Mark Zuckerberg might not be untouchable after all


Mark Zuckerberg may soon find himself in an unfamiliar situation: facing actual, personal consequences for Facebook's missteps. 

As the FTC continues to investigate the social network's mishandling of user data, it's looking more and more likely that officials will single out the Facebook CEO as they look to impose new punishments on the company. 

Days after the Washington Post reported the FTC is in the midst of "discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook’s data lapses," the paper now reports a Democratic senator is urging the agency to put the Facebook founder on blast. Zuckerberg should be "individually liable," for Facebook's privacy violations, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden wrote in a letter to the FTC. Read more...

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The casino caucus: In an ornate Las Vegas ballroom, hotel workers flex political power on a lunch break
On Nevada caucus day, casino workers use their lunch breaks to make their voices heard in the Democratic presidential contest held in a Las Vegas ballroom.
Biden: I heard we did well with culinary workers
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to his supporters in Las Vegas, telling them he feels good about his performance in the Nevada caucuses.
Bernie Sanders is projected winner of Nevada caucuses: Live updates
Follow along as the ABC News team reports from the Silver State.
3 winners and 2 losers from the Nevada caucuses
Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters cheer in El Paso, Texas, just before he takes the stage after winning the Nevada caucus. | Cengiz Yar/Getty Images Bernie Sanders looks like the strongest candidate, and the other Democrats still haven’t distinguished themselves. Bernie Sanders won the 2020 Nevada caucuses, and in more ways than one. His signature issue, Medicare-for-all, won in a face-off with the state’s most powerful union. And the race for second through fifth place was muddled, a recurring theme in this primary season, in which no clear center-left alternative to Sanders has emerged. Sanders rode into Nevada with two popular-vote wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and a near tie in the delegate count with Pete Buttigieg. Nevada was his chance to break away from the pack in the only metric that actually matters: delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer. A candidate needs a majority to win the nomination. The Vermont senator was always looking like the favorite, having led the polls in Nevada ahead of the caucuses. The rest of the story was going to be who came in second. Mario Tama/Getty Images Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 21, 2020. Buttigieg shined in Iowa and New Hampshire, two overwhelmingly white states, but needed to prove he could contend in places with more Hispanic and black voters. Joe Biden has struggled in the first two states, but his campaign hoped a more diverse electorate in Nevada (and, looking ahead, in South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states) will fuel a comeback. Elizabeth Warren also failed to make a splash in the first two states before a commanding debate performance Wednesday. And Amy Klobuchar was trying to build off her strong showing in Iowa and especially New Hampshire, where she relied on support from white voters for a surprise third-place finish, to show she can attract voters of color. (Mike Bloomberg is technically on the Nevada ballot, but he’s making his big bet on Super Tuesday, March 3, when nearly one-fourth of the DNC delegates are up for grabs.) So coming out of Nevada, Sanders looks by far like the strongest candidate in the Democratic field, and the rest of the candidates still haven’t distinguished themselves as the best bet to topple him. Those were the stakes headed into Saturday afternoon in Nevada. Here’s who won and who lost. Winner: Bernie Sanders He got the most votes and the most delegates. He won. In Nevada, Sanders finally got the decisive victory he’d been lacking after effectively tying in Iowa and New Hampshire. His margin of victory over the other five candidates who see themselves as viable threats to the nomination was substantial. And it comes in a state that has moved up the primary calendar because party leaders think it has the kind of voters — young, diverse — Democrats will need going forward. (Well, and because former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played an outsize role getting Nevada third on the schedule.) Sanders finally put a little distance between himself and Buttigieg. Going by the FiveThirtyEight forecast, he is at this point really the only Democratic candidate with a good chance (39 percent) of winning a majority of DNC delegates and the nomination. But he trails “no one” at this point, raising the possibility of a contested convention if nobody wins the nomination in the primary elections. For Sanders, as a party outsider, accumulating as many delegates as possible and making his nomination seem inevitable — whether he wins an outright majority or not — is incredibly important. He’s gained some ground in that race, thanks to this strong win in Nevada. Loser: The race for second place With everybody anticipating a Sanders win, a lot of the pre-caucus speculation was about who would come in second. Would Buttigieg solidify his place as the Sanders alternative? Could Biden rebound ahead of South Carolina, his must-win state? What if Warren parlayed a strong debate into a surprise second-place finish? Instead, the story out of Nevada is that Sanders is running away with the nomination