Here are the facts so far: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) is leading the fray Sunday morning, with 7 delegates he won in Nevada on Saturday. Sanders won big, in a state whose delegate count may be small compared to others, but which includes two major groups of Democratic voters: Labor and Latinos. And among the top four candidates in Nevada Saturday, Sanders won 46.6% of the votes. Joe Biden was a distant second, with 19.2%, Pete Buttigieg 15.4%, and Elizabeth Warren only 10.3%.
In the delegate count, after three primaries (Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada), Sanders has 28, followed by Buttigieg with 22, Warren 8, Amy Klobuchar 7, and Biden 6.
This Saturday will see the next primary, in South Carolina, which offers 54 delegates (and 9 more super delegates picked by the local party bosses). The distribution of delegates is proportionate—no winner take all here. As of last Thursday’s poll, Biden is ahead in SC, with 24, followed by Sanders with 19. But there’s no telling how the Nevada vote would affect these results. Voters like winners, and right now Sanders is the media’s favorite to go all the way.
Which he could do: it all depends on the next big hurdle, Super Tuesday, march 3 – the day after Israel’s election. About 40% of the Democratic delegates will be picked on Super Tuesday, which includes two of the biggest states in the union: California and Texas. The total number of delegates awarded will be 1,357, out of approximately 3,979. It takes 1,991 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. Should Sanders win just 40% of these delegates – as he has been doing so far – it could mean the ballgame.
So far, Sanders has been the only Democrat to energize young people and Latinos and younger people – and I just described the Democratic base in Texas and California. Sanders has also been standing out with a resolute, unabashed socialist message, forcing all his rivals into a milquetoast assembly of moderates. Warren, who is as leftist as Sanders, hasn’t been able to take off. He might pick her as his running mate, seeing as she’s proven herself as a vicious attack dog – former mayor Mike Bloomberg is still nursing her bites from the Nevada debate, she tore into him and didn’t let go. But she isn’t getting voters.
Bloomberg will be facing his first real primaries on Super Tuesday. He has proven himself to be weak, vulnerable, unprepared and arrogant in the debate. On the other hand, he has been spending hundreds of millions on campaigning, hoping to offer a choice for Democrats who fear the Sanders avalanche. Bloomberg is also liked by the Latino community, despite the criticism of his stop-and-frisk approach to law and order (life in New York city was happy and safe under Mayor Bloomberg, including for those who were stopped and frisked – DI). According to the campaign, the mayor has already spent more than $10 million on Spanish-language advertising.
But anyone comparing the campaigning style of Sanders and Bloomberg has to admit that the Jewish guy from Brooklyn is a more exciting speaker than the Jewish guy from Manhattan. Sanders is animated, emotional, often cantankerous and angry. Bloomberg is reserved. Sanders relishes confrontation – Bloomberg appears offended by the very idea of being doubted.
On Saturday, Sanders proved that his appeal is not limited to young people and minorities. In Nevada, he won over the culinary workers’ union, the state’s largest union, with his Medicare For All idea. He ignited their imagination. He also dares, for the first time in who knows how many decades, to position himself as the spokesman for the poor and oppressed against the rich and the oppressors. It’s a strategy that’s been failing everywhere in the free world – but it could win in 2020 America, particularly with a Republican opponent who prides himself on his wealth and his business cunning. In November, Sanders could appeal to middle America in 2020 the very same way Trump appealed to them in 2016: an uncompromising outsider, ready to take on the establishment.
None of the above assessments is final – primaries are notoriously fickle, candidates shoot themselves in the foot, their past always comes back to haunt them, their health can also raise its ugly head, who knows. But as of one week and change before Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders is riding the wave.
Which should scare the bejesus out of rightwing Jews in both Israel and the US, but that belongs in a different report… (Recommended: Ariel Natan Pasko’s Jewish Settlers for Sanders, Go Bernie Go! – just please don’t take it at face value…).