Bernie Sanders hits Nevada caucus jackpot: is he now “unstoppable?”

They say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But is that true politically? Or will Bernie Sanders’ big political win in Vegas and all of Nevada in the Nevada caucuses mean he’s now unstoppable in his quest for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination?

The reason: it will be hard for his rivals to argue that Sanders appealed to only one part of the Democratic Party’s longtime coalition. He had big wins in several categories. And it shows further signs that the traditional “Mighty Middle” isn’t too appealing this time to many young and minority voters.

The “Sensible Center” now looks like the “Sagging Center.”

The Washington Post reports:

“Sen. Bernie Sanders won a resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, providing another boost to an insurgent campaign that is challenging the Democratic establishment and stifling the plans of rivals who still hold out hope of stopping him.

Sanders’s advantage in Nevada was overwhelming, with substantial leads in nearly every demographic group, allowing him to set down a marker in the first state with a significant share of nonwhite voters. Sanders expanded the electorate by attracting relatively large numbers of first-time caucus-goers, providing momentum as the race shifts into a critical stretch over the next 10 days.

He prevailed among those with college degrees and those without; those living in union and nonunion households; and in every age group except those over 65. He won more than half of Hispanic caucus-goers — almost four times as much support as his nearest rival, former vice president Joe Biden — and even narrowly prevailed among those who identified as moderate or conservative. Despite attacks on his health proposal by the powerful Culinary Union, he won in caucus sites filled with union members.

“In Nevada we have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition, which is going to not only win in Nevada, it is going to sweep this country,” Sanders said during a lively rally in San Antonio, after networks had declared him the winner.

Sanders signaled throughout his speech that he is beginning to see himself as the likely nominee, given his momentum heading toward Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states cast their votes. A day after saying he was fighting against the Democratic and Republican establishments, the self-described democratic socialist adopted a more unifying tone.

“We are bringing our people together — black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight,” he said.

Incomplete results suggested a distant second-place finish for Biden, who has repeatedly predicted he would do well in states with more nonwhite voters. It would be Biden’s strongest showing to date, but it would hardly prove his assertion that he can win states with a large share of minorities.”

The New York Times:

““We have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition, which is not only going to win in Nevada it’s going to sweep the country,” he said, predicting another victory in Texas next month.

While Mr. Sanders boasted that “no campaign has a grass-roots movement like we do,” and was bathed in “Bernie, Bernie!” chants, he otherwise ignored his Democratic opponents.

Mr. Sanders’s success, and the continued uncertainty over who his strongest would-be rival is, makes it less clear than ever how centrist forces in the party can organize themselves for a potentially monthslong nomination fight. The moderate wing is still grappling with an unusually crowded field for this late in the race, the lack of an obvious single alternative to Mr. Sanders and no sign that any of those vying for that role will soon drop out to hasten a coalescence.

As results were being counted on Saturday night, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the billionaire investor Tom Steyer and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota were all competing for what would clearly be a distant second-place finish.”

What was surprising to some pundits in the print and broadcast media was how diverse Sander’s winning coalition was. NBC News:

“Put “Bernie Bros” on the back-burner.

It’s the army of sobrinos and sobrinas — the Spanish words for nephews and nieces — who should strike fear in the hearts of Bernie Sanders’ rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination and party elites after he ran up the score among Latino voters in the Nevada caucuses Saturday. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other Latino backers of Sanders refer to him fondly as their “tío,” or uncle.

Sanders was the choice of 54 percent of Hispanic caucus-goers Saturday on his way to steamrolling to the most convincing victory of the primary season, according to an NBC entrance poll. His closest competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden, racked up 14 percent, with no other candidate cracking double digits.

Those results signaled that the energy Sanders has poured into building a more diverse coalition than his failed 2016 campaign is paying off at just the right time. He can now stake the first claim — less than two weeks before the “Super Tuesday” contests in 14 states — to having won a state where white, Hispanic and black voters are all represented in substantial numbers.

“If you can’t put two out of those three together, you should start figuring out your exit plan,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said of most of Sanders’ rivals — excluding Biden and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg — in a telephone interview.”

In politics it’s certainly true that it’s not over until it’s over, but Sander’s win should cause some conventional wisdom to shift in the punditry class. Will it change some in the GOP — and should it?
For more reaction to this development from blogs and websites GO HERE.

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An Admiral Forewarns

‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, Photo by Bruno Cordioli

Recently, perhaps blissfully so, readers have been spared this contributor’s “screams” of frustration and disgust with the state and downward trajectory of our democracy.

Fortunately, contributors such as Hart, Deborah, Joe G. and others continue to carry the torch.

Finally, patriots much more powerful and eloquent than yours truly have continued to speak truth to power and to voice their grave concerns for the future of our nation.

Almost a year ago, more than 1,000 bipartisan former prosecutors signed a petition maintaining that if Trump weren’t president of the United States, he would have been indicted on multiple charges for obstruction of justice.

Only last week, more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials, Republicans and Democrats, signed a statement calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign for “doing the president’s bidding.”

Dozens of other former, high ranking administration and military officials are speaking out, albeit – as some may say — somewhat belatedly.

