Special

Hillary Clinton able to snag first sizable primary victory

Credit: Zeke Rosenberg/Senior Staff, Created on Venngage Credit: Zeke Rosenberg/Senior Staff, Created on Venngage

Voters in Nevada voiced their preferences for the Democratic presidential nominee on Saturday. While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won with over 50 percent of the vote, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) once again had a strong showing that continues to challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
Shortly after 5 p.m., the Clinton campaign was able to take a sigh of relief for the first time this primary season. After the razor-thin margin of victory in Iowa and the considerable loss in New Hampshire, Clinton finally came away with a sizable margin of victory over her only competitor.

In entrance polling conducted by Edison Research and utilized by a variety of news outlets, Clinton commanded the support of 57 percent of women and 76 percent of blacks, both critical voting blocks for Democrats. In a state like South Carolina where about 60 percent of Democratic voters are black, Clinton’s efforts to win their support will likely pay off.

Meanwhile, Sanders declared in his concession speech that he was proud to have come so close to victory after being behind by more than 25 points a month ago. In entrance polling, 53 percent of Hispanics indicated support for Sanders, suggesting that the senator may yet appeal to diverse voting populations that so far still seem to favor Clinton. CNN exit polls indicated that Sanders won the hearts of 83 percent of millennials, continuing to show his strength among young voters looking to buck the current system. With another moral victory in hand, Sanders is looking forward to Super Tuesday, when he hopes to capture many delegates when the 12 states that vote on March 1 make their choices.

With this Tuesday’s primary in South Carolina likely to be a large margin of victory for Clinton, Super Tuesday is where the Democratic race may change dynamically. Should Clinton win a strong majority of the states and delegates, her aura of inevitability may be restored, and her path to the Democratic nomination would become much clearer. Should Sanders turn out the victor in a strong minority or perhaps a slim majority of the states, his insurgent campaign could continue to wreak havoc on Clinton’s plans. Clinton would still be the front-runner, but Sanders’ challenge would become more powerful and real than just a few early states, potentially allowing him to continue challenging Clinton late into the primary season.

Though the chances of a brokered convention for the Democrats is minuscule compared to the possibility that the Republicans cannot outright nominate anyone, a sufficiently strong challenge from Sanders may force the Democrats to continue debating their choice of nominee for quite some time.