Bernie Supporters To Jump Ship, Vote Trump If Hillary Wins Nomination

Richard Reeves explains how bernie sanders supporters will defect over to trump if the democrats pick hillary as their nominee.
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Sabotage and high-card draws: Why the Nevada caucus will get weird

The image of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is seen on an electronic display on the Las Vegas Strip.
Nevada is among the four crucial early nominating states this cycle. And yet, it’s the state that’s gotten the least attention.

Like most caucus states, the process in Nevada is complicated and at times confusing. But just like the state itself, it’s also delightfully weird. We’ve compiled a list of the offbeat things that will make you want to watch the Nevada caucuses.

A dog named Bradley Cooper wears a scarf with Hillary Clinton campaign logos as his owner calls to voters on Feb. 17, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Democrats and Republicans caucus on different days.

Democratic caucus-goers will head to their caucus locations on Feb. 20. Republicans will hold their Nevada caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 23 — three days after the GOP primary in South Carolina. The GOP caucuses are not all at the same time, starting within a four-hour period on Tuesday night.

And because of that…

You could technically vote twice, which could lead to sabotage. the two parties caucus on different days, it’s possible that people could find a way to vote in both.

Democrats, who go first, allow for same-day registration. So, Republicans who want to meddle in the Democratic primary could technically register as a Democrat on the Democratic caucus day, and then three days later vote in the Republican caucus.

Jon Ralston, the dean of the Nevada press corps, said there is a possible GOP-organized effort to caucus for Bernie Sanders in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton.

Caucuses actually take place in casinos.

Las Vegas is the most populous city in Nevada, with many residents employed by the hotels and casinos located on the iconic Strip.

For those working during the caucuses, Democrats have set up six caucus locations in casinos: the New York-New York, Caesars Palace, the Rio, the Paris, Harrah’s and the Wynn Resort.

If there’s a tie, it’s broken in the most Las Vegas way ever.

Much ado was made about Iowa using coin flips as tie-breakers on the Democratic side of the aisle in January. But in the gambling capital of the world,

a different game of chance is used to break a tie: high-card draw.

a different game of chance is used to break a tie: high-card draw.If Clinton and Sanders find themselves in a tie in any of the state’s caucus precincts, a representative from both candidates’ camps draws a card. Whoever gets the highest takes the precinct.

And just in case you’re wondering, aces are high.

Polling really doesn’t matter here, so we have no idea what will happen.

Nevada has only been a caucus state since 2008, meaning there’s little historical data to predict who will and who won’t caucus for either party.

That’s made polling — a system that is dependent on predicting who will actually turn out to vote — scarce in the contest.

It was long assumed that Clinton would easily carry the state, thanks to her support among Latinos, which make up a sizable portion of the Nevada electorate. But the few polls that have been released in recent days show the race in a tie.

Hillary Clinton Holds A Get Out The Caucus Event In Las Vegas

Hillary Clinton greets service workers in the employee cafeteria at the Rio Hotel & Casino on Feb. 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


In 2008, just just 117,000 people caucused when Clinton was running against Barack Obama. And that number could be lower this time around because the Culinary Union — the most powerful in Nevada — is sitting on the sidelines this year.

On the Republican side, what few polls we have show Donald Trump running away with the vote.

But here’s the caveat: Voting in a caucus state requires a heavy organizational lift because you have to inform your supporters when and where to go on caucus day. So, it’s unclear whether Trump can pull out a victory in Nevada.

In Iowa, also a caucus state, Trump came in second place despite polls showing him far ahead before caucus day.

Even if only a few thousand people vote, it could take a long time to get the results.

Turnout in the caucuses is remarkably low, but that doesn’t mean results will come in quickly.

In 2012, when Republicans had a competitive nominating contest, it took the Nevada Republican Party three days to count the 22,000 votes cast in the caucuses.

With the 2016 primary garnering even more attention and excitement, it’s possible that more votes will be cast. So it could be a very long night for viewers hoping to see a decision on the GOP side.


Nevada caucuses: Relevance magnified by New Hampshire primary results

voteBernie Sanders’ double-digit victory over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire magnified the importance of Nevada’s upcoming caucuses.

