Can Bernie Sanders be convincing enough for Nevada’s Latinos?

February 18, 2016
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The Democratic caucus of Nevada on the 20th of February is rapidly approaching and with such a short time between it and the South Carolina primary, it means that both Democratic campaigns are in full force. Giving a special importance to the state of Nevada is its status as a “swing state”.

A gringo, trying to win over Latinos

This essentially means that no candidate has an overwhelming support to secure the Electoral College votes and that the outcome is an unpredictable one right up until the last moment. Another issue that sets Nevada apart is its large Latino population. This is of particular interest for Bernie Sanders, as observers are still waiting to see if he can indeed win the non-white voters.

The target demographic for Bernie Sanders may have shifted in Nevada, but his message and policies of focus remain pretty much unchanged. Doing any otherwise would make no sense, as almost half of the Latino voting population of Nevada is made up by millennials, the essential target for the Democratic candidate’s message of economic populism.

Youngsters are feeling the Bern

More specifically, teenagers and young voters are attracted by the prospect of free college tuition and especially the 15$ minimum wage promised by Sanders, as opposed to Hillary Clinton’s 12$. One issue that strikes a resounding chord with the Latino demographic of Nevada is immigration reform, a principal topic of the Sanders campaign and one which brings forward the candidate’s progressive views.

This may not have been evident at the start of the presidential campaign, as Bernie Sanders was skeptical about receiving a large number of low-skilled immigrants into the United States. However, since then, he has completely reviewed his immigration platform, and through a crowdsourcing initiative he managed to turn what was a potential disadvantage into one of the campaign’s key points.

One of the key issues the Sanders immigration platform aims to tackle is the private, for-profit prisons, which may have a substantial effect on immigration detention. This is coupled with a promise to protect unauthorized immigrants from deportation.

Many voters don’t know who Mr. Sanders actually is

The campaign may be presenting the right policies, but it is plagued by a faulty method of spreading its message, which is word of mouth. This is an appealing method to the young volunteers in the service of Bernie Sanders’ campaign as it is conveying the message that the means of solving a problem is already in their hands.

But this may also prove to have an insufficient outreach, as many people still simply do not know who Bernie Sanders is, according to Vox. In some cases, the aggressive campaigning tactics employed have proved to be slightly over-the-top for some of the voters.

Only a few days are left before the Nevada caucus and the race for the Democratic nomination promises to be a very close one. Probably the most important challenge for the Sanders campaign in these last few days is to raise voters’ awareness to the message of the progressive senator. If this objective is achieved by the packs of young volunteers, the race for the nomination may just be within Sanders’ reach. One thing is certain, a win here will be of narrow margins for either candidate.

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