Like Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders Will Surpass Clinton in South Carolina. Here's Why

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during an event at Town Hall in New York, Friday, Sept.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during an event at Town Hall in New York, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In a matter of months, Bernie Sanders has earned a substantial lead over Hillary Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Even though 25 percent of voters still "have not heard enough" of the Vermont Senator, and even though he's battling a Clinton campaign estimated to raise $2.5 billion, Sanders has achieved a feat once deemed unthinkable in the world of politics. Despite the fact that on January 19, 2015 he was polling at only 4.1 percent in the 2016 Democratic National Primary, Sanders has now surged to 25.9 percent.

In contrast, Clinton's lead according to the HuffPost Pollster interactive chart looks like a failing stock: 60 percent support on May 25, 2015 down to 44.9 percent by mid-September.

Polling trajectory shows Sanders and Clinton (email scandal, trustworthiness issues, etc.) going in opposite directions.

To some observers, Bernie's ascent in Iowa and New Hampshire correlates to the prevalence of an overly white and liberal population in these states.

Surely, a more diverse base of voters will be more favorable to Hillary Clinton.


Not necessarily, and there's a problem with this theory, at least in terms of its long-term relevance. It assumes that voters of all backgrounds won't "evolve" away from Clinton as fast as the former Secretary of State has "evolved" on war, gay marriage ( gives Clinton a "Full Flop" on gay marriage), the Iran Deal, the Trans Pacific-Partnership deal, and other issues.

The same white liberals citing Clinton's appeal to "non-White Democrats" fail to mention why Hillary Clinton's support among Democratic women continues to erode; something unimaginable just several months ago. The Washington Post explains that, "71 percent of Democratic-leaning female voters said in July that they expected to vote for Clinton, only 42 percent do now, a drop of 29 percentage points in eight weeks."

In a mere eight weeks, Clinton's appeal to Democratic women has dropped 29 percentage points. As for Bernie Sanders, MSNBC cites a recent poll indicating "Sanders has even eked ahead of Clinton among women voters, 42 percent to 38 percent."

Momentum has shifted away from the Clinton campaign when The Daily Beast writes that, "In the latest CNN/ORC poll, Clinton's lead with women has vanished (PDF) when she is matched up with neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Jeb Bush."

Clinton is now only up by less than 3 points over Trump.

So what do Clinton's dwindling poll numbers have to do with South Carolina?

Hillary Clinton shouldn't simply expect to win South Carolina, or Southern states on Super Tuesday, simply because at this point in time, poll numbers show her leading Sanders among "non-white Democrats." Below are three reasons why states with high African-American populations and "non-white Democrats" will eventually choose Bernie Sanders over Clinton, especially since only one candidate (Sanders) has a comprehensive Racial Justice Platform praised by Black Lives Matter activists.

1. Hillary Clinton emulated the GOP in her utilization of race during the 2008 campaign. South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn even asked Bill Clinton to "chill out."

According to a 2008 CNN article titled Prominent black lawmaker scolds Bill Clinton, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn expressed dismay at the Clinton Campaign's utilization of race in 2008:

In the wake of Barack Obama's victory in the South Carolina primary, Clyburn told Clinton to "chill out" after the former president made comments that angered some blacks, including Clinton's comparing Obama's blowout win to the Rev. Jesse Jackson taking the state in 1988.

"I was talking then about not angering our voters to the point where they wouldn't show up in November," Clyburn said. "So what I'm saying now is no different than what I said back in January."

In 2008, Bill Clinton was integral in Hillary's campaign and the former president was "deployed" to help with South Carolina. If Clyburn were to "scold" the former President in 2016, the media and Democratic voters would question Hillary Clinton's relationship with "non-white Democrats."

In addition, Congressman Clyburn is quoted in a New York Times piece titled Black Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton's Remarks, explaining how the Clintons unfairly injected race into the campaign:

Representative James E. Clyburn, an undeclared superdelegate from South Carolina who is the Democratic whip in the House, said that "black people are incensed over all of this," referring to statements that Mr. Clinton had made in the course of the heated race between his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Senator Barack Obama...

Rather than focus solely on current poll numbers, observers of the 2016 presidential race should simply look back at 2008. When a leading African-American Congressman says "black people are incensed over all of this," it's apparent that the '08 campaign illustrated a far different political climate than 2016.

2. The Clinton Campaign used a controversial 3 a.m. ad to win Southern votes in 2008, which Harvard Sociologist Orlando Patterson believed contained a "racist sub-message."

In a New York Times op-ed titled The Red Phone in Black and White, Harvard Sociologist and author of Slavery and Social Death makes the case that Hillary Clinton utilized racism in order to defeat Obama in Southern states:

ON first watching Hillary Clinton's recent "It's 3 a.m." advertisement, I was left with an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right...

I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad's central image -- innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger -- it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn't help but think of D. W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation," the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society.

In my reading, the ad, in the insidious language of symbolism, says that Mr. Obama is himself the danger, the outsider within...

It is significant that the Clinton campaign used its telephone ad in Texas...

It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.

Therefore, it seems that Hillary Clinton once emulated a certain GOP candidate in 2016, with her refusal to "state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim." Most importantly, these are the words of a Harvard sociologist, nationally respected for his work on race and symbolism in American history.

3. Bernie Sanders has a Racial Justice Platform praised by Deray Mckesson while the founder of Black Lives Matter in Boston has called Clinton's racial justice record "abysmal."

Those who cite polls pertaining to Bernie Sanders and "non-white Democrats" ignore the fact Sanders was one of the few progressives in the 80's to endorse both of Jesse Jackson's presidential runs. They ignore the fact Sanders was active in civil rights for decades and completely ignore the fact that Black Lives Matter is also focused on gay rights; Sanders championed gay rights while Clinton evolved on gay marriage. However, the biggest omission in any analysis on Sanders and "non-white Democrats" is reference to his comprehensive Racial Justice Platform:

We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic.

It is an outrage that in these early years of the 21st century we are seeing intolerable acts of violence being perpetuated by police, and racist terrorism by white supremacists.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton waited three weeks to address Michael Brown's death and Ferguson and was grilled by Twitter. Why three weeks? Also, Clinton expressed the belief that laws must change before hearts, but failed to elaborate on the fact that Bill Clinton recently apologized for his 1994 crime bill.

Like the viewpoints expressed by Anoa Changa and Pat Downs of Women for Bernie in a recent HuffPost Live segment, African-Americans, Latinos and other demographics of voters will vote based upon the merits of a candidate; not a poll number linked to name recognition. Eventually, an honest comparison between Clinton's actions in 2008 and the record of Bernie Sanders on racial and economic justice will lead to one conclusion. Bernie Sanders will win South Carolina and other Southern states, primarily because he's never utilized race as a means to win an election.