This past week, Nevada became a political battleground as a result of the two Nevada Caucuses: one Democrat, one Republican. While the Caucuses, local meetings that gather to collectively decide the citizens’ choice for the presidential nomination, are not considered as consequential as the Primaries, which consist of statewide private voting, they are still influential. Not only do the Caucuses provide publicity and increase support for the candidates, but they also award the candidates delegates. In order for candidates to get the nomination, they must reach the minimum number of delegates. For Republicans, that minimum is 1,237 delegates and for Democrats that number is 2,383 delegates.
On Saturday, February 20th, the Democratic Caucus rolled off the ball, collectively awarding thirty-five delegates to the Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Sanders and Clinton had a tight race, but, ultimately, Clinton won Nevada, reeling in 52.6% of the votes and winning twenty delegates as a result. Sanders was left closely behind with the remaining fifteen delegates and 47.3%. However, despite Clinton’s win, the proximity that Sanders had to her is notable, especially considering she had been campaigning in Nevada two months longer than he had. At this point, it is unpredictable which candidate will win the nominee. It comes down to the question of if Sander’s will continue to gain momentum, and if Clinton will be able to maintain her’s.
On Tuesday, the Republicans followed suit, voting in their own Caucus. As a result, John Kasich and Ben Carson received 3.6% and 4.8% of the votes, respectively, leaving them far behind the other candidates. Surprisingly, Marco Rubio, who has often been in third place, managed to defeat Ted Cruz 23.9% to 21.4%. This loss of momentum for Cruz, who has been long perceived as one of the most viable Republican running mates, is considered ominous and could be, if he does not manage to win Texas, irreversible. Yet, Donald Trump becomes stronger than ever with his win in Nevada, in which he captured 45.9% of the votes, leading by nearly double the votes of his runner up. That leaves the Republican candidates with delegate numbers of 1, 1, 6, 7, and 14 from lowest to highest number of votes.
Since Super Tuesday, consisting of multiple states holding primaries, will occur notably soon, it is important to remember that it will be then that the likely presidential nominee for each party will be determined. While the multiple Caucuses and Primaries thus far have undoubtedly been indicators of who will be the nominee, the various primaries held on Super Tuesday, which offer the Democratic candidates a total of 1004 delegates and the Republican delegates a total of 595, will hold more sway than any of the events thus far.