Sanders victory in Michigan primary shocks Hillary, dismays pundits and MSM
The biggest political story of sorta-super Tuesday was the upset Sanders victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan, something nobody outside the Sanders campaign anticipated. As Paul Mirengoff of Powerline noted, “the Real Clear Politics poll average showed Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by 21 points” in Michigan.
Sanders gloated that it was “a major, game-changing victory for our campaign.” At the core of the Hillary defeat were two phenomena:
1. The partial collapse of her overwhelming margin among black voters. In Michigan, as Lucia Graves of The Guardian noted:
Clinton won fewer than two-thirds of African American voters in the state, significantly down from the 80-90% support she’s enjoyed elsewhere[.]
From a 10-to-1 margin to 2-to-1 edge qualifies as a partial collapse. To be sure, in Mississippi, which she won overwhelmingly, with more than 80% of the vote, blacks continued their overwhelming support. But in a northern industrial economy hit hard by trade deficits, Sanders demonstrated a strong appeal.
2. Low turnout among Democrats, a continuing trend that bodes very ill for Hillary if she wins the nomination. ABC News:
… turnout among Democrats in Michigan was down (and turnout among independents up) from 2008. (snip)
… independents accounted for a quarter of the electorate in the Michigan contest, a better group than mainline Democrats for Sanders.
The New York Times summarized:
Mrs. Clinton lost badly in Michigan among independents, showed continued weakness with working-class white Democrats, and was unable to count on as much of an advantage with black voters as she had in the South.
The Democrat establishment is almost as beleaguered by this defeat as the GOP is by the dominance of Trump and Cruz anti-establishment candidacies. Psychologically, committed as they are to Clinton, the impact may be even stronger, for they were unprepared for the success of the insurgent Sanders.
Some pundits claim that Clinton supporters, thinking she had a victory locked in, crossed over to vote in the GOP primary:
I wonder how much this affected the Dem primary. A MI friend also told me HRC had it locked, wanted to cross over https://t.co/XaaSPigajR— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) March 9, 2016
If so, it is time for Democrats to regroup and start destroying Sanders with the sort of vigor the GOPe is using against Trump (to the vast amusement of Dems and the media). The Washington Post has already begun this process, as noted by Adam Johnson of Common Dreams:
In what has to be some kind of record, the Washington Post ran 16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours, between roughly 10:20 PM EST Sunday, March 6, to 3:54 PM EST Monday, March 7—a window that includes the crucial Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, and the next morning’s spin.
Obviously, it didn’t work. But as is typical of failed liberal nostrums, the response will be to increase spending.
This spells even deeper trouble for the Democrats in November. The conventional wisdom is that Republican infighting will destroy the party’s eventual nominee’s chances. But embittered Sanders supporters have at least as high a propensity to desert the party if they feel cheated as Trump supporters do.
So the real story of sort-of super Tuesday is big trouble for the Hillary steamroller.