Posted: 9:44 pm Saturday, February 27th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
It wasn’t just a win. It was a blowout for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, as she defeated Bernie Sanders much like a big football school would dispatch a small college on a Homecoming Weekend in the South.
With almost all precincts reporting, Clinton had over 73 percent of the vote, to just 26 percent for Bernie Sanders – a 47 point win.
“Tomorrow, this campaign goes national!” Clinton said to cheers at her campaign celebration.
But there were more signs of a less than enthused base of Democratic voters, as turnout in South Carolina was down again for Democrats, as it has been in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Eight years ago, over 530,000 votes were cast in the Democratic Primary, when Barack Obama trounced Clinton by an over 2-to-1 margin.
In 2016, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, there were 363,000 votes tallied, a drop of 167,000 – down 31 percent.
Still for Clinton, it was the first step in what might be a series of southern victories on Super Tuesday, where the African-American vote is key.
In South Carolina, Clinton won the black vote by a huge margin of 87-13 percent according to exit polls.
In her victory speech, Clinton took one swipe at Donald Trump and his ‘Make America Great Again’ mantra.
“Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again,” Clinton said, riffing on Trump’s own campaign refrain.
“America has never stopped being great,” Clinton added. “But we do need to make America whole again, instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.”
As for Sanders, the numbers in South Carolina were a bigger win than what he had doled out to Clinton earlier this month in February.
And it certainly adds to the pressure against him to find some way to hold Clinton back on March 1.
“I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her very strong victory,” Sanders said after landing in Minnesota. “Tuesday, over 800 delegates are at stake and we intend to win many, many of them.”
“This campaign is just beginning,” Sanders added in an email to supporters, as he vowed to keep going past Super Tuesday.
Clinton will stump for votes in Tennessee and Arkansas on Sunday, and campaign in Virginia on Monday.
Sanders is in Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma City on Saturday and Sunday.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.