Monday, February 22, 2016

Who Won the Hispanic Vote in Nevada?

As to be expected, The New York Times is tattooing the Sanders campaign as a sure loser following Hillary's solid victory on Saturday in the Nevada caucuses. Nevada was important for Bernie, and in many ways it seemed ready-made for his anti-establishment candidacy, given the state's higher-than-average union density and its long suffering since the 2008 financial meltdown. But Hillary beat him, and she beat him handily in Clark County, home to Las Vegas and its heavy Latino population and its union casino workers.

And herein lies a mystery. Based on entrance and exit polling, Bernie won the Latino vote in Saturday's caucus by eight points. Then how is it that Hillary beat him by 11 points in Clark County? This has created a kerfuffle with number-cruncher Nate Cohn, "No, the Polling Doesn’t Prove Bernie Sanders Won the Hispanic Vote in Nevada," rejecting the polls. Charles Blow summarizes in his anti-Bernie column, "Bernie Sanders Hits a Roadblock":
According to the entrance poll, Sanders also won the Hispanic vote, but this is where some prominent poll watchers took exception to the poll’s accuracy. 
The New York Times’s Nate Cohn tweeted
“Based on the results in Clark, the precincts in ELV, and the overall entrance poll error, I do not believe Sanders won the Hispanic vote.” 
ELV, or East Las Vegas, is the largely Hispanic part of Clark County, by far the most populous county in the state, where actual results showed Clinton winning handily
Nate Silver tweeted support for Cohn’s analysis: 
“We share @nate cohn skepticism about entrance poll finding that Clinton lost Hispanics in Nevada.”
I think this anomaly can be explained by a passage from the post-election dispatch written by Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy, "Hillary Clinton Beats Bernie Sanders in Nevada Caucuses":
Her support among labor also ran deep, even though the Culinary Workers Union, which represents 57,000 members, many of whom are Latino, declined to endorse a candidate. But on Thursday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who also remained neutral, said in an interview he had spoken to D. Taylor, the head of the union’s parent group, to make sure its members could have paid time off to participate in the caucuses, a move that operatives in the state believed helped tip the race in Mrs. Clinton’s favor. 
She overwhelmingly defeated Mr. Sanders in the caucuses that were held at six major Las Vegas casinos, including Harrah’s, the Wynn and New York-New York, which heavily drew working-class minority voters.
Caucuses are not secret ballots. Leadership of the Culinary Workers Union, despite a professed neutrality, got time loss for its members to caucus for Hillary. The members did so, but many on the way in and on the way out identified as Bernie supporters. That is why there is a disconnect between the polling and the actual outcome in Clark County.

What does it all mean? Certainly not how Team Clinton is spinning the win this morning as somehow foreshadowing an inevitable triumph in the primary. Hillary won 19 delegates to Bernie's 14. That's it. Even Cohn sees the Nevada results as proof that the Sanders campaign has reason to hope he can diminish Hillary's advantage among people of color:
The actual election returns in Las Vegas’s Clark County hint at a different story. Analyzed neighborhood by neighborhood, they suggest that Mrs. Clinton might have won the Hispanic vote by a comfortable margin. She won about 60 percent of delegates in heavily Hispanic areas, a result that calls the finding of the polling into question.

There is not much evidence, though, that Mrs. Clinton won Hispanic voters by the sort of landslide margin that she did eight years ago. That’s a good sign for Mr. Sanders, who needs to make up for the huge swing among black voters, who have gone from uniformly for President Obama to uniformly for Mrs. Clinton.
So we need to take with a grain of salt Patrick Healy's frontpage headline this morning, "Delegate Count Leaving Bernie Sanders With Steep Climb." There is plenty within the guts of Healy's story which should give the Clintonistas pause:
Mrs. Clinton has 502 delegates to Mr. Sanders’s 70; 2,383 are needed to win the nomination. These numbers include delegates won in state contests and superdelegates, who can support any candidate. She is likely to win a delegate jackpot from the overwhelmingly black and Hispanic areas in the Southern-dominated Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, when 11 states will vote and about 880 delegates will be awarded. 
Since delegates are awarded proportionally based on vote tallies in congressional districts and some other areas, only blowout victories yield large numbers of delegates. And Mrs. Clinton is better positioned than Mr. Sanders to win big in more delegate-rich districts, like those carved out to ensure minority Democrats in Congress, where she remains popular.
“She could effectively end the race in less than two weeks’ time on Super Tuesday,” said David Wasserman, a top analyst for The Cook Political Report, who has been closely tracking the delegate race. 
Of course, politics is unpredictable, as this cycle’s presidential campaign has demonstrated. Mrs. Clinton will face questions about her candidacy, including the outcome of an F.B.I. investigation into the use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. And Mr. Sanders has shown an ability to create grass-roots excitement in surprising places.
Still, while Mrs. Clinton is far from reaching 2,383 delegates, she is poised to create the sort of mathematical quandary for Mr. Sanders that she faced in 2008. That winter, Barack Obama used an 11-state winning streak to establish a lead of 100 delegates that Mrs. Clinton was never able to surmount. While a similar streak is unlikely this year, advisers to Mr. Sanders concede that Mrs. Clinton could generate a significant delegate lead now that she has momentum from her Nevada win. But they say they are not out of the running. 
“The Clintons can get a delegate lead quicker than we can, and they have a way to gut out the delegate fight,” said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders. “We have to turn victories in state after state into big momentum that can change the numbers.” 
Mrs. Clinton already has a huge lead over Mr. Sanders in support from superdelegates — elected officials and party elders who each count toward the magic number of 2,383. But superdelegates could switch candidates if Mr. Sanders is the overwhelming choice of regular voters. 
For now, Mrs. Clinton is focused on building her lead among so-called pledged delegates — those awarded proportionally by congressional districts from primary and caucus results. Mr. Sanders is aiming to score wins in states like Massachusetts and Minnesota while holding Mrs. Clinton to narrow wins elsewhere. Small margins of victory keep delegate allocations roughly even. A New York Times analysis found that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are tied in the pledged delegate count, at 51 each.
The support for Bernie is not going to evaporate. It is hardcore. It provides a solid foundation of funds and grassroots all across the country. For example, I attended a "Labor for Bernie" rally yesterday at 4 PM -- this is 4 PM on a Sunday afternoon, a time when a lot of people are doing grocery shopping and getting ready for the work week -- and the hall was packed. More chairs repeatedly had to be hauled in to accommodate the overflow. Several state legislators were in prominent attendance. This is not a Howard Dean type of movement that is going to suddenly collapse. This is a long haul operation of people who want to tear down a system that is multiplying wars and planetary destruction faster than most can track.

The fight is just getting started. What happens, as Healy alludes, when the FBI comes back with evidence of wrongdoing? How about the transcriptions of those Goldman speeches? Hillary's corpse might appear reanimated but the stench is still there.

As for Trump, only the most committed dead-enders can deny the obvious: After Super Tuesday the GOP nomination will be Trump's.

The fantasy being peddled by Republican apparatchiks is that the race will turn into a two-way contest between Rubio and Trump, and Trump, who has never proven that he can muster much more than 30%, will fall to the more centrist candidate. This is all summarized in Nate Silver's "Trump Optimists And Trump Skeptics Are About To Go To War."

The problem with this analysis is that it assumes Cruz is going to get out the race, and he is not. He's got too much money.



  2. Thanks, Bob. The political director in my city for the Laborers-Hod Carriers, an ardent Hillary supporter who had recently returned from Nevada, boasted to me -- whether he was just getting his gun off, I can't say for sure -- that Vegas was rigged.