Clinton, it would appear, has significant advantages in Nevada. First, Nevada has been a stronghold for the Clintons since Bill Clinton first ran for president. She won the popular vote in the 2008 caucuses — although, because of the complexities of the rules — Obama got more delegates.

This year, her team has been working the state since April, contacting thousands of potential supporters and holding myriad caucus training events — in Spanish as well as English. She has, in fact, made continual efforts to build on her already strong support among Hispanics who, according to the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, could make up 30 percent of the party’s caucus voters on February 20.

Sanders, by contrast, didn’t open his first office in the state until November. Since then, however, he has hit the ground running, opening 11 offices statewide and spending more than double what Clinton has on TV and other advertising.

This past weekend, Sanders took the time to appear at an event on the University of Nevada, Reno campus sponsored by groups including the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Sanders backers held a caucus training session Saturday before that event at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and PLAN Director Bob Fulkerson said there were carloads of Sanders volunteers coming in from California to canvass throughout the Reno-Sparks area this coming week.

No one on the Clinton team is taking him lightly. Nor should they since the most recent poll by Washington Free Beacon/Target Point Consulting — released Friday — shows them neck-and-neck here at 45 percent. And the sample, instead of the usual 500 likely voters, was 1,236 voters.

“The ground game is what matters,” said Clinton strategist and organizer Michelle White. She said the campaign has been aggressive all the way from Las Vegas to Elko. But, said White, “Her strength is with the Hispanics.“

White said Clilnton’s positions also are aimed at Nevadans who she said share common values with Clinton and more closely mirror the makeup of the nation than many other states.

Organizers and backers of the remaining Republican candidates also say the caucuses here depend on “the ground game” — the ability of each to get his troops to the GOP caucuses Feb. 23.

Robert Uithoven, who’s running Sen. Ted Cruz’s Nevada effort, said campaign staff have been recruiting and training supporters all over the state. They held one in Carson City Saturday at the Basque Deli before the Carson City Lincoln Day Dinner that evening featuring Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Cruz’s highest profile Nevada backer.

“It’s going to be a very close race in Nevada,” Uithoven said. “There’s been a lot of time and investment by some of the other campaigns but I think our volunteers and activists are well organized.”

State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer said the Marco Rubio campaign has also “been working for months and months identifying supporters.”

“It’s all about turning out our people and we feel we have a strong network of people,” he said.

Kieckhefer also said he believes voters should get past Rubio’s poor debate performance in large part “because owning up to your mistakes is leadership and he did that.”

“That’s something that’s clearly been lacking in presidential politics for years,” he said.

Rubio also has a high profile Nevada supporter in Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison.

Jeb Bush may have the GOP’s strongest Nevada ground game and spokesman Ryan Erwin said campaign staff believe they’ll do well in Nevada.

“We have a fantastic ground game,” he said.

Erwin said the Bush team has an advantage similar to that enjoyed by Clinton in the team ran the Romney effort in 2012 and, so, started with a core of volunteers. Bush also has big-names supporting him in former Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Congressman Mark Amodei and Sen. Dean Heller.

“We’ve made a ridiculous number of voter contacts,” Erwin said (more than 300,000 and trained more than 1,000 potential caucus goers). “I’m confident we’ll do well in Nevada although the definition of well remains to be seen.”

Erwin also said he believes voters are beginning to shift toward candidates who have a track record of success, the “experience, expertise and temperament” to be president. That, he said, favors the former Florida governor as well as Ohio governor John Kasich.

Erwin said one of the challenges has been educating voters about how the caucuses work. In recent years, he said, the electorate has embraced such things as early voting that allows them to vote at a time and place convenient for them.

“Caucuses are the opposite,” he said because voters have to show up at a specific time and place. “It’s a clunky, inconvenient process.”

That’s especially true for the GOP in which the presidential preference vote is just half the equation. After that, the vote to name delegates is important because the preference vote only binds delegates on the first ballot. After that, delegates can vote for anyone. The failure of mainstream Republicans to understand that second part of the rules resulted in a Tea Party takeover of the state convention in both 2008 and 2012.

“Caucuses are so funky,” Erwin said. “I’m in it every day and it’s hard to have a handle on what everybody’s doing.”

As for other candidates, two of those interviewed for this piece said they see and feel each other’s presence but, Donald Trump, not so much.

“We assume Trump is here too but don’t see it as much,” said one politco, who asked not to be named.

