'The establishment is getting nervous': Bernie Sanders vows to transform America on eve on Nevada caucus

Andrew Buncombe
Mr Sanders says 'establishment is getting afraid': Getty

Bernie Sanders has vowed to transform America on the eve a vote in Nevada he hopes will help propel him into the White House.

With polls showing the Vermont senator with a clear lead both nationally and in the state, he urged supporters to turn out in record numbers.

“We have to have a government that will work for all of us,” he said on Friday evening at the Spring Reserve ampitheatre in the west of Las Vegas.

“As you may have noticed lately, the establishment’s getting a little bit nervous. But when we stand up together they are not going to stop us.”

After coming joint first in Iowa and securing a narrow victory in New Hampshire, the 78-year-old has emerged as the Democratic Party’s frontrunner.

Yet, he has not been able to claim the nomination is his yet, and with the late arrival into the race of Michael Bloomberg, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money, it still remains unclear who will emerge as the winner.

On 3 March, Super Tuesday, more than a dozen states hold their primaries, including those in which Mr Bloomberg, also aged 78, is competing. With the campaigns of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar all facing major challenges, many observers believe the Democratic race could now become a showdown between the two men.

There is certainly no love lost between the two septuagenarians. Earlier this week at the Democrats’ ninth debate, Mr Bloomberg made his debut and was immediately attacked by his rivals. But the former New York mayor also landed some punches of his own, and claimed if Mr Sanders were the party’s nominee the country would likely see another four years of Donald Trump.

Mr Sanders hit back on Friday night, much to the delight of his supporters.

“I believe Bloomberg has every right to run for the presidency,” he said. “But he has no right to buy the presidency.”

To some of Mr Sanders supporters, Mr Bloomberg appears to occupy the same represent the same sort of ideological compromise Hillary Clinton did in 2016. When Mr Sanders failed to secure the nomination, thousands of his supporters voted for Mr Trump, rather than the former secretary of state.

On Friday, most people said they would vote for any Democrat in order to try and defeat Mr Trump, but Deborah Cole, 67, an energetic and vocal supporter of the senator, said she would not vote for Mr Bloomberg.

“If the Democratic establishment won’t let us have our candidate, I’d rather vote Green,” she said. “They think we’re stupid. Too many people have been brainwashed.”

Jamie Belkadi, 36, a nurse, said she had seen too many people unable to pay for health care, and meet their mortgage payments. “Or else they are diabetic and they can’t get their insulin because it’s four days from pay day,” she said, saying Mr Sanders signature policy of universal healthcare would help everybody.

Mr Sanders “get out the vote” rally came after he earlier warned Russia to stay out of 2020 White House elections after US officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign.

“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Mr Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said US officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Mr Trump and US politicians. It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.

Mr Sanders said he was briefed about a month ago. His campaign noted the briefing was classified.

“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” Mr Sanders said. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.”

He ended his rally by telling supporters: “Let us go forward. Let’s defeat Trump. Let’s transform this country.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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