Update: Hillary Clinton looked great last night. As Hillary approached the stage she smiled broadly and looked like the fighter and candidate many fondly remember from 2008. That’s what a mega-victory and the prospect of more victories on SuperTuesday will do for you.
More importantly Hillary Clinton did what none of the Republican candidates have been able to do vis-a-vis Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton declared a competing vision for the country. Hillary also came up with a great retort to Donald Trump’s message “Make America Great Again”:
Clinton calls for ‘love and kindness’ in SC victory speech [snip]
“Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again — America hasn’t stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again,” she said Saturday in South Carolina, mocking Trump’s campaign slogan.
“Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers. We need to show, by everything we do, that we really are in this together.”
The former secretary of State appeared passionate as she worked to rally her supporters with an optimistic message, likely looking to counter Trump’s tone. She called for “more love and kindness” while working the crowd of supporters into cheers.
Democrats, Republicans, independents, everyone should be grateful to Hillary Clinton for this moment of clarity. What Hillary Clinton managed to do on her victory night was to cement the issue that will decide the presidency in 2016.
On the one hand we will have the “more love and kindness” campaign, “Make America Whole Again”. On the other side we will hear Donald J. Trump say there is no more time for business as usual – it’s time for a change – “nice” won’t do it.
That’s the dividing line in 2016.
Is it time for a change? Or do we want more of the same?
What Bernie Sanders demonstrates in 2016 is that the so-called “Obama Coalition” which we correctly analyze as more representative of what television network programmers want – a “Situation Comedy” demographic is split. The white young ‘uns are all gone Bernie (look at the results even in blowout South Carolina) and the African-American vote is back with the formerly “racist” Hillary even in South Carolina.
African-American voters want what few other groups in the country want:
Eighty-eight percent of black voters said they want the next president to continue Obama’s policies, a strong support group for Clinton.
As we explained in 2013’s “Muddled Message Mess”, this is a “CHANGE” election. It’s impossible to be the “change” agent and the “stay the course” candidate simultaneously.
As to “love and kindness”, that was the Jeb Bush campaign – I will take nothing and no one for granted. I will run with heart.
Jeb Bush ran “with heart” and got run over by a truck, then a train, then a plane. Jeb Bush was not the “change” candidate:
The entire premise of Bush’s candidacy now looks like a misread of an electorate that wasn’t amenable to establishment candidates—and a misunderstanding of a modern media environment ill-suited to a policy wonk who speaks in paragraphs, not punchy sound bites. He couldn’t sell experience to an electorate that wanted emotion. He couldn’t escape his last name.
A “whole” America, or a “great” America? That’s the 2016 campaign. Thank Hillary for that moment of clarity.
Hillary Clinton looked genuinely happy for the first time this election season immediately after her Nevada caucus win. Tonight Hillary Clinton will also be happy as she racks up a win in South Carolina.
The question will be “how big a win?”
This SuperTuesday Ted Cruz will face the same question. A blowout win by Ted Cruz of over 50% of the vote would help him emerge as a truly solid big time winner even though it is his home state. A ten point win in the home state would be nice although not particularly impressive. A “win” in the single digits, well below 50%”, will be the equivalent of a hospital patient whose organs are failing, at the last moment placed in an iron lung, to keep the body going after the spirit has departed.
Ted Cruz needed a big win in South Carolina too. South Carolina is the “doorway to the South” and if Ted Cruz could have won there SuperTuesday would have held possibilities to not only survive, but win.
Tonight, Hillary Clinton will win South Carolina. A blowout win of 30 points will pierce the heart of the Bernie Sanders campaign. The Sanders campaign lied to itself and its supporters that Sanders really truly did have a chance to be the party nominee and increasingly they believed it more and more. But it was always a delusion.
The Bernie Sanders campaign did not fool itself however with certain of its campaign assumptions. They knew that the more early wins they scored would help them endure the more difficult period in South Carolina and the South.
Sanders probably won the majority of votes in Iowa although the party will hide the vote totals until they are irrelevant to the race. The headline was that Hillary2016 “won” and that was enough. Then Bernie Sanders scored an impressive win in New Hampshire and a small defeat in Nevada. Now comes the defeat in South Carolina and further defeats in the South.
All the Sanders campaign has to do is survive. Unlike the cadaverous Ted Cruz and the puny Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders has victories to come in primaries and caucuses. Obviously in Vermont Bernie Sanders will win. Unlike Ted Cruz in his home state, Bernie Sanders in his home state of Vermont scores a stunning 75 points margin ahead of Hillary. Sanders might also win in Massachusetts and in assorted other states.
But the key point to remember is that Bernie Sanders only has to survive and he will advance. In every election Bernie Sanders will get delegates. In every election Bernie Sanders will get national debate time on national television. That’s Bernie Sanders’ “trump” card so it speak. Because of the proportional allocation of delegates Bernie Sanders has an incentive to stay in and proselytize.
Bernie Sanders really has little to lose, if anything. He was never a real contender for the nomination. In his entire career in public life it is all about talk talk talk never really doing anything. For Bernie Sanders the race is the victory.
The South Carolina primary will be mostly useful for comparison purposes. This is another contest we can compare the outcomes in voter participation rates between the two parties. It will also help us see the lay of the land for the general election. For instance, on SuperTuesday, Massachusetts will be a window for the general election:
Donald Trump is poised to romp across the South on Super Tuesday, cementing a hold on the Republican presidential nomination. But it’s little-watched and deeply liberal Massachusetts that’s sending shivers down Democrats’ spines.
Massachusetts, they fear, is where Trump could chart a course to the White House.
The state — the largest non-Southern prize on the GOP calendar next week — is packed with the independent, blue-collar voters that will decide key general election states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. And if Trump can trounce his Republicans rivals by pulling in those voters in Massachusetts on Tuesday, Democrats are afraid he could do the same to them nationwide in November.
“It’d be like the canary in the coal mine,” said Doug Rubin, a Democratic strategist who helped steer Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren to statewide victories in Massachusetts. “If Trump is able to convince a lot of moderate-to-conservative independents to vote in the primary and he does really well here, that would be a warning sign for Democrats going forward.” [snip]
“If he can do something big in Massachusetts and do something with people who don’t normally come out at all, if they come out for Trump, it says something enormous about the country,” added Sean Curran, a longtime Democratic fundraiser. “This is a bellwether for states that tend to be purple, if not blue, that there is some kind of vitality to his candidacy there for a general election. It would be a very, very unnerving thing.”
Tonight’s South Carolina vote won’t mean much in the Sanders v. Clinton match. Hillary wins South Carolina and all the SuperTuesday states except for Vermont. But for comparison purposes, as in Massachusetts, South Carolina is worth watching. We’ll be watching.