Hillary Clinton earned a decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27, 2016. Early returns indicated Clinton garnering votes by a 3-1 margin. The victory supported the basic theme of her campaign; that the former secretary of state has a decided advantage as it relates to minority voters.
The Washington Post reports that African-Americans represented 61 percent of the turnout in South Carolina’s Democratic primary. This percentage is an increase from the 57 percent from 2008.
Exit polls placed Sanders at having only gained 16 percent of this voter demographic. Pundits suggest these results may spell doom for Sanders. Over the last few weeks, Sanders has spent a significant amount of resources trying to present himself to the African-American community as a viable candidate.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, a prominent Democrat in South Carolina, threw his support behind Clinton earlier this week. During Clinton’s victory rally, Clyburn expressed that her victory of Feb. 27 will cement her path to the White House. The Los Angeles Times pointed out that Clinton earning a decisive victory in South Carolina is significant, as she has demonstrated popularity within the African-American community in primaries that have taken place in two very different states (Nevada and South Carolina). With Super Tuesday nearing, many of the Southern states in play have a very large African-American representation. If the current trend
s remain constant, Clinton could create distance between her and Sanders.
The Los Angeles Times reported that, rather than remaining in South Carolina, Sanders was in Minnesota campaigning for Tuesday’s primaries. Seen as a representative of a grassroots electorate, Sanders sees the race as still in the infant stages and pledged to continue the fight. Sanders has been dividing his time among Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Minnesota.
Reuters reported that during her victory speech, the former secretary of state wasted no time in attacking Republican hopeful Donald Trump. She said that Trump’s campaign message to make America great again had been rebutted. According to Clinton, American does not need to be made great again; it has never stopped being great.
The New York Times reported that Clinton’s victory may be enough to end Sander’s “Feel the Bern” momentum. The report continued that a handful of feel-good victories will not be enough if he does not perform well in states with large blocks of African-American voters. Alabama, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia are states where losses would create an insurmountable lead for his opponent. Early projections place Sanders at an advantage in states like Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In these states, minority voters are not as abundant as in Southern states.
Pollsters representing Sanders’ campaign have expressed concern for states where closed primaries are held. In such areas, independent voters experience difficulty participating unless they opt to register with the Democrat party. According to the New York Times, they showed optimism regarding states with open primaries. The focus is on the accumulation of delegates. With his opponent holding an advantage with superdelegates, Sanders needs to garner as many as possible if he is to remain a viable contender by the time the Democratic convention comes around.
“Clinton Earns a Decisive Victory” is something her campaign hopes to continue hearing from now on. Exit polls indicate that while African-Americans came out in support of Clinton, younger women did as well. The Washington Post reports that six in ten voters are women, of which eight in ten votes for her. Another positive for the Clinton campaign was that experience polled as more important. Questions of trustworthiness did not poll decisively for either candidate, with that group showing as split. With South Carolina in the rearview mirror, Super Tuesday seems to be on track to living up to its name.
By Garrett Sayers
Edited by Leigh Haugh
The Washington Post: The Latest: Clinton Collects 39 Delegates With SC Victory
Los Angeles Times: South Carolina Democratic primary: Clinton Wins By Nearly 50 Points; Sander Vows to Go On
Reuters: Clinton wins big in South Carolina on way to ‘Super Tuesday’
The New York Times: Hillary Clinton’s Winning Numbers in South Carolina Suggest Sweep in South
The Washington Post: Exit Poll: Black Voters Lead Clinton to Resounding Victory
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