Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks (or you’ve only been reading H.A. Goodman articles lately) Hillary Clinton winning South Carolina shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise. While Bernie Sanders did well in Iowa, won in New Hampshire and kept it respectable in Nevada – essentially every poll for the last month had Clinton winning South Carolina fairly easily.
While it’s still clearly too early to know what the final count will be, typically when elections are called almost immediately after the polls close, you can bet that the win is going to be fairly substantial.
Going into today’s primary election, the Real Clear Politics polling average had Clinton winning by 28. Whereas very reliable polling expert Nate Silver actually predicted Clinton would beat Sanders by 38 points, 67-29 percent.
While both predictions might ultimately prove to be too generous, I wanted to use both to show that the results from South Carolina aren’t what anyone who’s been relying upon non-biased or factual information should be shocked to see.
So, what does this mean going forward? Well, quite a lot.
As I’ve pointed out before, since 1980, every single president won their party’s South Carolina primary. If that historical streak continues, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our next president. While all streaks are meant to be broken, 36 years does provide a fairly decent “sample size” as to just how important South Carolina has been in possibly predicting who will be our next president.
Not only that, but depending on how Sanders’ numbers look with minority voters, this is a fairly substantial blow for his campaign. Not that he probably expected to win South Carolina, but this is the second state in a row that isn’t primarily comprised of “white liberals” where he’s lost. Sure, he’ll likely do well in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, Kansas, Idaho, Washington, North Dakota and Colorado… but most of those are small states that have very few delegates, smaller populations and are largely comprised of white liberals. If Sanders can’t attract more African American and Latino voters to win in these more diverse states, he has practically zero chance at winning the nomination.
Though going even further, it’s looking fairly grim for Sanders on Super Tuesday. Here are some of Nate Silver’s predictions (and mind you he’s been accurate thus far this election) for some of the Super Tuesday states:
- Arkansas: Clinton +33
- Georgia: Clinton +49
- Massachusetts: Clinton +7
- Oklahoma: Clinton +9
- Tennessee: Clinton +35
- Texas: Clinton +37
- Vermont: Sanders +74
- Virginia: Clinton +31
Silver doesn’t have a projection for Alabama (another state that votes on Tuesday) though Real Clear Politics has a PPP poll showing Clinton up by 28.
As of now, neither Minnesota or Colorado have any up-to-date polling numbers. The last poll out of Colorado was done in November and the “newest” poll from Minnesota was back in late January that had Clinton up by 34. I wouldn’t view either poll as “credible” at this point.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s predict Colorado goes to Sanders and Minnesota to Clinton. If these numbers hold up, Clinton is set to win 9 of the next 11 states. And not only is she slated to win, in quite a few of these states she’s expected to win big.
The truth is, if the projections hold for Clinton through March 15, the nomination is essentially hers. While Bernie Sanders won’t be technically eliminated, it will be nearly impossible for him to win the amount of delegates it would take for him to overtake her for the lead.
I know that’s not what many Sanders supporters want to hear – but it’s just the truth. Don’t like it? Donate, organize, and volunteer countless hours for your candidate to change it. Get others involved. Prove Nate Silver and others wrong.
As I’ve said from the very start, if Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, I will go out of my way to do everything I can to get him elected as our next president. It’s just looking less and less likely by the day.
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