Clinton routs Sanders in South Carolina Democratic race

Washington, Feb 28 (IANS) Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton easily cruised to a sweeping victory in crucial South Carolina Democratic primary bringing her campaign back on track heading into Super Tuesday contests in a eleven states.

The former secretary of state’s 73.5 percent to 26 percent victory Saturday in South Carolina over self-styled Democratic Socialist rival Bernie Sanders was her strongest yet in the 2016 primary contest.

It even exceeded then senator Barack Obama’s 29-point victory over her in 2008 during her first bid for the White House, proving the strength of her diverse Southern firewall.

She narrowly won the Iowa caucuses and was trounced by Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. Clinton won the Nevada caucuses earlier this week by five percentage points.

“We’ve now gone through four early states and I want to congratulate Senator Sanders on running a great race,” Clinton said. “Tomorrow, this campaign goes national.”

“We are going to compete for every vote in every state. We are not taking anything and we’re not taking anyone for granted,” she said.

In her victory speech Clinton also took a clear swipe at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and his plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants and his campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

“Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great,” she said. “But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.”

Exit polls cited by CNN showed Clinton with a massive 80 percent support among African-Americans who voted on Saturday, while Sanders topped Clinton by a 60 percent-40 percent margin among white voters.

In a statement, Sanders congratulated Clinton on her win but made clear that South Carolina is only one contest in a race he hinted would go on for a long time.

“Let me be clear on one thing tonight. This campaign is just beginning,” Sanders said. “We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina. Now it’s on to Super Tuesday.”

He added: “Our grassroots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won’t stop now.”

But the New York Times said if Clinton racks up similar proportions of the black vote in the South on Tuesday as she did in South Carolina on Saturday, it would greatly reduce Sanders’s chances to win the Democratic nomination.

The Washington Post said “With the victory in South Carolina, Clinton can claim a powerful advantage among black voters who could determine the outcome in a half-dozen Southern states that vote next.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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