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What We Learned From the Nevada Caucuses

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 20: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters during the Bernie 2016 Nevada Caucus Watch Party at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev., after losing the caucus vote by a narrow margin to Hillary Clinton. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sanders speaks to supporters during his Bernie 2016 Nevada Caucus Watch Party in Henderson, Nev., on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hillary Clinton stabilized her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination by holding off a surging Sen. Bernard Sanders to win in Nevada on Saturday.

Sanders was hoping to for a second straight victory after winning big in New Hampshire but Democratic strategists and operatives credited Clinton’s ground operation as the key to her success in a state she couldn’t afford to lose.

Here’s what we learned from Nevada:

“Bernie significantly outspent Hillary and he still couldn’t pull out a win here, so that raises some serious questions about his viability as a candidate.

“It’s a huge win for Hillary’s organization and Bernie needs to prove he can win in states that are more reflective of the national electorate. As of now, there is no sign he’s equipped to do that.”

Caitlin Legacki, a principal at the Democratic-leaning consulting firm Precision Strategies

“Secretary Clinton needed a win in Nevada and her campaign delivered. Caucuses are built for an insurgent candidate like Senator Sanders and his campaign invested heavily on the ground and in the air in Nevada. That Hillary has now won both small state caucuses, I think it’s a matter of time for the Sanders campaign.

“The race soon moves to bigger states that will be tough for Sanders. He can keep winning delegates and raising money but the math is going to fast become too difficult for him. He needs to rack up a couple of big wins like Hillary did in ’08 to keep a real race going past March and I don’t see that happening.”

Achim Bergmann, a Democratic strategist who works in Nevada but wasn’t involved in either campaign. He’s also a veteran of Bill Clinton’s campaigns and was a Clinton-era Democratic National Committee official.

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