and there is little clarity about the strongest opponent to challenge him. FiveThirtyEight gives Sanders 4-in-10 odds of winning the primary; Bloomberg, barely a blip in Nevada, is second at 1 in 12 on the strength of his national polling and a focus on the delegate-rich Super Tuesday states. A Biden nomination is considered a little less likely than Bloomberg’s. Nobody else has better than a 1-in-100 chance. As the Republican establishment learned in 2016, you can’t just play for second against an insurgent frontrunner. Democrats are starting to learn the same lesson the hard way. Winner: Ranked-choice voting For the first time, Nevada let people “vote early” in the caucuses. What that actually meant (because of the way caucuses are run in real life; read more from Andrew Prokop) is those early voters used a ranked-choice ballot. It looked a lot like ranked-choice voting in Maine (the first state to authorize it in all elections), and several other states will use ranked-choice ballots in their upcoming primaries. This year, Nevadans could go to an early-voting site and fill out a ballot with their preferences for the Democratic nominee, ranked first through fifth. It mirrors the caucus experience, where voters first congregate with their favorite candidate. But then for candidates who fail to clear 15 percent on that first vote, their supporters must move to a more viable camp. Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images A volunteer counts votes during the Nevada caucuses in Las Vegas on February 22, 2020. The new wrinkle seems to have increased turnout in Nevada; upward of 75,000 early ballots were cast, nearly matching the total turnout at the 2016 Nevada caucuses. The only question is whether that decreases turnout on caucus day, but it seems assured overall turnout will be up from the last election. For Nevada, ranked-choice voting was a way to replicate the caucus experience in absentia. In general, the argument for ranked choice is, in short, that it’s more democratic than relying on a plurality of support or a top-two runoff to declare a winner. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen previously explained: Ranked-choice advocates say this is simply a more democratic system and less expensive than runoff elections, which have to be held separately and typically have very low turnout (case in point: the Texas runoff). “We think compared to those other two, it means voters have more say and more reliable outcomes versus plurality,” said Rob Richie, executive director of the nonprofit organization FairVote. “We feel quite comfortable saying it works.” And we haven’t seen the last of ranked-choice voting in the Democratic contest: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming will use it for their 2020 primary elections. Loser: Culinary Union 226 The powerful labor union, which represents 60,000 people in Nevada’s hospitality industry, didn’t technically endorse any candidate, and so it technically did not back a loser. But the union’s leaders made their displeasure with Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan — and his most zealous supporters — known. Their Nevada workers benefit from high-level health care, including their own clinic, and numerous reporters have talked to union members who are worried about losing that health care if their insurance plan is eliminated. (Overall, union members are more mixed on Medicare-for-all than Democrats generally.) Alex Wong/Getty Images Ted Pappageorge, president of Culinary Workers Union Local 226, announces that the union decided not to endorse a candidate before the Nevada caucuses, on February 13, 2020. Workers who caucused for Sanders said they liked their union insurance plan, according to BuzzFeed News. But they worried about relatives and friends who could lose their jobs: Some workers who spoke to BuzzFeed News said they support Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal, even though they appreciate the union health care they have, because they have friends and relatives who don’t have union health care and worry about what would happen if they lost their jobs. The way the union blasted Sanders’s plan while softening their language when describing Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-for-all plan made pretty clear which way it wanted the primary to go. The union’s leaders picked the fight with Sanders quite publicly, with the news of their anti-M4A literature breaking on the night of Sanders’s New Hampshire win. But Sanders won the state handily. Moreover, exit polls found that Democratic caucus-goers overwhelmingly support a single-payer program that eliminates private insurance: about 6 in 10, according to the Washington Post. It looked like Sanders was beating union leadership on their own turf. Damn: Now looks like Bernie has won caucuses at Bellagio, Mandalay, Park MFM, Rio, and Wynn, tied at Harrah’s and lost Paris. He is the Culinary workers’ candidate!— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 22, 2020 Winner: Medicare-for-all Again, 6 in 10 Nevada caucus-goers told pollsters they supported eliminating private insurance for good and replacing it with government health insurance. And the candidate who has married his brand to Medicare-for-all was winning caucuses in casinos with union workers, after that union’s leaders made their opposition to the plan abundantly clear. It’s still an open question how Sanders, and Medicare-for-all, would fare in a general election against President Trump or how “electable” the candidate and his plan ultimately are. But the issue is not slowing Sanders down at all among Democratic primary voters.
