Updated February 18, 2020 - 8:12 pm
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders turned rallies at the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV into impromptu marches to the polls on Tuesday as candidates campaigned around the state on the final day of early voting in the Democratic presidential caucuses.
In Las Vegas, before a crowd of more than 1,200, Sanders said big turnout was the key to victory. “If there is a large voter turnout in Nevada, I believe we’re going to win the caucus here,” Sanders said.
He said younger people need to show up at the polls to express their values of tolerance.
“And you should be proud of that,” Sanders said, noting that most young people reject racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination. “That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: The bad news is, although we’re seeing good changes in this, the bad news is that young people still do not vote in the kinds of numbers they should be voting.”
“Let us have in this Nevada caucus, let us have the largest turnout that the Nevada caucus has ever seen,” he said.
And Sanders did his personal best to boost that turnout, leading the young people to the early caucus voting site in the student union building, shaking hands with students as they went inside to vote.
Elsewhere in the valley on Tuesday:
■ Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Tom Steyer spoke in person to the group Care in Action, an advocacy group for domestic workers. (Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called in to the event.) Warren backed universal child care, while Steyer said he supports subsidized child care and six months of paid family leave. “We’re the richest country on earth. Let’s make sure that all of our people can enjoy a decent, high-quality life,” Sanders said.
■ Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg charted a middle course between President Donald Trump and Sanders. “If the message goes out that your only choices are either got to be for a revolution, or you must be for the status quo. I don’t think most of us see ourselves in that picture,” he said. He also said candidates have an obligation to explain how they will pay for expensive campaign promises.
■ Later, during a forum at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV, Buttigieg contrasted his support for criminal justice reform with news that Trump had pardoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who’d been convicted on corruption charges. “The difference between using that to right historic wrongs in the war on drugs and using that to pardon a corrupt politician is as stark a difference I can think if in terms of priorities,” he said.
■ At the Culinary Union Local 226, Warren and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar courted members. Warren said she was “the woman who’s going to beat Donald Trump. Let’s face it, the White House is a mess, and when you’ve got a mess and you really need it cleaned up. Call a woman to get the job done.” Klobuchar played up her roots: “I stand on the shoulders of immigrants,” she said. “I didn’t come from money … We live in a country of shared dreams.”
■ Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant, denouncing child separations at the border and saying immigration has given America “the best from every single continent and culture.” Said Biden: “I promise you we are going to take back this country and lead the world again,” before shaking voter’s hands as they made their way to an early voting site.
■ Steyer told a crowd at musical Black History Month event at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas that the Democratic Party sometimes takes African American voters for granted and that he supports reparations to make up for the wrongs of slavery. “I’ve walked the walk, but I’m also talking the talk,” he said. “I like to deal with race openly. How else do we actually come up with the repair and move on together to the kind of just country we want to be?”
Contact Shea Johnson at SJohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter. Contact Bill Dentzer at BDentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Blake Apgar, Max Michor, David Ferrara, Alexis Egeland and Briana Erickson contributed to this story.