Sunday, February 28, 2016

South Carolina Sets Up Super Tuesday Endgame for Bernie Sanders

I was saying so much last night, "Hillary Clinton Wins South Carolina Primary (VIDEO)."

At Politico, "Hillary Clinton's romp dramatically narrows Bernie Sanders' path forward":
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A bruising, 48-point loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina Saturday night dramatically narrowed the path forward for Bernie Sanders, raising serious doubts about his ability to win the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

South Carolina will widen Clinton’s delegate lead, currently at one after her Nevada win. But more significant, the contest here demonstrated that the Vermont senator has failed to make any headway at all with African-American voters in the South – even with 200 paid Sanders staffers on the ground and nearly $2 million in television spending, Clinton swept the black vote by a five-to-one ratio, according to exit polls. Among black voters 65 and over, Clinton won by a stunning 96 to 3 percent.

“When we stand together there is no barrier too big to break,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Columbia, where she took the stage alone for the first time without Bill or Chelsea Clinton by her side. “Tomorrow, we take this campaign national.”

Now, heading into Super Tuesday when 11 states will cast ballots on March 1, Sanders will face possibly insurmountable contests in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia, all states with sizable black populations and where he has not invested as much time or money.

“Delegates determine the presidential nomination and I don’t see a path for Sanders to get there,” said Jeff Berman, a consultant to the Clinton campaign who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate strategy.

Running through a best-case scenario for Sanders, Clinton operatives said they expect Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont – states tailor-made for Sanders because they are caucus states, predominantly white states, New England states, or states with a history of electing progressives.

But even if Sanders manages to pull out significant wins in all five, the delegate math will make it difficult for Sanders to catch up – they represent only one-third of the delegates up for grabs on March 1. And the Clinton campaign has invested heavily in states like Colorado and Minnesota in order to limit Sanders’ margins.

Sanders’ operatives said they are looking beyond Super Tuesday, to the more friendly terrain of Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine to deliver them wins. But by then, Clinton operatives predicted, it could be too little too late to close the delegate gap.

“Our delegate lead will only grow in the period after Super Tuesday,” Berman said.