But that doesn’t mean all potential voting confusion will slide out of frame. For one thing, caucuses function in a vastly different manner than primaries. Also, Nevada is dealing with a major change in technical procedure that had been planned for months. And on top of that, the caucus process requires that different rounds’ results be reported — not just the final tally.
Going into Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tops national polling after his New Hampshire primary win. Meanwhile, former vice president Joe Biden, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) occupy the middle tier — although Bloomberg’s name won’t appear on the ballot until Super Tuesday.
It’s important to note that Nevada also looks a lot different from the two prior contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, demographically, given that the electorate is about one-third Hispanic or Latino. Sanders and Biden are banking on their ability to reach voters of color in these early-voting states.
Ahead of the Nevada caucuses, we saw the candidates combat one another in a debate hosted by MSNBC on Wednesday. It marked the ninth Democratic debate of the primary season, and it may have been the fieriest debate of the 2020 election cycle so far.
Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sanders for his liberal policies. Warren criticized Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) for her health-care plan, likening its length to “a Post-it Note.” Biden asserted that he’s “the only one on this stage that actually got anything done on health care.” And that’s just to name a few of the notable jabs.
But the one thing five out of the six participating candidates could agree on: their distaste for Bloomberg’s late entry into the race and his presence at the debate. While each of the 2020 contenders pitched their own candidacy, everyone also made sure to get in a shot at Bloomberg, who made his debate debut Wednesday. His competitors took aim at his astronomical wealth, his record on “stop-and-frisk” law enforcement tactics during his time as mayor of New York, and alleged sexual comments he’s made to women he has employed.
After Nevada, the South Carolina primary awaits a week from Saturday. After that, 14 states will hold primary elections on Super Tuesday. By that point, about 40 percent of all delegates will have been awarded — and the long road to a party nominee decision continues.