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John Fund: Bernie Sanders’ projected Nevada victory leaves Dem establishment scrambling – Can he be stopped?
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ projected victory Saturday in the Nevada Democratic caucuses is a big loss for members of the party’s establishment who are hoping a more moderate candidate captures the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge President Trump.
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6 takeaways from the Nevada caucuses as Bernie Sanders wins
Nevada caucus: Bernie Sanders ran away with it. Here are 6 takeaways from the first Democratic presidential contest in the West.
2020 Nevada caucuses: Live results
Bernie Sanders’s Biggest Win Yet
Senator Bernie Sanders endured nail-biters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Today, Nevada voters handed him a landslide victory.Sanders’s dominant victory in the Silver State solidifies his standing as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, giving him and the progressive movement a clear boost as the race heads to more challenging territory in South Carolina and then across the country on March 3—Super Tuesday.Although Nevada, like the first two Democratic nominating contests, sends relatively few delegates to the party’s national convention this summer, Sanders’s win demonstrated two key things. First, the democratic socialist from Vermont has significantly improved his performance from 2016 among a more diverse primary electorate; just 66 percent of caucus-goers in Nevada were white and more than one-quarter were Latino or black, according to entrance polls. That change could prove crucial as Sanders tries to rack up delegates in huge states like Texas and California on Super Tuesday. Waiting for him in March is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is hoping that an unprecedented barrage of television ads will drown out his roundly criticized debate debut last week.[Read: Bloomberg’s beating]Second, while former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg again split the moderate vote, Sanders has—at least for now—consolidated the left wing of the Democratic Party behind him. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s forceful performance in Wednesday’s Las Vegas debate came too late to matter in Nevada, where well over half the caucus electorate—some 75,000 people—had already voted early. Entrance polls did show Warren doing well (though still behind Sanders) among the 15 percent of voters who made their decision in the past few days. She’ll need another strong showing at next week’s debate in South Carolina if she hopes to compete seriously with Sanders there and in many larger states on Super Tuesday.Biden finished far behind Sanders, clustered with Buttigieg, the billionaire activist Tom Steyer, and Warren. The former vice president is banking on a victory next Saturday in South Carolina to keep his campaign afloat, but that may depend on how much momentum Sanders carries out of Nevada.If Sanders slightly underperformed expectations in Iowa and New Hampshire—where he still came out with a win and at worst a tie—Nevada illuminated the durability of his support. A fight between his campaign and the leadership of the powerful union of culinary workers over Sanders’s Medicare for All proposal did little to diminish his standing among laborers. He fared well among union members in entrance polls, and he won caucus precincts at major Las Vegas casinos dominated by culinary workers.[Read: Bernie Sanders’s biggest test yet with Latino voters]Nevada is also significant in that it represents the first state where Sanders improved his position from 2016, when he lost the caucus handily to Hillary Clinton. His biggest challenges are yet to come, as Biden tries to regroup in South Carolina, Bloomberg’s billions swamp the airwaves, and the party establishment frets about the prospect of a democrat socialist leading its ticket in the fall. The candidates who largely laid off Sanders in favor of demolishing Bloomberg at last week’s debate might now target him instead. Sanders’s critics will point out that collectively, moderate candidates outpoll the Vermont senator and that he remains unlikely to win a majority of pledged delegates heading into the Democratic convention in Milwaukee.That may be true. But while the question of whether a candidate as far left as Sanders can defeat Donald Trump and win the presidency remains, it is becoming more and more clear which wing of the Democratic Party is prevailing: In the most diverse contest of the year, the most progressive candidate in the field won his biggest victory yet.
Matthews: 'A Little Late to Stop' Sanders in Primary - GOP Will 'Kill Him'
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Sanders heads to big win in Nevada caucuses, Biden battles Buttigieg for second place
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WATCH: Democratic candidates face off in Nevada
Bernie Sanders leads in the Nevada caucuses as Joe Biden vies for second.
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Trump congratulates Sanders on Nevada caucuses: 'Don’t let them take it away from you'
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Precinct chair: Two caucuses used cards to break ties
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Latinos were Bernie Sanders’s key to victory in Nevada
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigns for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Ames, Iowa, on January 25, 2020. | Win McNamee/Getty Images Sanders has been courting Latinos for months. It helped him sweep the vote in Nevada. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seems to have swept Latino voters in the Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, an affirmation of his months-long investments in outreach that could presage his success in primaries still to come in heavily Latino states. Sanders is counting on Latino voters, the largest nonwhite contingent of voters in 2020, to carry him to the Democratic nomination. In Nevada, where Latinos make up about 19 percent of eligible voters, they helped hand him a big victory. Entrance polls showed Saturday evening that just over half of Latino voters in Nevada had backed him, roughly four times as many as supported former Vice President Joe Biden. The rest of the candidates earned less than 10 percent of Latino support. (Historically, some entrance polls have undercounted Latino voters, which could skew the results.) Sanders is trying to appeal to Latino voters with a progressive policy platform that speaks to their core interests: health care, jobs, and, for some, immigration. Starting last summer, he has invested heavily in spreading his message, in both Spanish and English, to Latino communities. And he’s hired Latino staff from the grassroots advocacy community and integrated them into every facet of his campaign. It’s a marked change from his strategy in 2016, when he lost to Hillary Clinton in 10 of 11 states where Latinos made up a large share of eligible voters, including Nevada by a thin margin. Before Saturday’s caucuses, Sanders swept the four Spanish-language caucus sites in Iowa and won 40 percent of the Latino vote in New Hampshire. But since Latinos make up only a small minority of voters in those states, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from his performance among Latinos there. The Nevada caucuses on Saturday were the first real test of not only Sanders’s support among Latinos but also his ability to inspire turnout. It’s not clear at this point whether Latinos have turned out in the numbers that Sanders was hoping for, but they have backed him overwhelmingly, suggesting that his coalition-building efforts have paid off. Sanders is now eyeing other heavily Latino states — California, Texas, and Colorado — which will cast their ballots on Super Tuesday, which is March 3. By the time the Nevada caucuses had started, he had already moved on to Texas. Why Sanders appeals to Latinos The Nevada primary electorate is still majority white, but Sanders appears to have carried Latinos so overwhelmingly that it could secure him a sizable margin of victory. He also appears to be leading among whites with 30 percent support, but the race is among them is much closer. It’s a remarkable shift for a candidate who just four years ago was consistently bested by Clinton among Latinos. Now, young Latinos know him as “Tío Bernie,” Spanish for “Uncle Bernie” — including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “I call him Tío Bernie. Maybe to my goddaughter he’s abuelo, but he’s my Tío Bernie Sanders,” she told the crowd at a rally in Queens in October when she announced she was endorsing him for the Democratic nomination. Sanders has leaned into the moniker. His campaign has since organized soccer matches and house parties that it calls “Tamales for Tío Bernie.” His Latino support is grounded in policies that appeal to Latino voters: immigration, health care, and the economy. His immigration plan, which he has framed in the context of his signature issue of worker solidarity, is arguably the most progressive of the Democratic field. Sanders’s plan acknowledges that unauthorized immigrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of employers because they might fear retaliation that could put them at risk of deportation. He consequently suggests redirecting funding from enforcing immigration laws against workers to holding their employers accountable for labor law violations. (The plan does not mention whether that will include preventing employers from hiring unauthorized workers in the first place.) He suggests offering immigrant