The Slatest

Nevada Live-Blog: Clinton Takes Swipes at Bernie, Promises to Fight in Victory Speech

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a caucus day event at Caesers Palace on February 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Update, 7:00 p.m.: Hillary Clinton delivered a victory speech after her Nevada caucus win over Bernie Sanders that emphasized her campaign theme that she was fighting for ordinary voters, while also taking knocks on her rival and, it seemed, his supporters.

After listing a litany of problems for Americans she said she planned to combat, Clinton described a scene in which a 10-year-old girl named Karla Ortiz had told her she was worried her parents would be deported (Clinton had included that footage in an ad in Nevada).

“Here in Nevada, a brave young girl told me how scared she is that her parents could be deported,” she said. “In South Carolina, I met kids trying to learn in crumbling classrooms and neglected communities. And then there’s Flint, Michigan, where children were poisoned by toxic water just because their governor wanted to save a little money. So Americans are right to be angry. But we’re also hungry for real solutions.”

This last portion was consistent with her previous messages that she would be the candidate more capable of enacting progressive changes than her socialist rival. It wasn’t the only apparent swipe against Sanders.

“The truth is, we aren’t a single issue country. We need more than a plan for the big banks,” Clinton said, nodding to the fact that Sanders’ campaign has been focused heavily on income inequality and class-heavy critiques.

She also seemed to directly address Sanders’ base of young supporters with what sounded like a veiled criticism of them and of the promise of Bernie’s candidacy to fund more public programs with higher taxes on the wealthy.

“I want you to think about this,” Clinton said, addressing young voters. “It can’t be just about what we’re going to give to you. It has to be about we’re going to build together. Your generation is the most tolerant and connected our country has ever seen. In the days ahead, we will propose new ways for more Americans to get involved in national service and give back to our communities because every one of us has a role to play in building the future we want.”

Clinton closed the speech on another note that “the fight goes on” before leaving the stage to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” 

That wraps it up for our Nevada live-blog, but you can read more from Josh Voorhees about what the win might mean for Hillary Clinton going forward.

Update, 5:10 p.m.: Fox News was first to call the Nevada caucus for Hillary Clinton. MSNBC followed suit a few minutes later and also called the caucus for the former secretary of state.

With 64 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton has 52.1 percent support compared to 47.8 percent for Sanders.

This is still a very close margin and so far means delegates are spread evenly, according to the New York Times calculations.

Update, 4:55 p.m.: Things are still close over in Nevada but Hillary Clinton’s advantage is growing. With 51 percent reporting, Clinton is ahead by almost four points—51.8 percent to 48.2 percent.

“Everything still close but based on what’s in and what’s not in, you’d rather be Clinton than Sanders right now based solely on Clark county,” notes NBC’s Chuck Todd. Clark County is home to Las Vegas and Clinton is leading by about 10 points, although less than 25 percent of the county’s precincts have reported so far.

Update, 4:25 p.m.: Real results are starting to come in and, yes, it is way too close to call. With 21 percent of precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton has a two-point advantage with 51 percent versus 49 percent for Bernie Sanders. This could be signaling good news for Clinton, because the places that are reporting results first heavily favor Sanders, while results from some of Clinton’s strongholds are coming in more slowly. Still, too early to say anything with any kind of certainty.

Update, 3:45 p.m.: CNN’s entrance polls also suggest a dead heat, although with Bernie Sanders holding a slight lead over Hillary Clinton—49 percent to 47 percent.

Democrats also seem pretty split on whether the next president should continue President Obama’s policies. Around 50 percent of caucusgoers say yes, the next president should follow Obama’s footsteps, while 40 percent say the next commander-in-chief should be more liberal, reports CBS News. That aligns with another interesting finding from NBC News, which notes around 70 percent of caucusgoers identify as liberals. These are still early numbers, so they could change, but it would mark a huge increase from the 45 percent who identified as liberal in 2008. That could be a positive sign for Sanders.

Update, 3:20 p.m.: The first entrance polls are in, and as expected, they suggest a tight contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Nevada, with the former secretary of state holding a slight lead. Some analysts, though, quickly highlighted that what jumps out immediately from the results is how slim Clinton’s lead is among nonwhite voters—52 percent to 47 percent. That could be good news for Sanders, although at the same time white voters appear to be pretty evenly split. Overall, more than 1-in-3 early caucus arrivals—36 percent—describe themselves as either black, Hispanic, or another nonwhite race, according to NBC.

That said, all this must be taken with a huge grain of salt. Entrance polls aren’t really reliable to begin with, as voters can—and often do—change their minds at the caucus site. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver points out, in Iowa, early entrance polls showed Donald Trump ahead of Ted Cruz and Clinton far ahead of Sanders.  

Original Post: Voters in Nevada are showing up at caucus sites across the state on Saturday to publicly express support for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination. It’s a confusing process, and turnout is expected to be low, but lots will be read into the results. First and foremost: Can Sanders pull off a victory in the sixth-most diverse state in the country? Some are even saying the whole thing could end up being “the most decisive contest in the 2016 Democratic nominating process.”

Sanders seems well aware of the stakes. In his closing rally on Friday night, the Vermont senator all but acknowledged that a victory in Nevada could be more significant than his win in New Hampshire. “It could well be that 10, 20, 30 years from now people will look back on what happens in Nevada and say this was the beginning of the political revolution,” Sanders said.

Sanders fell short of actually predicting victory. And with good reason. There has been very little polling in the state, and the latest surveys have shown Sanders and Clinton in a dead heat, a far cry from a month ago when the former secretary of state led by a seemingly insurmountable margin.

The conventional wisdom has long been that this contest should be an easier victory for Clinton. Truth be told though there’s more to the story that meets the eye. As the New York Times details, the Democratic electorate in Nevada is really no more diverse than the national average. And there are few black voters. Something that should help Clinton out though is that Nevada’s white voters are relatively older, and that may at least marginally help her chances. Analysts will also be looking carefully at how the Hispanic vote swings.

Overall, Nevada has 43 delegates, although 20 of them are superdelegates, eight of whom are unpledged. That means a grand total of 23 delegates are up for grabs on Saturday. Slate will be live-blogging the action all day. Here you’ll find running updates of news, analysis, and results.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.