Ironically, the two candidates whose teams failed to respond to email and phone calls asking for input are supporters of the New Hampshire victors: Trump and Sanders.

Trump Nevada Director Charles Munoz said a week ago he would have to get permission from leadership before being interviewed. He never got back to the Appeal.

An email to the Sanders campaign drew no response and a phone message asking his Nevada director Joan Kato to respond went unanswered.

One Nevada office holder all of the Republicans would love to have in their corner is the immensely popular Gov. Brian Sandoval. But he has, thus far, refused to commit, instead waiting to see how things shake out.

Controller Ron Knecht, who’s seldom shy about his positions, is also staying out of the fray at this point but for a different reason. He said he has so far come out for Govs. Scott Walker, followed by Rick Perry then Bobbie Jindal, followed that by introducing Rand Paul at an event in the Gold Dust West and held a reception at his own home for Mike Huckabee. All of those candidates, Knecht said, are now out of the race.

“I’m the political kiss of death,” the Republican said. “I think the thing for me to do is endorse Hillary or Bernie.”


Nevada polls 2016

Hillary Clinton just lost New Hampshire. Don’t assume she’ll win the next state, either.
By Aaron Blake February 9 at 8:13 PM Follow @aaronblake


Update: The Clinton campaign conceded at 8 p.m. Eastern time, as the last polls in New Hampshire were closing. The below post had been updated.There is a quirk in the Democratic presidential nominating calendar.


Nevada, which is generally thought to be the fourth of the four early states, will actually be the third to vote. Its caucuses are next on the nominating calendar and will take place Feb. 20 — the same day Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina. South Carolina Democrats go to the polls a week later, on Feb. 27.

And if you’re Hillary Clinton, that’s not ideal.


There is this perception that New Hampshire, which Bernie Sanders won Tuesday, is too white and too close to Sanders’s home state of Vermont for Clinton to win. After New Hampshire, though, the states get significantly more diverse; basically every one of the next couple dozen states to vote is less white than Iowa and New Hampshire.

We’ve called this Clinton’s “nonwhite firewall.” Basically: More-diverse electorates start voting, and Clinton has a better chance of putting together a series of wins and ending Bernie Sanders once and for all.

But while Clinton might indeed be a shoo-in in South Carolina, that isn’t so clearly the case in Nevada. Witness this tweet Monday from chief Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston:

Hillary has an advantage. But it will be closer than people think, and she’s not a lock. #wematter

— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 8, 2016

Technically, Nevada is actually the more-diverse state of the two. Non-Hispanic whites comprise just 51.5 percent of the population in Nevada, compared to 64 percent in South Carolina. Nevada has many Hispanics, while South Carolina has a large black population.

But to assume that both play to Clinton’s strengths in similar ways is to miss the point. For a few reasons:

1. While Nevada is even more diverse than South Carolina, its caucuses have been much whiter.

According to 2008 entrance polls, just 15 percent of Democratic caucus-goers were Latinos, even as they were 24 percent of the population of the state.

This has plenty to do with the fact that, while about a quarter of the state was Hispanic, just 12 percent of eligible voters in Nevada were Hispanic, thanks to huge populations of young and undocumented Latinos. In fact, in 2008, black voters actually comprised the same portion of the caucus electorate as Hispanics — 15 percent — despite being less than 10 percent of the state’s population.

That black turnout likely had at least something to do with the potential first black president being on the ballot — something that will not be true in this year’s caucuses. Thus, even as the state’s Hispanic population has climbed from 24 percent to 28 percent over the last eight years, we could very well see an electorate that is no more diverse than it was in 2008.

And it wasn’t a very diverse electorate. In fact, it was nearly two-thirds white — compared to 43 percent in South Carolina that year.

2. Latinos are less overwhelmingly for Clinton

An automated Public Policy Polling national survey last week showed Clinton leading Sanders by 74 points among black voters, but by just 12 points among Hispanics.

That’s one survey, but it’s clear that Sanders’s problem is much more acute among black voters, who are a much bigger presence in South Carolina than in Nevada.

3. Nevada is a caucus state

This is a format that requires a time investment and rewards impassioned supporters, who are more numerous on the Sanders side of the 2016 primary, all signs indicate. Clinton will certainly have a formidable operation on the ground in Nevada, but as we saw in Iowa, intensity can make up for a lot.