workers whistleblower protections if they speak up about workplace abuses and improving labor standards for farmworkers, domestic workers, gig economy workers, and those employed in other underregulated industries. He would also allow them to participate in Medicare-for-all and College for All, his bill tomake public colleges and universities tuition- and debt-free. Alex Wong/Getty Images Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on February 18, 2020. To communicate that plan to voters, he has made the issue personal, speaking at rallies about his father, a Polish immigrant who came to the US as a teenager impoverished and unable to speak English. “As the son of an immigrant...I will not tolerate the continued demonization of the undocumented in this country,” Sanders said in Reno, Nevada on Tuesday. It’s earned him endorsements from the prominent immigrant rights group Make the Road Action and Latino mobilization group Mijente. Daniel Altschuler, managing director of Make the Road Action, said that the organization has been impressed by Sanders’s willingness to listen and learn from the grassroots advocacy community in putting together an immigration platform that reflects their priorities, including placing a moratorium on deportations and dismantling the immigration enforcement agencies. But while immigration ranks high in terms of importance to Latinos, it historically hasn’t been their top priority overall, ranking behind healthcare and the the economy. That’s held true this election cycle: Only 11 percent of Latino voters said that protecting immigrant rights is the most important issue facing the community, according to a February 18 Univision poll. And according to a 2018 Pew Research study, the majority of US-born Latinos say they aren’t concerned that a close family member could be deported. That might be because only about a third of Latinos in the US are immigrants, a share that has steadily declined since 2010. Latinos who are voting are, by definition, citizens, meaning that they don’t necessarily have a personal stake in US immigration policy. With that in mind, Sanders hasn’t relied on his immigration policy to appeal to Latino voters. The Univision poll also reported that a quarter of Latinos nationwide see lowering health care costs was the most importance issue facing their community, and 83 percent support “Medicare for All” — one of the cornerstone’s of Sanders’s platform. It’s no surprise that healthcare is top of mind for Latinos: only about half of them are covered through private health insurance policies, the lowest of any census group, and 20 percent of Latinos under the age of 65 are uninsured. Erika Márquez a Nevada resident and “Dreamer” who came to the US without papers from Mexico as a child, said that his fight for better wages and his healthcare plan signal that he will fight for Latinos: “There’s something about him that conveys trust,” she said. Not all Latinos are backing Medicare for All: the Culinary Workers Union, which is Nevada’s largest union and represents thousands of Latino workers, has disseminated flyers opposing the plan as one that would its members union healthcare. But that didn’t seem to have an impact on the results, with many union members appearing to defect from their leaders, as my colleague Sean Collins writes. Creating more jobs and improving incomes were the top priorities for 19 and 12 percent of Latinos respectively in that that same Univision poll. Sanders has promised to raise the minimum wage to $15 and would offer college debt forgiveness and tuition-free public university, which could be important for first and second generation immigrants in the Latino community who haven’t yet been able to accumulate wealth. It’s these kind of bread-and-butter issues that Sanders hopes can inspire Latino turnout. “Bernie will bring people of all backgrounds together around a progressive agenda that guarantees fundamental economic and civil rights to all, including universal health care, a good job with a living wage, affordable housing, a healthy environment, and a secure retirement,” Belen Sisa, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign, said. But Sanders’s performance among Latinos in Nevada — of which about 70 percent are of Mexican heritage — might not be predictive of his performance in other contests to come. Nevada is more heavily Mexican as compared to the rest of the nation, where the Latino population is only 59 percent Mexican. Latinos of different national origins might view him differently. For example, some Latinos might be alienated by Sanders’s identity as a Democratic Socialist. Sergio Garcia-Rios, a professor at Cornell University who studies Latino political participation, said that for Latino immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua who remember what it is like to live in a socialist country might be wary of endorsing a candidate who espouses the same political ideology. But Sanders is nevertheless still polling well among Cubans — his favorability rating among Cubans is 47 percent