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.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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