The Incredible Shrinking Sanders Vote: Iowa & New Hampshire Exposed the Dangers of a Diminishing Base

February 12, 2020

62 Percent of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Women Supporters Abandoned His Candidacy in New Hampshire

Possible Paths for Amy Klobuchar

Despite Elizabeth Warren’s Bad Night in NH, Nevertheless, She’s Persisting

By Al Giordano

“The fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks, with ads mocking other candidates and with supporters of some candidates shouting curses at other Democratic candidates. These harsh tactics might work if you are willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing. They might work if you don’t worry about leaving our party and our politics worse off than how you found it. And they might work if you think only you have all the answers and only you are the solution to all our problems.”

  • Elizabeth Warren, February 11, 2020

Subscribers received my New Hampshire primary projection on Monday. It accurately projected Bernie Sanders to win first place. I projected Sanders to win with 28 percent, and he received 25.7 percent (2.3 percent less).

My projection had Pete Buttigieg to come in second (the projection was that he’d win 25 percent, and he received 24.4 percent, off by 0.6 points).

Sanders underperformed from his Iowa results last week by more than five points. Whereas in Iowa he had won, on first ballot, 48 percent of his 2016 voters there, in New Hampshire he sunk to under 43 percent of them. And he lost them not to Elizabeth Warren, but to Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.

The loss of women voters was more precipitous: Sanders received only 21 percent of the votes of women who voted yesterday. In 2016 in New Hampshire he received 55 percent of women’s votes, meaning 62 percent of women who had previously supported Sanders have now abandoned him as a preference.

(Didn’t receive those projections because you are not yet a subscriber? Click here and subscribe and we’ll send them to you along with the upcoming projections for Nevada and the rest of the contests ahead.)

Not all of my projection hit target. I missed what I now consider the most significant story of the night: Amy Klobuchar rocketed out of Minnesota’s Iron Range to finish a strong third, with 19.8 percent of the vote.

To those of you who tried to tell me in the final days, after Klobuchar’s stellar debate performance on Friday, that you perceived her with the momentum, you were right! I I should have made a mental note of how many of you who told me that are college-educated women, representative of the exact demographic group that moved in the final days from Elizabeth Warren to Klobuchar.

Today I recall the number of times I wrote over the past year that a critical mass of Democratic women would, when it comes time to cast a vote, go with the woman they saw with the best shot at winning the particular primary in which they vote. In retrospect, I should have paid more heed to my own longstanding “theory of the case.” That is huge takeaway from yesterday’s results that will hamper Sanders’ chances going forward.

The shift in the votes of college educated women – a demographic that had not, prior to yesterday, showed up in Klobuchar’s poll support – is now an important flare shot up into the skies and illuminating the Democratic primaries to come. Through the final series of surveys, Warren was winning 20 percent or more of college educated voters and similar numbers of New Hampshire women’s votes, while polls had Klobuchar in the single digits of the college educated and around ten percent of New Hampshire women overall.

By the end of the night, Klobuchar came in first among the college educated with 25 percent and 23 percent of women, slightly behind Pete Buttigieg’s 26 percent. Those are the demographic groups – especially where they overlapped – that pulled Klobuchar up over the 15 percent threshold to her final count of almost 20 percent of the vote, giving her 25 percent of the delegates.

For weeks prior, the data consistently showed that college educated voters had favored Buttigieg and Warren. They were the two candidates most vying for those votes, each skewing higher in their own gender lanes. In a New Hampshire primary electorate in which 56 percent of all voters had a college degree (three or four points higher than the national Democratic primaries average), they became the decisive group to determine the night’s result.

Klobuchar’s surge among college educated women overlapped with some other demographic trends that boosted her last night: Women 65 and over, rural voters, and the eleven percent of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters who attend church at least once a week, with whom Klobuchar scored 28 percent, ahead of the rest of the field. Each of those results is potentially significant in the primaries to come. I’ll dig deeper into how that might play out in a moment.

It’s All About the Delegates, & Only About the Delegates

Those who are today calling Sanders the “frontrunner” for the Democratic nomination are mistaken. They take the sports coverage of the campaign too seriously. Many are confusing two very different measures: a plurality of votes does not equal a majority of votes. Far from advancing closer to the goal of being the Democratic nominee over the past two weeks, Sanders revealed profound and wounding weaknesses in Iowa, and then even greater problems going forward in New Hampshire.