favorable to 42 percent unfavorable, according to the recent Univision poll. By comparison, 67 percent of Mexicans rated Sanders favorably. Sanders’s Latino outreach strategy But more important than Sanders’s platform is his investments in outreach at the local level long before other campaigns showed up. His bilingual advertisements showed up at their doorsteps, on the radio, at their workplaces and online starting as early as June 2019. “You can be the perfect messenger and have the perfect message that Latinos care about, but if you never spend the money to go tell the Latinos out there, it doesn’t matter what your positions are,” Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser to Sanders’s campaign who also worked on his 2016 run, said. The campaign spent millions on outreach in Nevada alone. The first advertisement they put out in Nevada was in Spanish and the first office they opened up was in the heavily Latino neighborhood of East Las Vegas (they now have 13 throughout the state.) He’s also focusing on California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Sanders has also hired Latino staff, who number over 200 nationwide, including 76 stationed in Nevada. The campaign set out to hire people from nonprofits and social justice movements in particular and, at the state level, hired primarily from within the state to ensure that outreach was conducted through a “lens of cultural competency,” Rocha said. Latinos or people of color hold senior positions across every department from national political director Analilia Mejia to national deputy director of states Neidi Dominguez. “We wanted to break the status quo of the wrong way we think campaigns have been run forever where Latinos had been used as window dressing, given no authority and being siloed off in departments where they only talk to each other and not the rest of the campaign,” Rocha said. “There’s no Latino outreach department. It’s literally integrated in every part of the campaign.” Still, galvanizing turnout among Latinos will be key to the success of Sanders’s strategy, and it remains to be seen whether that will come to fruition. In the 2018 midterm elections, there was a 50 percent increase in turnout among Latino voters, and if that trend continues, it could play in Sanders’s favor both in the primary and the general election if he wins the nomination. He himself acknowledged that turnout in Iowa, which was about on par with 2016 levels, wasn’t as high as he had hoped it would be. But Democrats are already predicting that record-breaking turnout among Latinos in Nevada — Based on entrance polls at Saturday’s caucuses, he’s leading them by 36%. “There will definitely be more Latinos than have ever caucused before,” Rocha said.
"Ice Castles" brings a winter playground for adults and children alike
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Bernie Sanders just won the Nevada caucuses
Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 21, 2020. | Patrick Semansky/AP Sanders is on a winning streak; he has now won two early states in a row. Bernie Sanders is on a roll. The independent senator from Vermont cruised to victory in Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada, where his campaign has been building Latino support for months. As of 7:30 Eastern, our partners at Decision Desk have called the race for Sanders. A win in Nevada helps solidifies Sanders’s frontrunner status; this is his second outright win in an early state after New Hampshire. Sanders also won the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses, and as of the latest recanvass of those caucuses’ convoluted results, he was essentially tied with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa state delegates — separated by 0.004 percentage points. Still, the race for delegates between Sanders and Buttigieg has been closer; they won an equal number of delegates in New Hampshire and Buttigieg currently has 23 delegates, compared to 21 for Sanders. Nevada’s win only bolsters his position as he heads into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. The southern state will test Sanders’s strength with black voters, a group he did poorly with in 2016, and who initially seemed eager to back former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020. Biden’s once-formidable lead in South Carolina has been shrinking, and there are signs Sanders is eating into Biden’s support among black voters; a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of black Democratic primary voters found 31 percent of supporting Biden and 29 percent supporting Sanders. Sanders’s win in Nevada could also be a good sign for him as we barrel toward Super Tuesday on March 3, when a massive chunk of delegates will be allotted. His campaign has put significant resources and energy into campaigning in California, a state with more than 400 delegates. “He’s done very well with Latino voters,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign. “He’s very strong in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. He’s strong