Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia

With the results in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Colorado still out, Hillary Clinton has racked up decisive wins in a number of states making the path to the nomination far more difficult for Bernie Sanders.  In Virginia, Clinton's victory was by 29 percentage points.  Her wins in some states in the Deep South were even more striking.  Only in his home state of Vermont did Sanders turn in a landslide result.  Politico looks at the results so far.  Here are excerpts:
This is the day Hillary Clinton has longed for.  The former secretary of state, who's struggled in two presidential elections to coalesce the Democratic Party behind her, notched decisive wins across the South Tuesday night on her way to a potentially prohibitive lead in the primary contest against Bernie Sanders. Clinton was announced the winner in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas as soon as polls closed. Sanders won Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont.
A cheerful Clinton made clear she's already eyeing a general election match up against Donald Trump, who was posting a similarly dominant night on the Republican side.
"We know we’ve got work to do. But that work, that work is not to make American great again," she said to an audience of supporters in Florida, invoking Trump's famous slogan. "We have to make America whole. We have to fill in — fill in what’s been hollowed out."
"The stakes of this election have never been higher. And the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower," she continued.
Sanders delivered a rally-the-troops speech after clinching his home state of Vermont. Saying he stood to rack up hundreds of delegates during the night, he urged his backers to ignore the impending string of statewide defeats and pledged to remain in the race into June.
Clinton's wins in the South were powered by overwhelming support from African-Americans, who helped her deliver a similar drubbing in South Carolina last week. Sanders' inability to make inroads with the black community could ultimately sink his underdog campaign.
Even as polls were closing, Democrats began envisioning Sanders' role in the race after Clinton cuts off his path to the nomination. "He didn’t start off, in my view, thinking he was going to be the Democratic nominee," David Axelrod, a former aide to President Barack Obama, said on CNN. 
Axelrod said Sanders was likely to remain in the race to drive issues he staked his candidacy on, like economic inequality. "He has done that and he will continue to do that."
Sanders' goal was to emerge from Super Tuesday with a viable comeback path. But it's unclear how he envisions proceeding from here. His team has sketched a strategy that involves running up margins in the predominantly white states that have responded better to his message. He's hoping to rattle off wins in the weeks ahead in friendlier territory — Nebraska, Kansas and Maine, which are next on the calendar.
There are signs that Clinton has already turned her attention toward the general election and a potential matchup with Trump, who's poised to have a similarly dominant day on the Republican side. In a potential preview of a campaign against him, Clinton focused her victory speech in South Carolina on countering Trump's message, saying "America has never stopped being great" and that the country could use "more love and kindness."
Whether Clinton gets to maintain her focus on Trump will largely depend on whether she can notch a solid enough delegate lead to put Sanders in the rear view mirror. Though all of the Democratic contests award delegates proportionally — ensuring Sanders won't come away empty-handed — big wins by Clinton would put him in a deep hole in the battle to secure 2,383 delegates and the nomination.

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