I feel badly for my colleagues in data, who I respect eternally, and some of them I love, but who have been trying to game-out the Democratic nomination by leaning heavily on the precedents of previous contests in which media momentum among candidates who were all generally acceptable to a broad party coalition tended to create a fast winnowing field and then snowball effect for frontrunners. Their models are well-constructed but, so far, they pop out very different conclusions than my own.

After Super Tuesday, on March 3, when all of the moving demographic pieces of the Democratic coalition have weighed in (and we will also be able to measure Michael Bloomberg’s support bases among actual voters, a potentially huge x-factor ahead) those models are going to start to become more realistic. But not until then will there be enough data of actual votes cast to be able to successfully game out the convention result. Statistical models, after all, are notoriously bad at anticipating the behavior of actual human beings during a perceived crisis. And crisis management is how Democrats increasingly view the 2020 election.

That’s because it’s becoming clearer that Democrats are moving convincingly toward a contested convention (which I define as one in which no candidate begins with the 50-percent-plus-one delegate necessary to win, but one of them does cobble together a coalition on that first ballot that gets her or him there), or a brokered convention (one that goes to a second ballot and that includes super delegate votes).

The field will not sufficiently narrow before Super Tuesday on March 3 – by when 38 percent of the pledged delegates will already be chosen – to repeat the dynamics of past races upon which statistical projections based on past contests rely. And by then it will be too late for anyone to get to a majority of delegates.

In the brokered convention scenario, a second ballot would include the votes of 716 unpledged super delegates.

The biggest bloc of them – more than one out of three – consists of 232 US House Democrats and a dozen Democratic Senators who themselves will be on the 2020 ballot and will vote for their own survival, looking for a candidate atop of the ticket that they can believe will help and not hurt them win reelection in November. An additional large group of super delegates are Democratic elected officials at the state and local level. They will have the same priority paramount. Any past precedent that causes some to believe that they will acquiesce to the candidate with a plurality of convention delegates will likely fly out the window if it’s a candidate whose coattails, as nominee, would make them worry for their own political survival.

Women and men fighting for their own survival cannot be easily bullied or coerced. That’s just one way in which the old models are already broken at an hour when everybody’s political and actual future is at risk in the era of Trump.

If we’ve learned anything from the past four years, it’s that history and tradition are no longer good yardsticks with which to measure the future. Donald Trump’s presidency – and the mutated media landscape in which we now find ourselves – have blown all past precedence into shards.

After two contests, this is the pledged delegate count: Pete Buttigieg 23 (35 percent), Bernie Sanders 21 (32 percent), Elizabeth Warren 8 (12 percent), Amy Klobuchar 7 (11 percent) and Joe Biden 6 (9 percent).

Four years ago, at this young stage, Bernie Sanders had 36 (53 percent) and Hillary Clinton had 32 (47 percent).

White Rural Voters Are the Only Demographic Group that Has Spoken

There are still 98 percent of the delegates left to be chosen, and from a far more diverse electorate (one that, in the end, awarded Clinton 54 percent and Sanders 46 percent of the pledged delegates nationwide). Clinton’s total was less than her 57 percent of all primary votes, and Sanders’ more than his 43 percent of the vote, because Democratic proportional allocation rules at the state and congressional district level are designed to “round downward” for the winner in each entity and “round upward” for other candidates that meet the 15 percent threshold to be awarded delegates. What worked in Sanders’ favor then would work against him in contests where, in a crowded field such as yesterday’s in New Hampshire, he might win a plurality, in the same ways it suppressed Hillary Clinton’s totals in 2016. Live by the math, die by the math.

Yesterday, for example, while Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, he and second-place finisher Buttigieg tied in the delegate count with nine apiece. In states and congressional districts with an even number of delegates that may happen a lot going forward (New Hampshire gets 24 overall) while in states with an odd number of delegates (Iowa, this year, has 41) the two statewide measurements – that of “at large” and “pledged elected official” delegates awarded – tend to give an extra delegate overall to the first-place finisher in odd-numbered categories.

The only demographic projections that can begin to rely on Iowa and New Hampshire results are those of white, rural states and congressional districts. Those two states reveal nothing about African-American, Hispanic or Asian and Pacific Islander voting preferences ahead.