in rural California. he’s campaigned and gone to place like Chico and Fresno and paid attention to the needs of central California, rural California.” How Sanders pulled off his win In 2016, Sanders came closer to winning the Nevada caucuses than anyone thought possible. Four years later, he retained much of that support. “He started with a nice little base,” said longtime Nevada Democratic strategist Billy Vassiliadis. “He carried over most of those average supporters he had four years ago. Those folks stayed active, they stayed loyal, they’re Bernie folks.” Sanders’s campaign didn’t take their 2016 advantage for granted this year. Even though Nevada is historically overlooked, Sanders started building an organizational machine in the state 10 months ago. By Friday, his campaign had knocked on 500,000 doors across the state’s 17 counties. “We canvass all day long ... we canvass, text, and call at all hours because we know people are home at different hours,” Sanders Nevada state director Sarah Michelsen told me recently. “I’m very confident in our program. We’re not taking anything for granted, and we’re not leaving anything on the field.” In a statement, Michelsen said the campaign has “built a turnout machine that will propel us to victory here in Nevada.” Mario Tama/Getty Images Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters seen during a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 21, 2020. Sanders’s momentum out of New Hampshire also helped boost this large Nevada campaign operation attempting to turn out a diverse slate of voters. State and national polls show Sanders doing very well among Latino voters; a February Morning Consult national poll showed his support among these voters growing as Biden’s fell. One potential setback for Sanders was the powerful Culinary Union, a politically powerful hospitality workers union, which issued something of an anti-endorsement of Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, which they feared would mean the end of their union insurance. Even though it made its distaste for Sanders’s plans clear, the union didn’t take the extra step of endorsing one of his competitors. It stayed neutral in the race, especially after Biden’s lackluster performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada politics experts told Vox. “If the Culinary were really really mad at Bernie, they would have endorsed Biden and gone all out for Biden,” said Jon Ralston, editor of the Nevada Independent. “Even if they had done that, I’m not sure they would have been able to stop Bernie.” A Nevada win solidifies a key part of Sanders’s national strategy Going into 2020, the persistent questions dogging Sanders campaign was whether he could build a more diverse coalition and expand on his 2016 base of young voters and progressives. The Latino vote was a key part of that expansion. Latino voters are a natural fit for Sanders; they tend to be younger and more progressive, and have ties to organized labor. The idea of young Latinos flocking to a 78-year-old white man from the rural state of Vermont can seem a bit odd. But many of Sanders’s Latino supports have an affinity for the gruff politician who hasn’t changed his progressive stances for the past 30 years; the’ve nicknamed Sanders “Tio Bernie.” John Locher/AP Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meets with supporters after a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas on December 21, 2019. Familiarity is also a key component. In 2016, Sanders was just introducing himself to Latino voters; now he’s a known entity. “Harry Reid unlocked this system in Nevada where you have a young population, you have a population that is integrated into labor unions, and Reid uses particularly labor unions to get Latinos out to vote,” Stephen Nuño-Perez, senior analyst for the Latino polling firm Latino Decisions, told me in a recent interview. “This is the playbook, and it’s a natural fit for Sanders’s style of how he envisions politics.” With a recent Univision analysis showing Latino turnout doubling in the 2018 midterms in eight states — including Nevada, California, Texas, Florida, and New York — Latinos are a fast-growing portion of the American electorate. But community leaders have also long complained about the Democratic Party and candidates failing to engage with them. Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser for the Sanders campaign who oversees Latino outreach, says he’s ensuring Sanders won’t make that mistake. “As a chief adviser, I’m going to do what we have demanded campaigns do through generations of being taken advantage of,” Rocha told me. “We went to the community, listened to the community, hired the community, and we ... invested early in that community.” With the South Carolina primary looming, Sanders has to focus on shoring up support among black voters in the South. Still, building on his Latino support in states like California, Colorado, and Texas will be just as critical on Super Tuesday.
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