After barely squeaking by Bernie Sanders in Iowa and going bust in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton desperately needs to hit the jackpot in the Nevada caucuses.
If she doesn’t get a big payout in the Silver State, she will further erode her credibility with voters who are increasingly unwilling to roll the dice on a candidate with an embarrassing record of dishonesty, flip-flops, and scandal.
A loss here will also further snuff out momentum she desperately needs while the chips are down. Big donors she depends on who have gone for broke will also be upset at her underperformance.
Conventional wisdom was Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook’s experience in the state meant she was playing with a stacked deck there. But Bernie Sanders has anted up on the number of staffers and TV advertising dollars in the state, and is racking up more endorsements than anticipated.
It is clear Sanders is the one with the hot hand. She is no longer on a roll in the polls: the latest CNN poll has her only up on Sanders by one in Nevada after being up by huge margins last year.
Victory for Hillary Clinton might depend on winning big with super delegates.
On the ground anecdotes are another tell that Hillary Clinton isn’t the high roller she once was in the state.
The Washington Post reported her “political nightmare” was coming true in Las Vegas, with over 100 activists going all in to turn out voters for Sanders.
“Hillary messed up on a couple big things,” said one voter on the ground.
Another voter doubled down on that sentiment: “People can say anything, but you’ve got to find out whether they’ve acted.”
Jon Ralston, the pit boss of Nevada political reporting, confirmed that “the Clinton panic is palpable.”
Hillary Clinton thought she had struck it rich with a nomination process rigged to ensure her coronation. The New Hampshire primary showed her chances of getting that royal flush have vanished.
Now the pressure is on her to cash out in Nevada in a big way. Anything less will leave her in the red.
Elections Hillary Clinton