Together, those voters, not rural whites, will cast around 45 percent of all remaining primary votes. The plethora of gerrymandered congressional districts that concentrate those populations together – combined with the Democratic party rules that assign delegates based on 2016 Democratic votes for president in each state and CD – will raise the choices of that 45 percent of the electorate to 49 percent of all convention delegates.

The most important measurements to come out of Iowa and New Hampshire are those of Senator Sanders’ 2020 ceiling compared to his larger 2016 shares of the votes. His underperformance with just 48 percent of his 2016 Iowa vote, and, a week later, with just 43 percent of his 2016 New Hampshire vote, combined with the revelation that the Sanders campaign proved unable to turn out young and new voters at the same higher levels it did four years ago, has given us a clear glimpse of what is to come. Most devastatingly for Sanders is that white and rural voters were precisely his largest base in 2016.

Look at the map of Clinton vs. Sanders results from four years ago, nationwide. That green northern swath from Maine through upstate New York to Michigan and the rest of the Rust Belt, through the breadbasket plains states and the Pacific Northwest represent congressional districts where Sanders won a majority of votes and delegates. The yellow pockets inside those same states are smaller in geographic size but larger in population – cities and suburbs – where Clinton won not just a plurality, but a majority, of votes.

Similarly, in that golden-hued southern corridor from New York City through the Mid-Atlantic states, Florida and the South, Texas and the Southwest, ending in central and southern California show where Clinton won majorities. The pockets of green in those places represent white rural areas where Sanders won a majority in 2016.

The demographic results from Iowa and New Hampshire this year are only useful going forward to be able to project how other white rural areas will likely vote in 2020 – but with the following hugely important exceptions:

The more diverse populations of Washington state and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Minnesota, where caucuses were held in 2016 to be replaced by higher-turnout primaries in 2020, cannot be accurately predicted based on their 2016 results because this year the larger primary turnout will more ably measure the minority populations of those more diverse states. But more importantly, even in the best-case scenario for Sanders in white rural America, he’ll be underperforming his 2016 vote totals similarly to how he did in the first two states: from over 50 percent to less than half that, which means his delegate count ceiling is lower by similar degrees.

Sanders has some limited opportunity going forward to pick up more Hispanic and black voters than he did in 2016, but I’ve spent the day crunching demographic and polling numbers and will demonstrate in this report why his campaign’s claims of being “the most diverse” are meaningless spin. Sanders still lose a majority of those voters everywhere going forward.

The Big Lie: “Sanders Has the Most Diverse Base’

It takes a special kind of “Bernie Math” for his campaign staffers to keep claiming, loudly in the scolding, angry tone of sectarian doctrine, that Sanders has advanced significantly among black and Hispanic voters in the past four years. The data does not support it.

In 2016 he received 30 to 35 percent of Hispanic votes, largely because those populations skew more toward his two best demographics, young and male, than in other minority populations. Clinton got 65 to 70 percent of those voters in 2016 but with multiple candidates competing for them, 30 percent seems large only when the remaining 70 is divided between others. Even if he expands his Hispanic support (one Nevada poll had him with 42 percent), there is no data that at all suggests he can win a majority of that 15 percent of primary voters. All the data points convincingly against that in 2020. Only with the sleight of hand that intentionally confounds a plurality with a majority can such a specious claim be made.

Likewise in 2016, Sanders received between 10 and 25 percent of African-American votes, the lower end of that in the South (where more black voters reside) and the higher end in northern cities like New York and Chicago.

The recent Quinnipiac poll had one of the highest national black voter averages for him to date, at 17 percent, largely boosted by young and male black voters. Here’s what works against Sanders being able to get many delegates from that subgroup: the geographic concentrations of older black voters in Congressional Black Caucus districts, the more disperse geographic distribution of younger black voters, and, sadly, the systematic injustice a criminal justice system that has defined one of three black men as convicted felons, unable to vote in many states or with cumbersome processes to apply to regain that right. They can answer pollster queries, but still cannot easily vote.

That 17 percent thus likely falls under the 15 percent delegate threshold precisely in those districts and states where black voting power is collectively strongest. Even if the Sanders campaign is able to increase those numbers, as it did in 2016, in northern states and cities, there are powerful demographic factors – age and weekly church attendance among them – of the large southern black populations that will likely continue to hold Sanders below delegate threshold even if he increases support in a multi-candidate field.

