Bernie Just Won Nevada and People Are Losing Their Minds

This is either the beginning or the end, depending on where you stand.

Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire earlier this monthM. Scott Brauer for Mother Jones

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Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to to ignite a movement that would shake up the Democratic establishment, and after handily winning the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, he’s delivered. Sanders ran away with a victory in Nevada, winning 46 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, Joe Biden, won just over 19 percent.

And the big scary liberal establishment is losing it. Exhibit A: MSNBC host Chris Matthews. In his caucus commentary on Saturday night, he mentioned that he’d been reading about the fall of France during World War II, and then made this ill-advised analogy to Sanders’ victory: “The general, Renault, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You’ve got that greatest army in Europe.’ And he says, ‘It’s over.'” That ham-fisted anecdote drew instant criticism from those who thought Matthews was comparing Sanders to Hitler, including Mike Casca, the campaign’s communications director.

The hashtag #msnbcmeltdown started trending on Twitter on Sunday morning and there have been calls for Matthews’ resignation.

The flip side of the establishment hand-wringing that Matthews was channeling is that Sanders’ victory in Nevada was a monumental moment for progressives. The state’s caucus was a test unlike any other so far in the Democratic primary, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy, and it has cemented Sanders as the frontrunner:

But while Sanders’ opponents may agree that he won’t make the best nominee, none can agree on how to actually stop him. In the meantime, Sanders has built a political movement that might make any kind of maneuvering aimed at denying him the nomination irrelevant, and one that by its very existence neutralizes one of the most compelling arguments his opponents once had.

Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, the Silver State isn’t a racially homogenous white voting bloc. And Sanders has built a racially and ethnically diverse coalition of young people whose influence will be further tested as Super Tuesday nears. If Sanders sweeps those primaries in 10 days, get ready for an even bigger freakout.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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