If you want to make sure you win a coin toss, the best way is to get a double-sided coin your opponent doesn’t know about. A new report suggests that a staff member for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders did just that — or at least was prepared to in case a tie presented itself — in the February Democratic caucuses in Nevada.
After a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses and then a confidence-boosting blowout in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the Sanders campaign was heading into a tough battle in Nevada. The campaign hadn’t developed sophisticated political operations in states beyond those first two. The team didn’t even have enough chairs for every precinct with three weeks to go and had recently fired its original Nevada state director, ushering in Joan Kato.
Eager to lock up another victory, Kato instructed staff to buy double-sided coins, just in case, according to CBS News. Literal coin tosses sometimes occur when there are ties in caucus results. Sanders ended up losing in the state by a 5 percent margin.
This is not the first time allegations of shady dealings in Nevada have been floated. Clinton supporters, however, have been on the receiving end of much of that controversy so far. After she was allocated 20 delegates from the state to Sanders’ 15, supporters, including Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, accused the state Democratic Party of ignoring attempts to change rules in the caucuses, rigging things in favor of Clinton and disqualifying Sanders-supporting delegates.
For a variety of reasons, including the complicated delegate allocation rules in Nevada, Politifact later rated allegations that Nevada Democratic Party leaders had “hijacked the process on the floor,” as Weaver put it, as false. The fact-checking website also rated as false the accusation that those leaders had ignored regular convention procedures and pushed through whatever they wanted.