State government gerrymandering of congressional districts, together with Democratic Party rules that apportion delegates per CD based on each’s vote for the last Democratic presidential nominee, have meant that enough of those districts count with 7 or 8 delegates compared to the national average of 5, boosting representation from 21 percent of overall primary voters to 26 percent of the convention delegates. To underperform in an overperforming demographic is a recipe for failure.

The difference between arriving at the convention with the 46 percent of delegates Sanders had in pocket last time and the much lower number he will have in 2020 is gigantic and even more so for a candidate and supporters that have daily repulsed and alienated their rivals’ supporters and likely delegates.

Warren Did Not Divide ‘Sanders Voters’: Women Voters Left Him

There is an increasingly loud chorus of online Sanders supporters hectoring Elizabeth Warren’s voters to “not divide progressives” and fall into line with their candidate. It comes with daily insults at Elizabeth Warren herself demanding that she disappear from the public stage.

In her speech last night after polls closed in Manchester, Warren made it clear she is not dropping out.

Au contraire! Last night, after delivering her vision of the America she wants to live in, Warren said:

“I can see that America. That is an America worth fighting for. And if you can imagine that America, if you think that America is worth fighting for, then join us. Go to, pitch in a few bucks, sign up to volunteer. Get involved in this campaign. This moment will not come again.”

Far from backing away, the Warren campaign continues to have 1,000 paid operatives on the ground and has just set a goal of raising $7 million more dollars before Nevada’s February 22 caucuses. And from what I’ve heard from many of her 1 million-plus donors and her volunteers, they’re not ready to move anywhere else yet. It really is something to behold. The Warren Democrats are now organized into a big moving piece of the Democratic coalition, New Hampshire results be damned and full speed ahead. The utter impossibility of the task has only seemed to give it more luster. I imagine a similar phenomenon might have happened had Kamala Harris remained in the race even after concluding that the odds were impossibly steep.

Nevertheless, she’s persisting.

According to New Hampshire exit polls, Warren received the votes of 13 percent of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 backers but only four percent of Bernie Sanders’ former supporters. Even if she had dropped out before New Hampshire voted, that would not have given Sanders more than an additional one percent above his 25.8 percent total. Another eight percent of Warren’s primary vote would have moved to the remaining candidates.

The common perception that Warren was siphoning “progressive votes” away from Sanders has crashed now on the rocks of electoral reality. The facts won’t stop them from badgering her and her supporters: that cohort is addicted to blaming their own shortcomings on a woman.

Those Warren did lose in the final days between her poll-measured support and her actual vote went mostly to Klobuchar and some to Buttigieg. They are progressive voters, but pragmatic in the national crisis. They want to win and they have concluded that signing on with an ideological crusade is not the path to it.

Chew on that: Bernie Sanders lost more progressives votes yesterday to Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg than he did to Elizabeth Warren, many of them who were among the 58 percent of voters who told exit pollsters they favored public health care replacing private insurance. And they were mostly women.

To claim that Warren “steals” women voters from Sanders denies women voters their own agency. It is an argument that drips in sexist presumptions that women can be herded and controlled. Democratic women are again showing they think for themselves. What’s not progressive about that?

I cannot look at yesterday’s results and tell you that Elizabeth Warren has a path to winning enough delegates to win the nomination, or many more delegates at all. But she is smart to stay in the race. I think of all the moments in recent weeks when so many of us had wished that Kamala Harris had just hung in there and still been in the contest. Warren has chosen not to give us that same disappointment.

There are good reasons for Warren to remain in the fight. She will be on the debate stage next week. She has a field infrastructure in all the Super Tuesday states.

One keen observer, the dean of Nevada political journalism, Jon Ralston, in an interview with CNN today, post New Hampshire, was asked by Chris Cilliza, “Finish this sentence. The dark horse candidate in Nevada is _______. Now explain.”

Ralston answered, “I’d say Elizabeth Warren. I might have said Klobuchar, but I just don’t see her with the organizational strength. Or Steyer because everyone in Nevada knows him now with his millions spent here. But if Warren can save her campaign, it’s because she still has a strong organization here and is a strong performer on the trail. So, I’d say Warren, but if any of the three I mentioned do well, I will take credit. That’s what pundits do.”

