Clinton and Sanders: after South Carolina

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With more money raised than any candidate in either party, commanding the passion of the young, Bernie Sanders killed his primary campaign in South Carolina tonight. As I type, fifty-two percentage points separate him and Hillary Clinton with 29 percent of the vote. Fifty-two. Eight in ten black voters supported Clinton. Sanders is my guy, but he’s been rubbish at persuading African Americans to vote for him. Fellow Sanders supporters, this is a fuck-up of Homeric proportions. When Chuck Todd smirks as he theorizes that Sanders’ strategy is to guarantee a prime speaking time at the Democratic convention, the establishment that had already paid Sanders the most minimal attention is looking already to the neoliberal and her husband for ratings.

And it’s Sanders’ fault.

I’ve already seen a couple of comments in which so-called progressive whites rebuked black Americans for not voting for their own interests. The truth: Sanders ran a fucking horrible campaign in South Carolina. He wasn’t around.

As for Clinton’s victory speech, it combined decent sentences with an undergraduate debate club delivery; I’m conscious, though, that women too often get accused of shrillness. But she recognized a smart, resonant line: “It’s not about making America great — it’s about making America whole.” She delivered it well. As she spoke Sanders was in the air, on his way to another primary state. With the tens of millions at his disposal he must try harder to woo Clinton voters who despite the welfare bill that her husband signed into law still recognized the meticulousness with which the former secretary of state courted them. And time’s running out.

Meanwhile Sam Stein:

But it is treated as a truism among Republicans that a vast reservoir of damaging opposition research remains untouched. It’s a suspicion that Democrats aren’t challenging. Indeed, one Democratic opposition research said that they’ve spent the past eight months compiling material on Trump as he’s risen up the ranks. That’s actually not a lot of time. Democrats had started focusing on Mitt Romney in 2009 — a full two years before he ran again for the presidency. But those eight months have produced some good.

That researcher estimated that of all the material they’ve compiled — court and property records, newspaper clips and videos — approximately 80 percent of it has yet to surface in this election cycle.

We’ll know in the late spring, won’t we, probably at the same time we realize how true today’s New York Times story is about GOP panjandrums rescinding endorsements and institutional support for Donald Trump in the hopes of keeping the Senate on the same November evening when Hillary Clinton is elected president by comfortable margins.

In the meantime I’ll close with Charles Pierce, who voted for Sanders but will support Clinton in the fall:

There is no question in my mind that, without Bernie Sanders and the forces behind him, Hillary Rodham Clinton is not talking like a Wall Street reformer, not bragging about how she’s going to go after the shadow banking community, and probably not being as vocal a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement as she has been. I don’t really care if it’s genuine or if it’s expedient; I’m fond of quoting Drew Pearson’s fictional President Ben Hannaford’s insight that, in a democracy, the right things always get done for the wrong reasons. The point is that she has to be kept to these positions even after she gets the nomination—and I think she is going to be the nominee—and the more states Sanders wins, and the more votes he piles up, and the more delegates come to Philadelphia pledged to support him, then the more tightly she can be fastened to the positions she adopted to beat him.

That’s what’s at stake.

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