Bernie Sanders Is First Candidate To Win Popular Vote In First 3 Early Voting States

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the stage during a primary night event on February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, which FiveThirtyEight analyst Nate Silver said puts him “in the driver’s seat” to win the Democratic nomination. In addition to putting him in an ideal position to win the primary, Newsweek reports that the 78-year-old politician also made history by becoming the first candidate ⁠— Democrat or Republican ⁠— to win the popular vote in the first three early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Most recently, Sanders gained 46 percent of Nevada votes, with former Vice President Joe Biden the closest with 19 percent. In third is former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg with 15 percent support.

During a rally in San Antonio, Texas, Sanders spoke of the success of his campaign and its movement.

“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. No campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is another reason why we’re going to win this election.”

Rafael Shimunov, a Sanders delegate in New York, also addressed Sanders’ historic victory.

“Yet somehow every time #NotMeUs are told we can’t do something we do it. We just took him to break historical records by being the first candidate from either party to win the popular vote of the first three states. Ever It will take groundswell to challenge Senate. This is that,” he tweeted.

According to CNN, Sanders’ win also reveals that there is currently no clear alternative. The publication notes that behind the Vermont Senator is a “large, and largely bunched together, field,” with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar taking votes from other moderates like Biden and Buttigieg. Meanwhile, businessman Michael Bloomberg is waiting for Super Tuesday states, which are where he has focused his campaign’s massive advertising spending.

Sanders’ success has not been sitting well with some. Veteran MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews recently said that the Democratic Party would have an easier time voting for Donald Trump in November than letting the Democratic socialist take the White House. According to Matthews, the reason is that Sanders would move the Democratic Party in a new direction.

Matthews’ comments took flak on social media. Notably, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed to the campaign MSNBC has been waging on Trump over the past four years, calling him everything from a fascist to a Russian asset.

The prominent host also compared Sanders’ victory in Nevada to Nazi Germany’s invasion of France during World War II, which also drew heavy criticism on social media.