I can’t tell you I agree with Ralston. I can’t tell you I disagree with him. I can tell you, if you don’t know already, that there is no keener political reporter with better sources in Nevada than Ralston. But whether or not she has that potential, she is needed on that debate stage with the message she voiced last night:

“So, the results are still coming in from across the state but right now it is clear that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights, and I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague Amy Klobuchar for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.

“But since we are here tonight among family and friends, I also want us to be honest with ourselves as Democrats. We might be headed toward another one of those long primary fights that lasts for months. We’re two states in with 55 states and territories to go. We still have 98 percent of our delegates for our nomination up for grabs. And Americans in every part of the country are going to make their voices heard.

“The question for us Democrats is whether it will be a long, bitter rehash of the same old divides in our party, or whether we can find another way. Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg are both great people and either one of them would be a far better president than Donald Trump and I respect them both. But the fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks, with ads mocking other candidates and with supporters of some candidates shouting curses at other Democratic candidates. These harsh tactics might work if you are willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing. They might work if you don’t worry about leaving our party and our politics worse off than how you found it. And they might work if you think only you have all the answers and only you are the solution to all our problems.

“But if we’re gonna beat Donald Trump in November, we are going to need huge turnout within our party. And to get that turnout we will need a nominee that the broadest coalition of our party feels like they can get behind.”

That message needs to be shouted from the mountaintop, the debate podium, and the platform of a national candidacy. Warren is taking a risk in doing so. Imagine if, on March 3, she is still in the race but loses the Massachusetts primary. But as a mentor of mine liked to say, in life, one either goes for the money or one goes for broke. Warren has risen to the urgency of the crisis and the moment and is going for broke.

And if a rising Amy Klobuchar comes under sexist fire from any of the men on that debate stage, we can be sure that she won’t have to face it alone. She’ll have a skilled wing-woman on that stage with her, the emergent voice of the party’s conscience.

When I noticed this morning that Warren currently has twelve percent of the delegate total, I remembered that number from a previous Democratic convention: In 1984, when Jesse Jackson arrived there with just twelve percent of the delegates. Jackson was under no illusion he could win. He was running to build a movement. Four years later he returned to the convention, in 1988, with 30 percent of the delegates and was able to shape the future of the Democratic Party to come. I remember it well because I was in his corner. Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition planted the seeds of the Obama Coalition of the next century.

Some candidates speak of having a “movement” when they don’t really have one. Others make a movement even if chances are they may not emerge themselves to reap its harvest.

Warren invoked of Jesse Jackson and that history last night:

“You know, the reverend Jesse Jackson once said that it takes two wings to fly. And I think he’s right. Our campaign is best positioned to beat Donald Trump in November because we can unite our party. We can unite our party and this country by mobilizing people behind ideas that are not only popular with huge majorities of the American people but that also accomplish structural change for our broken government and our rigged economy.

“We can unite people around a wealth tax on the very-richest Americans so we can invest in education for all our children. We can unite people around ending corruption in Washington, ending the corruption that has meant stagnant wages, rising costs and a tighter and tighter squeeze on the middle class. We can do that.”

It is also precisely the message for a contested or brokered convention that could be at risk of being held hostage, a second time in a row, by an intransigent faction that would rather “burn down the house” (interesting verb Warren chose there) than make it stronger..

Warren could win zero more delegates by staying in, or she could rebound in some states along the way, or last until the field narrows in a way more conducive to her message. Nobody knows. Nobody can claim to know.

But that message, oh, that message, is aimed like a heat-seeking missile at a contested or brokered convention. And if the party divisions are as great then as they are today – a good bet is they probably will be, or worse – that’s the message that will be needed on the ticket.

For Elizabeth Warren, this path is not without risk. But life and politics are not about avoiding risks, but, rather, about taking the right ones.

Potential Paths for Klobuchar to Win

Just as nobody can tell you, in advance, whether Amy Klobuchar’s momentum coming out of New Hampshire will bring her victory or will vanish quickly in the mist of what continues to be a large, un-winnowed, field, nobody can honestly tell you that it won’t.

Whether we call it “Klomentum,” sing “Hey, Ho, let’s Klo,” or shift from “LF-Go” to “LF-Klo,” some stars have aligned in the past 24 hours for Amy Klobuchar. And some have fallen from others’ skies. The contest has not yet been as unsettled as it suddenly is today.

