Saturday saw the first results come in of the Democratic Caucuses come in. While we don’t yet have complete figures, or full delegate allocations, we do have some things we learned from the results tonight.
Sanders Didn’t Underperform
Having final numbers would be good here, if only so we could truly estimate the size of the win versus the polls, but what is clear is that Bernie Sanders isn’t going to underperform his polls in the state, as he did in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders is going to get the commanding victory his campaign has wanted from the start, with victories (per the MSNBC entrance polls) with white and Hispanic voters, and a sizable share of the black vote. There’s nothing to criticize in Sanders’ results – he won.
Bye Bye Tom
Tom Steyer is in a huge amount of trouble. Having spent so much money and time in Nevada, Steyer is looking at a 6th place finish in the state on raw votes, and almost assuredly no delegates to the national convention. While the vagaries of a caucus may be responsible for some of the issues, Steyer’s money didn’t buy him a lot of votes, even if it did buy him a lot of polled support. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask whether a similar fate is headed for Billionaire compatriot Mike Bloomberg on Super Tuesday, based on this, but we are dealing with a sample of one so extrapolation may be foolish. Either way, Tom Steyer’s longshot candidacy is in a lot of trouble nationally, and this can’t be good for his chances in South Carolina in a week. Go 0/2 in getting delegates there and Steyer’s campaign will end before it really began.
Warren, Biden, and Buttigieg Keep Going On
I really don’t know what to make of the trio of results these three posted, but let’s go through them. For Elizabeth Warren, fourth place isn’t great, but most of the Nevada votes were cast before the Nevada debate and she suddenly has money again after raising $14M in the last couple of weeks. It’s a bad result, but at this point she has the cash to go to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, so she will (probably) do so. For Biden, his probable second place showing is probably the best he can do, but he needs to do better with black voters in South Carolina to stop Sanders, and it is unclear if he actually can do so or not. But it’s not a bad result, and that’s the first time this cycle we can say that about Biden. As for Pete, Nevada was never going to be a good state for him. To beat Warren and Amy Klobuchar is good, and to (presumably) keep getting delegates is good. None of these candidates did much better or worse than the conventional wisdom, and all have cases that can be spun either positively or negatively, depending how kindly one looks at them. If I wanted to be boosters for any of the three, the evidence exists, but none of them increased their chances at being the nominee tonight, so people thinking that’s a bad night is reasonable.
Anyone Talking About Pete’s Minority Voter Problems, Meet Amy Klobuchar
If you think Pete’s candidacy is flawed because of an inability to attract non-white voters, may I treat you to Amy Klobuchar. Any story about her chances that doesn’t include the fact she gets lapped by Buttigieg – let alone Sanders, Biden, and Bloomberg – with black and Hispanic voters is one that ignores the reason why even as she rose in New Hampshire, she has a problem winning large amounts of delegates. She may win Minnesota, but beyond that, her path is limited as soon as a state gets even vaguely diverse – and her result tonight proves it.