Bernie Sanders is "in the driver's seat" for the Democratic nomination after a strong win in the Nevada caucus, a political analyst says.
Though the statewide totals for Saturday's contest had not yet been finalized, FiveThirtyEight analyst Nate Silver said that what appears to be a strong win for the Vermont senator has pushed him into a clear lead for the party's nomination. Silver noted that Sanders walked away with a clear and decisive victory in Nevada, something that eluded him in the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Silver noted that Sanders also performed well across a broad array of voters, winning 53 percent of Hispanic voters and 27 percent of African Americans -- a strong sign with a diverse group of states voting on Super Tuesday in a little more than a week.
"This is a pretty good electorate for Sanders: young, working-class, unionized, heavily Hispanic," the report noted.
"But he's also worked hard to cultivate support from those groups of voters — Hispanic voters weren't a major strength of his in 2016 for example. Perhaps fortunately for him, there are also plenty of these types of voters in the two biggest delegate prizes on Super Tuesday, California and Texas."Sanders has jumped to a significant lead in the website's aggregate of national polls, with a 10-point advantage over both former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sanders had the support of nearly 26 percent of Democratic voters, while Biden and Bloomberg each had close to 16 percent.
Strong wins for Sanders in the upcoming states could also reduce the chances of a brokered convention. The Democratic National Committee changed its rules for this year's primary, doing away with the superdelegates who voted on the first ballot. That means that if no candidate has a majority of pledged delegates going into the convention, the superdelegates would get the chance to cast ballots on a second vote and potentially select a nominee who did not have a plurality.
But with a vast majority of states still yet to vote and delegates up for grabs, the race is far from over. Sanders' opponents have signaled that they intend to stay in the race and have begun directing attacks at the Vermont senator. In speaking to supporters on Saturday, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg warned voters to take a "sober look" at Sanders as the potential nominee, The Week noted."Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans," Buttigieg said claiming that Sanders is pushing a "tenor of combat, division, and polarization" which would perpetuate "the toxic tone of our politics."