LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Saturday’s Democratic primary in Nevada could end up being the most decisive contest in this year’s nominating process, as the results are expected to show if Bernie Sanders poses a real threat to Hillary Clinton.

The former secretary of state led by over 20 points a few months ago, but the senator said at a caucus-eve concert rally that this would probably be the beginning of a political revolution. He needs to convince the country that he can win over more diverse voters than in Iowa or New Hampshire.

A loss would be a clear signal that he is not ready to go further in diverse states, but a win in Nevada could prove his campaign has gotten much stronger than everyone thought.

Photo: Politico/Getty Images
Photo: Politico/Getty Images

The largest group of Latino voters is established in Nevada. In 2008, Clinton won over this substantial minority group in the state, even though she faced a loss after Barack Obama won the overall contest. Sanders has struggled to win over this group and has had more success with young Latinos.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton could afford a loss here but would still face pressure from jittery donors and campaign staff, as well as from aggressive news media that would create a hard atmosphere to deal with ahead of the South Carolina and the Super Tuesday contests.

Candidate’s agenda

As expected, both Clinton and Sanders spent the hours prior to the caucuses giving fierce speeches to their supporters. Clinton went to Planet Hollywood to motivate the Las Vegas-area minority electors and union members by addressing a youth employment program and talking to high school students and casino workers. She told the audience she needed their help.

Meanwhile, Sanders made his way on Friday to the more sparsely populated northern region of the state as part of his campaign’s strategy to pick up more of Nevada’s 23 delegates at stake.

He ended his night in suburban Las Vegas with a campaign rally and a concert featuring the group Cold War Kids and projected confidence by telling supporters they would make history on Saturday.

After Nevada, the caucuses will move into South Carolina, which votes on Feb. The candidates will then face several contests three days later in Southern states and others voting on Super Tuesday. Clinton has a significant lead among superdelegates, which are the party insiders who are influential in picking the nominee. Sanders will have to score decisive wins in the remaining contests in order to catch up and prove whether his revolution is imminent.

Source: NBC News