Leslie Marshall: Sanders, Biden and more – What's ahead for 2020 Democrats?

The Nevada Caucuses had a few surprises on Saturday. Now that they are over and as the 2020 Democratic candidates continue to fight for that brass ring called the nomination, what lies ahead? I break it down for you below – candidate by candidate:

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders won Nevada, which if you were watching the polls was no big surprise. What was surprising was the percentage by which he won. He got 47 percent of the vote. All the other candidates combined only got 53 percent of the vote.

Also interesting was how well Sanders did among Latino voters and African-Americans. This momentum is a strong second win for the self-proclaimed democratic socialist going into Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Not only that but Sanders is closing the gap on former Vice President Joe Biden and gaining more support among African-Americans in the state as well.


Joe Biden

I have said repeatedly, on both Fox News and my radio show, that in order to stay alive and in the game, Joe Biden needed to finish in the top three in Nevada. And he did. Biden came in second Saturday.

This should help him going into South Carolina, where he is currently the front-runner, although the margin by which he is leading has shrunk in recent weeks, especially after his lackluster turnout and support in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden’s second-place finish in Nevada will put some wind back into the sails of his campaign. Hopefully, his strong finish in Nevada will also boost campaign contributions. After all, Biden’s campaign needs money to advertise in those Super Tuesday states.

The former vice president better start working on his appeal to moderates – many of them went for Sanders in Nevada. And Biden did not do well among Latinos in Nevada, either.

The big picture: Biden needs a win in South Carolina for a big push going into Super Tuesday.

Pete Buttigieg

The former South Bend Indiana mayor is still doing well considering his top three ranking in all of the caucuses and primaries thus far in Iowa, New Hampshire and now Nevada.

Buttigieg continues to tell caucus and primary voters that he is the alternative to Bernie Sanders and that Sanders’ socialist plans won’t work with voters in a general election.

Buttigieg’s campaign also needs cash and his third-place ranking might get him some but others are also watching how he fares in less diverse, more white majority states.

It will be interesting to see if Buttigieg keeps dropping in popularity – he finished first in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and now third in Nevada. Keep your eye on South Carolina where the Democratic base has a large African-American population.

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a very strong performance at the most recent Democratic debate in Las Vegas last week but that did not translate to support in Nevada’s caucus.


As of now, the senator from Massachusetts has not reached the number one or number two slot in any of the caucuses or primaries. That is a problem. Not only for cash but for building any kind of momentum moving forward to South Carolina and Super Tuesday, especially because Warren was the only other progressive liberal option on that stage next to Sanders. She is the non-democratic socialist, the self-proclaimed pro-capitalist candidate.

Warren needs to come in first or second in South Carolina heading into Super Tuesday, otherwise I think the senator’s campaign will be on its last legs.

Amy Klobuchar

Unlike Sen. Warren, whose strong breakout performance at the debate before this Nevada caucus didn’t help her, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s strong breakout performance at the debate before the New Hampshire primary got her to third place.

But Klobuchar has not been able to build on the success of the New Hampshire primary. And in the last debate, she came off as so angry.

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Her personal attacks on Buttigieg just didn’t make her look desirable and, based on the numbers in Nevada, either electable or presidential.

Klobuchar also needs to do well in South Carolina or we might not see her make it to Super Tuesday. Like many of the candidates, she is also running out of cash, spending more than what’s coming in and losing the support of those moderate centrist Democrats to Buttigieg or Biden.


The bottom line: Democrats seem to know what they want but don’t seem to look at the polls. Let me explain… Exit polls in Nevada showed that an overwhelming percentage of caucus voters’ say their first priority is electing someone who can make Donald Trump a one-term president. And who won in the electability category in Nevada? Sen. Bernie Sanders, even though polls show a majority of voters aren’t comfortable with and would not vote for a democratic socialist.

Sanders’ front-runner status helps the more liberal and progressive wing of the Democratic party but it also helps Donald Trump. It’s Trump who could benefit from voters who feel that Sanders is far too extreme to be the next president of the United States.