Latino communities in the United States continue to mobilize for Bernie Sanders, who may have won their vote in Nevada.
Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory in Nevada’s caucus was not what she expected just weeks ago when the polls indicated she would storm to victory.
After the victory of Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, the message from Clinton’s camp was clear: the white, liberal state is different from many other parts of the U.S. and only she could reach out to the electors in Nevada (24 percent Latino) and in South Carolina (28 percent Black).
This was Clinton’s so called “firewall.”
And poll after poll had showed that Sanders had a problem persuading Black and Latino voters.
Given 40 percent of the voters in Saturday’s Democrat caucus were non-white, such a failure to reach out beyond white voters would have left Sanders lagging behind.
But exit polls suggest that Latino voters may now be feeling the Bern, with 53 percent reportedly percent backing Sanders in the Nevada selection. Clinton took over half of the Latino vote in Nevada in 2008 and won by a margin of 38 points. Today, she reportedly lost among that community by 8 points.
If Sanders can win over the Black and Latino voters then he may well create the greatest shock in U.S. history that he often talks of.
Sanders clearly has work to do attracting Black voters. Exit polls show that the overall race was tight in Nevada, but black voters backed Clinton by a margin of three to one. In contrast, Sanders reportedly won white voters by 49-47 percent and Latinos by a reported 53-45 percent.
With the focus now turning onto next Saturday's caucus in South Carolina, recent backing from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander and a narrowing of Clinton’s lead among young black voters suggests that Sanders is gaining momentum.
Over the next seven days Sanders will be hoping he can turn the situation around with black voters just as he appears to have done with Latinos.
And if that happens then Clinton’s “firewall” could well and truly be broken.