Clinton: Firewall holds, nomination in sight
S.C. Democrats were “ready for Hillary.”
Clinton’s win in South Carolina sets her on the path to securing the Democratic presidential nomination.
Propelled by the support of S.C. African-American voters, Clinton’s Palmetto State win foreshadows how well she will perform next week, on Super Tuesday, and beyond, as the nominating contest moves quickly across the South, in states with similar demographics, and the West.
Clinton counted on South Carolina to be a firewall against possible losses in earlier-voting states. Those states with less diverse, more liberal voters — Iowa, where Clinton narrowly won, and New Hampshire, where she suffered a huge loss — favored U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent seeking the Democratic nomination.
However, Clinton’s strong win Saturday in the Palmetto State leaves little doubt about how viable her candidacy is as she heads into future contests.
Clinton’s S.C. win also settles – once and for all – the question of whether S.C. Democrats held any hard feelings against Clinton after her intense battle with then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. They didn’t.
Bernie Sanders: The beginning of the end?
Sanders spent a good deal of time focusing on South Carolina, courting African-American voters in hopes of proving to Democrats nationally – especially minority voters – that his appeal extends beyond progressives and activists in white enclaves.
The inroads that he made were too small and too late. But the support that he did build – among young voters and some African-American voters – shows his message was not lost on S.C. Democrats.
The Sanders campaign says it has a path forward to the nomination — winning in states with caucus-style contests, and where Sanders' anti-trade and pro-labor message resonates.
Even if that math does not add up, Sanders has pushed the Democratic debate into more progressive corners, forcing a debate about economic inequality, Wall Street’s influence on U.S. politics and the challenges facing millennial voters who are entering a sluggish job market.
That progressive focus could pay dividends down the road – reshaping the national Democratic Party’s platform and encouraging higher participation by new, younger voters.