Klobuchar reportedly raised $2.5 million from last night to morning, after already having put more than a million-dollar ad buy on Nevada TV. The 30 staffers are on the ground there for the early voting that begins next week and the caucuses on Saturday, February 22 are not as numerous or embedded as those of some other campaigns. But neither was her field organization in New Hampshire.

As it turned out, ground organization did not matter as much in New Hampshire as it had in Iowa. (That doesn’t mean it won’t matter in Nevada or elsewhere.) About half the voters told exit pollsters that they had made their decision in the final week of the campaign. And about half said last Friday’s debate was important to their decision. There’s a debate next week in Las Vegas. We already know that Amy Klobuchar is good at debating.

Three of Nevada’s four Congressional Districts are majority-white – and the two in the northern part of the state even more so. Those two are rural. The second, represented by Republican US Rep. Mark Amodei, was won by Bernie Sanders in 2016. We know from New Hampshire’s results that Klobuchar won a quarter of the delegates from rural and white New Hampshire on terrain that Sanders had won a majority four years ago, and did so without a massive field organization. The New Hampshire results suggest that areas with similar demographics could be receptive to Klobuchar’s message and personality.

And there is another demographic result from New Hampshire that might have some potential with white, rural voters and beyond that niche: Klobuchar’s having won the most votes of the church-going population.

Nevada looks more like America than New Hampshire does, demographically. That’s why it was elevated to join the first four contests in the Democratic primaries. Who goes to church at least one a week more than most White Americans? Hispanic and African Americans do. 34 percent of white Americans attend church at least once a week. A larger number of Hispanic Americans, 39 percent, do. And a significantly larger number of African Americans are weekly churchgoers: 47 percent. Black and brown Americans are more likely to be “absolutely certain” in god’s existence than white Americans, according to the Pew Center’s annual tracking surveys. And only among white Americans is there a large (twenty percent) group of atheists or agnostics.

Does Amy Klobuchar’s support among churchgoing white Americans automatically transfer to Hispanic and black Americans? No, not necessarily. But if you’re running Klobuchar’s campaign the possibility is worthwhile to test, to seek out ministers, priests, laypersons and community leaders in religious America from demographics that do not any more have candidates in the contest of their own. These are communities that often respond well to political leaders that seek them out. I don’t know whether the Klobuchar campaign has such plans or not, but in an all-white field with two secular Jewish Americans, a religious gay man, a Massachusetts woman who appeals to secular voters and Joe Biden, who is to say Klobuchar does not have an opening there? If I were running her campaign, I’d invest in testing those waters, based on what New Hampshire churchgoers just revealed.

Bernie Sanders has been for weeks as widely expected to win Nevada as he was in New Hampshire, where he sunk dangerously close to losing it outright. And yesterday, the powerful Culinary Workers Union that represents 800,000 casino, hotel and restaurant laborers along the Vegas and Reno strips – a union historically aligned with former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid – hit Sanders with a gut punch. The union sent out a leaflet and email missive to its membership informing them that Sanders’ health care plan would take away the free health insurance the union won in negotiations with the casino bosses. Then, today, after the “Bernie Bro” contingent online (they hate the term, but they did just lose almost two-thirds of their women voters; the term didn’t “erase” them, the campaign did!) viciously attacked, the union hit the Sanders camp again.

Nevada Independent reporter Megan Messerly tweeted today that “@Culinary226 releases a statement criticizing Sanders supporters for having ‘viciously attacked the Culinary Union … simply because our union has provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades.’”

The union – most its members women, and largely Hispanic and African American – could have a lot to say about the results of the Nevada caucus. And the Sanders campaign has handled it with the same sectarian aggression that has lost it many other sectors of voters since 2016.

The wheel is in spin. While candidates cannot easily change their positions without a downside, less engraved in stone are voter perceptions on which candidates can win any given contest. Those have been shifting rapidly already in this campaign. And a big thing we learned from Iowa and New Hampshire: those perceptions shape the movement of voters toward some and away from others.

There is no clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. There’s not even a candidate who yet has a lock on a plurality of delegates and none are likely heading into that convention with a majority. We are in uncharted terrain in a national crisis. The contest is more wide open today than it was two weeks ago before Iowa and New Hampshire voted.

Opportunities abound for multiple candidates. Let’s see who best musters the talent and message to seize them.

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