The big face-off in Nevada on Saturday wasn’t the Democratic caucus but the much more anticipated Wilder-Fury boxing rematch at the MGM Grand.
The battle for the Silver State’s contested delegates was largely an undercard compared to the marquee status that the presidential nomination fights enjoy in Iowa (no decision-yet) and New Hampshire (decided on points).
But in the sports entertainment mecca of the world, Bernie Sanders went Muhammad Ali on the competition and his, or rather, THE party establishment.
After two disappointing close decisions Sanders finally landed Tyson-esque blows against his Hydra of adversaries (rival candidates, party leaders, the Culinary Union brass, and the media) and triumphantly raised his gloves alone in the ring.
This time the socialist won’t have to equally share his delegates with Mayor Pete.
Bernie didn’t have to rely on his usual cadre of cornermen of hardcore socialists and college students, aka the infamous Bernie Bros.
With Nevada being the most ethnically diverse contest thus far on the calendar, Bernie was escorted to the ring by Los Bernie Hermanos, winning a big portion of Nevada’s sizable Latino vote.
And Sanders scored well with African-American voters though not having as much success as Joe Biden.
Sanders demonstrated strength beyond the foundation of his previous presidential bid in his convincing win and heads as the undisputed national frontrunner into South Carolina.
The Vermont senator is going to need it as he did not fare well in the Palmetto State four years ago when Hillary Clinton left him out cold.
As for the vice-president, a non cataclysmic loss is a good news day for Biden after finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the previous two contests.
Team Biden will tout a distant second as a strategic victory along with his plurality amongst blacks voters as he heads to a state where a majority of the primary vote will be cast by African-Americans.
The unions and likely the early vote factored heavily in Biden grabbing the silver in Nevada.
This is the breather Biden needed to show he’s still in the race as his campaign staffers on to the friendlier southern states.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg finally got his long overdue reality check in non-homogeneous Nevada.
Grassroots organization can only go so far in a national election and next weekend won’t be much kinder.
Elizabeth Warren was unable to parlay a dominating debate session into delegates, likely due to massive early voting, where over 80% of the 2016 total turnout made their decision, perhaps prematurely.
Coupled with the release of polling data showing her in a statistical tie in Massachusetts with Sanders (he’s actually ahead but both are within the margin of error), Warren might end up pulling the plug after Super Tuesday and wait for Milwaukee.
The same goes for Amy Klobuchar, who lacks Warren’s name ID, funding network, and debate skills.
Finishing behind Tom Steyer in Nevada is going to leave a mark that will write Klobuchar’s standing as a viable candidate.
Expect Buttigieg to really lay in on this ignominious distinction as he desperately works to clear the field of the only other rust belt-based candidate.
South Carolina would be a waste of limited time and resources for the Minnesota senator, particularly as she has been dogged with her record as a prosecutor.
And then there’s the other billionaire.
Steyer dumped a truckload of money in Nevada and learned the economic principle of diminishing returns also applies to politics.
South Carolina will be the point where he decides if this pricey exercise is worthwhile with fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg directly engaged in the race as his name will be in the ballot come Super Tuesday.
Until the balloting ceases in South Carolina and someone beats him, Bernie Sanders will continue to hold the prestigious front-runner title.