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Bernie Sanders cements lead with Nevada caucus win

UNITED STATES presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders cemented his lead in the race to obtain the Democratic Party nomination with a resounding win in Nevada at the weekend.

Mr Sanders declared, as he left to campaign in Texas: “We are bringing our people together. In Nevada we have just brought together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition which is not only going to win in Nevada, it's going to sweep this country.”

At the Bellagio casino caucus site, 41-year-old Christian Nielsen, a scuba diver, said he backed Mr Sanders because he believes the country needs a “major change in the White House.

“We need somebody in the White House who has been on the right side of history for their entire career, somebody who stands with the working class and will make things more fair for everybody,” Mr Nielsen said.

Right-wing candidate Joe Biden came second, and took aim at Mr Sanders and tycoon Michael Bloomberg, declaring: “I ain’t a socialist. I’m not a plutocrat. I’m a Democrat.”

Polls showed Mr Sanders had a commanding lead among Latino voters, winning about half of all their votes.

The win follows his victory in New Hampshire and consolidates a first-place position muddied by the first state caucus in Iowa, where he won the largest number of votes but received fewer delegates than Pete Buttigieg. Mr Buttigieg congratulated Mr Sanders on his Nevada win but immediately took aim at him by accusing him of believing in “an inflexible ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.”

Right-wing Democrats assert that Mr Sanders’s socialist politics will make him unelectable – though his supporters say that his anti-Establishment credentials would actually be an advantage. Polls suggested in 2016 that he could have beaten Donald Trump in the presidential election that Hillary Clinton, who beat Mr Sanders to the nomination with the help of unelected “superdelegates” to the party’s Convention, lost.

But for all the energy and attention devoted to the first three states, they award only a tiny fraction of the delegates needed to capture the nomination. 

After South Carolina, the contest becomes national in scope, putting a premium on candidates who have the resources to compete in states as large as California and Texas.

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