One patriot who has consistently and forcefully spoken truth to power did so once again last week in an Op-Ed at The Washington Post, titled “If good men like Joe Maguire can’t speak the truth, we should be deeply afraid.

In it, retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, laments how “good men and women don’t last long” in the Trump administration. One of the latest victims of Trump’s corruption and vindictiveness is McRaven’s friend of over 40 years, Joe Maguire, the now-former acting director of national intelligence: “There is no better officer, no better man and no greater patriot,” McRaven writes.

Please read the Admiral’s entire forewarning of things to come here. We must in particular take to heart his concluding words:

As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.

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A sidebar conversation in yesterday’s Open Forum centered on what cars people drive why. It seems like a good topic for the weekend

I didn’t own a car until my junior year in college. We were, with rare and brief exceptions, a one-car family until after I graduated high school, with my dad driving the car to work and my mom taking him in and picking him up if she needed it during the day.

I wound up with a hand-me-down 1979 Toyota Corolla hatchback in white. I had a bit of savings and paid the $500 or so we needed to overhaul the engine during a brief period of unemployment for my father and eventually the car became “mine.” I drove it the rest of college and during my training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and donated it back to the folks when I went off to Germany.

The first car I owned outright was a 1978 Ford Granada in gold that I bought shortly after arrival. It was a German edition that bore no resemblance to the US car by that name. It was more of a forerunner to the Taurus. I bought it used from a soldier in Darmstadt and learned to drive a stick shift on the way back to the kaserne in Babenhausen.

I replaced it after a year or so with a 1987 Mazda B2000 pickup in black. I drove it the rest of my tour, shipped it stateside, and drove it from Fort Dix, New Jersey, where I out processed, back down to Alabama. It lasted me through grad school, by which time I’d added a fiberglass camper shell, and most of my year teaching at Tennessee-Chatanooga before it threw an engine rod on I-20. It took three hours to get a tow truck in those days before I owned a cell phone.

With my one-year gig at UTC about to end and no follow-on job in sight, I went for affordability and wound up with a 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier in blue.

I got rid of it a year or so later when I landed my first tenure-track job at what was then Bainbridge College. I bought my first-ever new car, a 1998 Ford Contour in red.

I drove that car for two years or so, into my tenure at Troy, until it got run off I-59 by a flatbed semi at 75 miles an hour. I somehow survived with mild muscle strain in my back and some bruises from the airbag. The car, alas, did not.

I replaced it with another brand new Ford Contour, this time a Special Vehicle Team model in silver. That lasted me the rest of my time at Troy, my move to the DC area, two jobs here, the start of OTB, and getting married the first time.

I traded it in for a slightly-used 2005 Nissan 350Z roadster in charcoal. It had well under 10,000 miles on it when I got it and is easily the favorite car I’ve ever owned. I put maybe 40,000 miles on it but traded it in when my first wife died suddenly over Thanksgiving weekend in 2011. A two-seater isn’t much use to a single dad with a 3-year-old and an infant.

I drove my late wife’s 2010 Toyota Sienna van in black for a while but eventually used the money from the sale of the Z and trading in the gray 2008 Nissan Sentra I’d inherited from my dad and bought a used 2008 BMW 328i convertible in silver. It allowed me to commute to work with the top down and still pick up and drop off the girls, as it had not only a back seat but also a hardtop when I needed one. And I still had the van for longer trips.

That BMW bit the dust in a four-car accident on Route 1 and got replaced by a 2011 model in black. And that one, too, got totaled when a woman on the George Washington Parkway decided that she should turn left across traffic.

You’d think I’d have quit buying BMWs at that point but nobody else is making a comparably priced convertible that’s fun to drive so I replaced it with a silver 2013 335is. I have thus far avoided wrecking that one and it sits in my garage.

Last summer, the van needed $5000 or so in repairs and I used that and the impending remarriage as an excuse to trade it in. The kids are old enough now that we don’t need the convenience of sliding doors but, since I regularly need to haul 6 passengers and that jumps to 7 when my oldest stepdaughter is home from college, a sedan seemed inadequate. After some research, I wound up with a 2018 Mazda CX-9 in charcoal. I bought it certified with something like 8200 miles on it, saving several thousand dollars and, oddly, getting a better warranty than Mazda offers for brand-new cars. It doesn’t have the cargo capacity of some others in its class but it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable to drive.

The only brand-new cars I’ve bought for myself are the two Ford Contours; the last of those was 20 years ago.

My first wife and I traded in the 2002 Accura MDX she had when we married for a new 2007 Acura RDX. She never really liked it, though, and we traded that in for the van when our oldest was about a year old.

My second and current wife brought a 2016 Mazda 3 into the marriage. Almost immediately, though, we put it on permanent loan to her oldest, who’s away at Temple. She didn’t need a car on a walking campus in downtown Philly but an internship half an hour away changed that. The wife drove my CX-9 for a few months while we sifted through options. We had settled on getting her a certified CX-5 but she called a last-minute audible at the dealership after she drove the CX-30, which had literally just arrived at the dealership. It was the same price as a year-old CX-5 and she preferred its styling and handling.

So, what’s in your driveway?