As a sweet revenge for her defeat at New Hampshire, US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton crushed rival Bernie Sanders at the South Carolina (Columbia) primary on 27 February, propelling her into next week’s crucial ‘Super Tuesday’ voting in 11 states on a wave of momentum.
As expected, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton cruised to a commanding victory by drawing overwhelming support from the state’s black Democrats and putting her in a strong position as the race barrels toward crucial multi-state contests on March –01. Hillary also won most women and voters aged 30 and older, according to early exit polls.
Clinton’s win provided an important boost for her campaign and a moment to wipe away bitter memories of her awful loss to Barack Obama in the South Carolina primary eight years ago. At a campaign victory party in Columbia, supporters broke into raucous cheers as the race was called in Clinton’s favour.
Already the Democratic hopefuls focus on next primary. Clinton made a stop in Alabama, a Super Tuesday state, before returning to Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, for an evening victory party.
Sanders admitted defeat early in the night. “Let me be clear on one thing tonight. This campaign is just beginning. We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina. Now it’s on to Super Tuesday,” Sanders said in a statement. Sanders, expecting defeat, left the state even before voting was finished and turned his attention to some of the states that vote in next Tuesday’s delegate-rich contests. He drew 10,000 people to a rally in Austin, a liberal bastion in conservative Texas, the biggest March 1 prize. While Sanders spent the end of the week outside of South Carolina, his campaign did invest heavily in the state.
In a statement, Sanders vowed to fight on aggressively henceforth. ‘This campaign is just beginning,’ he said. ‘Our grass-roots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won’t stop now.’ Black voters powered Clinton to victory, with 8 in 10 voting for her.
Already with nearly half of the votes counted in South Carolina, Clinton led Sanders by a 50-point margin, dramatically reversing her 28-point loss in the state to President Barack Obama during their bitter 2008 primary battle.
The former secretary of state’s victory decisively established her strength among black voters, a crucial Democratic constituency who make up more than half of the party’s primary electorate in South Carolina.
Clinton’s camp was hoping a big win in South Carolina, after more narrow victories in Iowa and Nevada and Sanders’ clear win in New Hampshire will set her up for a big night on Tuesday, when about 875 delegates will be up for grabs, more than one-third of those needed to win the nomination.
The Democratic race now becomes a broader national contest. Eleven states, including six in the South with large minority populations where polls show Clinton with big leads, will vote on Super Tuesday and four more over the next weekend. “This campaign goes national,” Clinton said.
After the win, Clinton appeared to be looking ahead to a general-election matchup with Republican front-runner Donald Trump, the billionaire whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again” and has called for building a wall on the border with Mexico. Clinton replied: “Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again, America has never stopped being great,” she told cheering supporters in Columbia after the win. “Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.” “Today you sent a message,” Clinton said. “In America, when we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break.”
The rout of Sanders solidified Clinton’s status as the strong front-runner to capture the party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election in her quest to become America’s first woman president.
The result was Clinton’s third victory in the first four Democratic contests, and raised more questions about whether Sanders, the democratic socialist US senator from Vermont, will be able to expand his support beyond his base of predominantly white liberals.
Sanders, who has energized the party’s liberal wing and brought young people to the polls with his message of attacking income equality and reining in Wall Street, needs a breakthrough win in a key state in the next few weeks to keep his hopes alive.
Meanwhile, Republican Donald Trump who is all out to impress the anti-Islam constituencies as a safe and easy route to White House is working to build an insurmountable lead. The Clinton victory in black dominated South Carolina where Obama won last time does not indicate any real chances for the former President Bill Clinton’s wife.
Movement candidates are about momentum and excitement, and losses sap that momentum. That’s his problem right now.” Recognizing his steep odds in South Carolina, Sanders had spent most of the past week in states that will vote in March.
Is door closing fast for Bernie Sanders? Not necessarily. The crucial multi-state contests known as ‘Super Tuesday’ voting in 11 states on March –01 will give an idea about his chances or otherwise for nomination.