So could Sanders actually win Nevada? It’s very difficult to say with any certainty, given the dearth of quality public polling. The last high-quality survey from CNN-ORC in October showed Clinton leading Sanders by 22 points (58-36) in a race without Joe Biden and with Martin O’Malley. Of course, back then, CNN’s polling showed Clinton ahead in Iowa by 18 points. A lot could have changed in Nevada, too.

But the atmospherics are there for a competitive state — one that could extend Clinton’s misery for just a little while longer or at least be a headache, before her campaign can fall back on the much more solid portions of her firewall.

Nevada Democratic Caucus Polls 2016: Hillary Ahead, but That Could Change

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To Topple US ‘Oligarchy,’ Sanders Calls for Publicly Financed Elections

To Topple US 'Oligarchy,' Sanders Calls for Publicly Financed ElectionsPresidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has been vocal on the campaign trail about the scourge of big money in politics, said on Sunday he would push legislation in Congress to provide public funding of elections.

“We’re going to introduce legislation which will allow people to run for office without having to beg money from the wealthy and the powerful,” Sanders told a crowd of about 300 people at a town meeting in Rollinsford, New Hampshire.

Sanders blasted the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision that gutted limits on campaign funding and paved the way for the über-wealthy to spend unlimited sums to influence election outcomes. His criticisms echoed those voiced last week by former president Jimmy Carter, who said on the Thom Hartmann Program that the U.S. is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”

Referring to Citizens United, Sanders said on Sunday: “We must overturn that decision before it’s too late. We are increasingly living in an oligarchy where big money is buying politicians.”

The senator from Vermont compared politicians to NASCAR drivers with their sponsor’s logos emblazoned on their uniforms, suggesting some politicians should wear signs saying, “I’m sponsored by the Koch brothers” or “I’m sponsored by Big Oil.”

In his own presidential campaign, Sanders has eschewed support from super PACs, which the Citizens United ruling spawned. Instead, Sanders has relied overwhelmingly on small donations from individual contributors. Altogether, more than 76.5 percent of all contributions—totaling more than $10.5 million—came from individuals who donated less than $200.

Meanwhile, as The Intercept reported Monday, Sanders’ chief rival, frontrunner Hillary Clinton, has been more vague and less inspiring when it comes to the matter of big money in politics.

Video released Monday by Democracy Matters, a national student organization with a focus on campaign finance reform, shows Clinton responding to a question about campaign finance with what The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz described as “a flavorless mush of platitudes.”

It’s all well and good for Clinton to state her support for publicly funded elections, Schwarz argued—but she has yet to walk the walk.

It’s always better to have big-time politicians say the right thing than not. And Clinton may in her heart “believe” in publicly financed elections. But Lance Armstrong may also truly “believe” in clean, no-doping professional cycling.

And just as Armstrong did what he felt he had to to win, Clinton has declined to participate in the presidential public financing system, because it places limits on how much candidates can spend. She did not take the available matching funds in her 2008 primary campaign. Nor is there any indication she will for the 2016 primaries or (assuming she’s the Democratic nominee) the presidential campaign.

It’s defensible for her not to want to unilaterally disarm for the 2016 general election, since the public financing system would limit her campaign’s total spending to only $100 million. (Romney spent almost $500 million in 2012, even without counting outside spending, and the 2016 Republican candidate will surely spend far more.) It was perhaps legitimate for her to opt out for the 2008 primaries, since Obama did as well. But Clinton could participate in the public financing system in the 2016 primaries versus Bernie Sanders et al. She won’t.

“If Clinton truly does support public financing,” Schwarz wrote, “the most important thing she could do would be to strongly endorse the Government By the People Act—which would create a significant public financing system for Congress—and use her campaign to educate people about it.”

To that end, Democracy Matters posted several “follow-up” questions for Clinton, including this one: “While it is great news that you ‘believe in public financing of elections,’ those of us interested in restoring a fair democracy for all Americans are anxious to hear your specific legislative plans. Do you support John Sarbanes’ Government by the People Act? Would you make its passage a top priority of your administration from day 1?”

For his part, Sanders has signed the organization’s “Democracy Pledge” which states: “I support restoring democracy by publicly financing elections and taking big money out politics.”

Clinton has yet to do so.
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