The establishment won a sweeping victory in South Carolina tonight. Democrat Hillary Clinton—the candidate favored and financed by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley—trounced rival Bernie Sanders.
Clinton grabbed 73.5% of the vote, leaving Sanders in the dust with a mere 26%.
Blacks made the difference, accounting for 61% of South Carolina Democratic primary voters. Remarkably, Clinton did better in the state with black voters than Barack Obama in 2008.
White voters also rejected Sanders. They voted 54% for Clinton to 46% for Sanders.
Of the 53 delegates at stake, Clinton took 53 and Sanders just 14. According to the Associated Press, Clinton now has a total of 544 delegates including superdelegates and Sanders 85.
2,383 delegates are needed to cinch the nomination.
The poor showing has whittled away the Vermont senator’s momentum and is likely to shape the vote in upcoming primaries.
It appears likely the trend experienced today in South Carolina will repeat itself in the Super Tuesday states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia where black voters comprise a large share of the electorate.
66% of the delegates—totaling 865—up for grabs in Super Tuesday contests are from these states. Polls in Southern states show Clinton enjoys a 23% lead over Sanders. Thus far, according to polls, Sanders only leads in Super Tuesday votes in his home state Vermont.
“It’s difficult to oversell how big that lead is. Not only will media be filled with ‘Clinton Wins Big’ headlines, but the way that delegates are awarded in Democratic primaries (proportionally) makes it a tall task to come back from a 100+ delegate deficit. You can’t just win; you have to win big,” writes Harry Enten, a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight.
Many if not most Sanders voters will ultimately vote for Clinton, especially if Donald Trump takes the Republican nomination, which now seems inevitable. “If I’m terrified of him, I will probably vote for Clinton,” a young Sanders supporter told PBS on Saturday.
Despite the likelihood of Democrats flocking to the Clinton camp on election day it now appears Trump will win the election, according to a professor at Stony Brook University. Helmut Norpoth based his prediction on statistical modeling.
“The bottom line is that the primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president,” Norpoth said.
Norpoth’s model has accurately predicted the winner of every national election since 1912 except the election of 1960 when John F. Kennedy won by a narrow margin. Republican Richard Nixon lost the popular vote by less than half of a percentage point.