Hillary Clinton Wins South Carolina As Bernie Sanders Flops With Black Voters
By Liz Goodwin
Hillary Clinton trounced her rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina Saturday, her second decisive win in a week as she heads into Super Tuesday.
“Tomorrow, this campaign goes national,” Clinton said to a fired-up crowd at the volleyball court in the University of South Carolina.
Her speech was largely aimed at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, as if she were already the nominee making a general election pitch. “We don’t need to make America great again. America never stopped being great,” she said. “Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.”
She quoted Scripture and asked for more “love and kindness,” setting up a sharp contrast to Trump.
The win dims Sanders’ prospects but at the same time makes Clinton’s job of appealing to his supporters, a passionate part of the Democratic base she can ill afford to alienate before the general election, even more urgent.
Clinton campaigned hard in the state, drawing large, mostly African-American crowds to town halls and rallies across South Carolina. (ABC exit polling showed that Clinton won 84 percent of the black vote.) She stressed her personal commitment to the state, which she first visited as a young lawyer fighting against a system that sent juveniles to adult jails, and slammed Sanders on gun control in particular. She campaigned with African-American mothers whose children were killed by police or in incidents of gun violence, and made reforming the criminal justice system and ending “systemic racism” a centerpiece of her stump speech.
Her high-profile surrogates also made the case that Sanders’ courting of the black vote was driven by political necessity — flipping the script on the insurgent candidate who has run on his authenticity.
“Don’t you come to my communities, talk about how much you care, talk your passion for criminal justice, and then I don’t hear from you after an election. And I didn’t hear from you before the election,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told a group of mostly black voters who gathered in a Methodist church in Florence to hear Clinton speak Thursday.
In a statement, Sanders congratulated Clinton on her win but said the race was far from over. “This campaign is just beginning,” he said. “We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina. Now it’s on to Super Tuesday.”
Sanders, surging after a big win in New Hampshire, hit a wall in this state, where exit polls suggested more than 60 percent of the Democratic primary voters were black. Despite outreach attempts and the testimony of African-American surrogates who crisscrossed South Carolina on his behalf, Sanders did not make significant inroads with black voters here. At a muted rally Friday night in Columbia, the Vermonter remained confident. “I’m going to need your help the day after the general election,” Sanders told the mostly white crowd of a couple of hundred supporters.
From Yahoo Politics (February 27, 2016)