Sanders Aims for Huge Voter Turnout to Bust Tie-breaker Contest in Nevada

A day before the Nevada caucuses, the Vermont Senator encouraged young voters in particular to caucus.
February 19, 2016, 8:00pm
Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP

VICE News is currently embedded with the Bernie Sanders campaign in Nevada. Follow__@lianzifields for live updates in the lead-up to the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

Elko, Nevada: On the eve of the Democratic caucuses in Nevada, Bernie Sanders encouraged Silver State residents, and particularly young people, to turn up to caucusing halls during a town meeting in Elko, Nevada on Friday morning.

The Vermont senator, who joked his way through an hour-long speech at Elmo High School Gymnasium, said that while he and the campaign were "obviously here to win," the main goal was to get more people participating in the democratic electoral process.

Sanders, who has benefitted from large youth voter turnouts in Iowa and New Hampshire, particularly encouraged young voters in Nevada to reason with their peers who "think not getting involved in the political process is cool" and "not voting is 'hip'" — a word the senator said he is not used to using.

"I want you to tell them, in all seriousness, that if they do not stand up and fight for their rights, there's going to be a political battle, and I know absolutely who's going to [win], and that is people with a whole lot of power, a whole lot of money who could care less about the young people in this country."

"I hope we have a large, a very, very large voter turnout to show that democracy is alive and well in Nevada," he said.

Related: Here's What You Need to Know About the Nevada Caucuses

Since announcing his candidacy last May, Sanders's insurgent campaign has surprised both pundits and the political establishment, and pushed fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton further left on a range of policies, particularly on income inequality and Wall Street reform. While Clinton narrowly won Iowa, the senator took New Hampshire with a historic margin, besting his rival by around 20 points.

"The world has changed a lot in the last few weeks," Sanders said Friday. "What we are doing is treating the American people with intelligence and we are raising the real issues on the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans."

Nevada will now be the tie-breaker for the candidates. A CNN/ORC poll Wednesday put Sanders and Clinton neck-to-neck in the state, just three days out from the caucuses.

The town hall in Elko was the first of three campaign events for Sanders in three different cities across Nevada Friday. He will fly out to Reno this afternoon for a rally at the Golden Nugget Casino Resort and then return to Las Vegas for a concert and rally in the evening.

"Tomorrow the eyes of America and the eyes of much of the world will focus on Nevada," Sanders said. "The issue is not just who will win the Democratic nomination. The issue is whether Nevada will play a leading role in moving toward a political revolution."