Political Energy Electrifies Nevada Ahead of Bellwether Caucus

Nevada’s unpredictable electorate and “fractured Latino vote” are in the spotlight on the eve of the state’s Democratic caucus, with polls showing Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders going into Saturday’s contest neck-and-neck.

While the Silver State was supposed to be a lock for Clinton, recent endorsements (and non-endorsements) and demonstrable voter enthusiasm have signaled a Sanders surge that’s backed up by polling.

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As The New Republic explained, “Nevada offers a much different terrain” than Iowa or New Hampshire: “The state’s population is 28 percent Latino, 8 percent Asian-American, and 9 percent African-American.”

“Sanders needs to prove he can win over Latinos, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans—there’s no other way that he can seriously compete for the nomination,” wrote TNR‘s Jeet Heer. “Clinton, conversely, needs to prove that her ‘firewall’ of non-white support, which she’s also counting on in the upcoming Southern primaries, is going to be strong enough to block Sanders.”

Des Moines Register reporter Jennifer Jacobs wrote on Friday:

Indeed, “the fractured Latino vote threatens to further erode Clinton’s aura as the party’s nominee-in-waiting,” the Guardian reported on Friday.

While Clinton “still maintains the backing of Nevada’s older, democratic establishment, including a string of prominent Latino figures…look beyond the endorsements from prominent figures, such as civil rights leaders Astrid Silva and Dolores Huerta and actor Eva Longoria, and the Latino community’s alliances begins to fray,” the paper continued, writing: