Dominating Clinton Victory Forces Sanders to Regroup
The Democratic Party held its ‘First in the South Primary’ in South Carolina Saturday. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, are the last two remaining Democratic candidates for president. As predicted, Secretary Hillary Clinton won convincingly. However, the level of domination was not predicted. Clinton won 73.5% of the vote with over 271,000 people casting a ballot for her. Sanders failed to crack the 100,000 mark, earning fewer than 96,000.
It is speculated that Sanders anticipated this lopsided defeat, and conceded the state several days in advance, electing to campaign almost exclusively in Super Tuesday contests. Political analysts question whether Sanders can garner the support from new voters that he claims will fuel his victory. The viability of the Sanders campaign is dependent upon the turnout of young voters. Young voters have traditionally been the least reliable voting block in the U.S. and that has proven true in the first few contests.
Among non-white voters, Clinton has enjoyed a healthy lead. If Sanders is to regroup and become competitive in these primary and caucus races, his campaign must adapt and find ways to influence non-white voters to support his candidacy. Clinton won nearly every voting demographic polled on Saturday. To not be competitive in any voting block in South Carolina is telling. With Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas on the horizon, Sanders does not have much time to reverse field and prevent Saturday’s showing from repeating itself.
If the South Carolina Primary is prologue for Super Tuesday, the Sanders campaign will be forced to reconsider whether continuing this fight is worth further fracturing the party. He must demonstrate an ability to win outside of New England. Furthermore, he cannot suffer another defeat of this magnitude. Many within the party believe losses of these proportions are inexcusable at this stage in the campaign and question whether Sanders’ economic populist message is resonating.
After South Carolina, the delegate count stands at:
Secretary Clinton: 543
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