The Democratic Party establishment continues to tilt the nomination battle in Clinton’s favor. First they gave in to her request to limit debates. They helped her out in Iowa by not releasing the popular vote, as has been done in the past, as Sanders was very likely the winner. When they realized that Clinton did not have an advantage over Sanders in fund raising, the DNC helped her out by relaxing the restrictions Obama had imposed on contributions from lobbyists. If this doesn’t work, there are the super delegates.
Most recently there was the Nevada caucus, which was full of shenanigans to help Clinton. The most significant was probably on the part of Harry Reid. John Ralston, a top reporter of Nevada politics, wrote:
Saturday may well be the day that altered the course of the Democratic presidential race, when Hillary Clinton blunted Bernie Sanders’ campaign, when she was forced to work as hard as she ever has for a week (with a little help from a lot of friends) and slingshotted her with new momentum into South Carolina and then Super Tuesday. Nevada may indeed prove to be the day that saved Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But the caucus, which Clinton won by about 5 percentage points, also cemented Prince Harry as a man Machiavelli would have bowed to, a man who with one eye who still sees the field better and is still more dangerous, effective and cunning as any pol the state (the country?) has ever seen. Clinton may not have won Nevada if Reid had not interceded last week when the man feigning neutrality saw what everyone in the Democratic elite saw: Sanders erasing a once mountainous lead and on the verge of perhaps winning Nevada and rendering inoperative the “Hillary is more electable” argument.
The story of the Nevada caucus is that a lame-duck senator and a self-neutered union conspired to revive the Clinton campaign in a remarkable bit of backroom maneuvering that helped Madame Secretary crush Sanders in Clark County, the key to winning almost any statewide election. Combined with a Clinton machine, erected last spring and looking invincible, that suddenly had to scrape the rust off its gears and turn out her voters, Caucus Day also was a remarkable story of an indomitable candidate, her nonpareil Nevada staff and a ragtag but committed Sanders operation that made them sweat.
But, ultimately, what turned this race was Reid, who clearly came home to find that Clinton’s insurmountable lead was being surmounted. Despite being furious with Team Clinton for its panic-stricken spin that Nevada was as white as Iowa and New Hampshire, undermining Reid’s argument why the state was given early-state status (and, you know, being false, too), the senator decided he would single-handedly save the state for Clinton.
In the middle of last week, Reid made a phone call, first reported by The New York Times’ Amy Chozick, to D. Taylor, the head of the parent of the Culinary Union local in Las Vegas. Before that call, the Culinary, facing difficult contract negotiations and seeing no advantage in enmeshing itself in a bloody internecine fight, had declared it was more Swiss than Hispanic. With the Culinary not endorsing and unwilling to even engage in the caucus, turnout at six casino sites on the Las Vegas Strip was forecast at a combined 100 or so. That is, insignificant.
“He’s been extremely cooperative,” Reid told Chozick of Taylor. “Probably 100 organizers will be at the caucus sites and in hotels to make sure people know what they’re doing.”
But Reid did not stop there. He also called casino executives, sources confirm, with a simple message: “Let your people go.”
That is, he wanted to ensure the workers would be allowed time off from work to caucus. No one said no to Prince Harry.
Despite their common public neutrality, Taylor and Reid surely believe, as do most Democratic power brokers, that a Sanders nomination would be a disaster. Reid knew that Taylor would get his swarms of organizers to turn out mostly Latino workers, who would likely vote for Clinton.
A gamble? Yes. But like going all-in with a straight flush.
And it paid off…
This changed the whole narrative of the race. Imagine how different things would be if it was first reported that Sanders won the popular vote in Iowa, he had his landslide victory in New Hampshire, and then had a win in Nevada.
It is still premature to write off Sanders. Clinton won the Nevada caucus by approximately the same margin she won eight years ago, and that certainly did not prevent Obama from winning the nomination. Far less shenanigans can occur in a primary as opposed to a caucus. Plus young voters, who did not turn out as expected in Nevada, might be more willing to cast a vote in a primary as opposed to going through a more difficult caucus session. If nothing else, this might have reinforced the need for everyone to turn out to vote. Sander does also need to improve his vote among Africa Americans, but should do better when more northern states are voting.
Still, there is the danger that many people will vote for the winner without fully considering the candidates, and all the hype of Clinton winning big in Nevada could provide her with momentum. If that is the case, she might be able to thank Harry Reid for the nomination. However, by winning this way, along with her dishonest attacks on Sanders, the Democratic Party is looking far too much like the Republicans, which could greatly suppress turnout for Clinton in the general election.
While the Democratic Party leadership might get away with acting undemocratically in choosing its preferred candidate, the Republicans are in the opposite situation. Donald Trump has the lead despite opposition from the Republican leadership, which is now throwing its support behind Marco Rubio. It sure puts the Democrats in a bad light when they are rigging their nomination battle but the Republicans are leaving it more up to the voters.
Whether the Republicans nominate Trump or Rubio, Sanders has the best shot of handing the Democrats a victory in the general election.