to choose its delegates to send to the Democratic National Convention this summer. The first was the February caucuses, the results of which are used to apportion 23 of the delegates Nevada will send to the national convention. The second step, the county convention, is when delegates are selected to the state convention in May. The third step is the state convention, when 12 more delegates are apportioned based on attendees’ preferences.”
At the Clark Count Democratic Convention, by far the largest in the state, Sanders ended up with 2,964 representatives to Hillary’s 2,386. That means around 5,357 showed up out of nearly 9,000 who had committed to do so. Washoe County, the state’s second largest population center, sent 350 delegates for Bernie and 275 for Clinton. While a few of the state’s districts did tilt Hillary, the grand majority swung in Sanders’ direction.
Joan Kato, Bernie’s state director, stood in awe as the votes were announced.
“We pretty much won Nevada.”
Still, that doesn’t mean Clinton’s original win of the Nevada caucus doesn’t count for anything. Of the 43 delegates offered by the state, 23 of them, “district level,” are bound to the way they were voted upon in the February caucus — those will remain split 12-11 in Hillary’s favor. Sanders picked up what appears to a be a decisive victory when it comes to how the other 12 will be divided up.
No one is quite sure just how many delegates for Bernie that translates into. Estimates have ranged between one and 10, with the majority putting their faith into the lower end of the spectrum. Local Nevada political commentator Ralston Reports estimated two, but also noted that the good news for Sanders’ delegate count could still change.
“That is expected to switch two delegates to Sanders, giving Clinton an 18-17 lead in Nevada, but that is still pending the results of the state convention next month when those 12 slots could again change. (Sanders also dominated in Washoe and did well elsewhere.) Ah, the caucus process.”
Apart from its complex caucus process, Nevada also has eight super delegates — four of whom have pledged their support for Clinton and one of whom did for Bernie.
Although Nevada is given a priority slot in the election process, its messy caucus process this year has had many within the party doubting if it deserved the honor. With the newest development, that position might be even shakier come the next election. Bernie Sanders’ personal Twitter even published a critique of the poor organization.
Campaign manager Jeff Weaver on Clark County, Nevada Democratic Convention: pic.twitter.com/XPDR4dRSAs
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 2, 2016
Unconventional democracy didn’t just occur with Bernie’s delayed Nevada caucus win this weekend. In North Dakota, the GOP decided that their 28 delegates would be completely unbound — able to vote for any Republican candidate they desired at the convention. Unlike in Sanders’ case, no election of any kind will be held.
Do you think it was fair for Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada caucus delegates this way?
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]