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We ask: Can Bernie Sanders win in November?

On Tuesday, Sanders and six other Democrats will take the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina
On Tuesday, Sanders and six other Democrats will take the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina

After his victory in Nevada, self-described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is the front-runner.

And that's what worries local Democrat Paula Patruso.

“I was a precinct leader at the caucus. I want somebody a little more moderate. I don't like the word 'socialist' being attached to the Democratic Party,” she told us as we stood outside Henderson's Paseo Verde Library.

Last week, Las Vegas was in the campaign spotlight.

On Tuesday, Sanders and six other Democrats will take the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina, four days before that state’s primary. It is the 10th Democratic debate, and America, again, will see a party with a split personality: the progressive Sanders on one side; the moderates on the other.

After Nevada, the question getting louder is this: If Bernie wins the nomination, is that bad or good for Democrats' chances in November?

RELATED | With time running out to stop Sanders, Dems set to debate in South Carolina

“Anybody who says they know what's gonna happen in the 2020 cycle doesn't know what they're talking about,” Hugh Jackson, the editor of the progressive-leaning Nevada Current, said Tuesday.

Jackson tells us Democratic establishment indigestion over a Sanders ticket may be misplaced.

“We have no idea what kind of coalition Sanders can in fact build in a general election,” says Jackson.

The Sanders campaign promises to get out scores of new voters, although we haven't seen that yet in this nominating contest. But it's early and the election is eight months away.

If President Trump will be playing to his base, “then do Democrats want someone who is going to be kind of mamby-pamby, in trying to split, to thread the needle, or do they want someone that can get that base fired up and go out?" Jackson asks.

Democrats are also fretting about what a Sanders ticket would mean to down-ballot races. No down-ballot race could potentially be more impacted than freshman Democrat Susie Lee’s effort to keep her swing 3rd District seat in Congress.

"Clearly, Representative Lee has some major policy differences with Senator Sanders," her campaign told News 3 today in a statement. "That being said, no matter who is at the top of the ticket, Susie will be focused on delivering bipartisan solutions on the issues that affect the lives of her constituents."

“Nevadans can trust that Susie has their backs, and we are confident they will have her back in November,” said the Lee campaign.

Jackson says Lee survives if 3rd District Democrats get out to vote.

“If people show up, she is going to win,” Jackson says.

The South Carolina primary is Saturday. A week from today comes super Tuesday, with 16 contests awarding 1,357 delegates. If Sanders does well, he takes a big step toward winning the Democratic nomination.