Most of our attention is on the Republican race moving south, but the Democrats are doing the same thing. Bernie Sanders has competed well with Hillary Clinton in two rural, northern, white states.
But as the race moves to South Carolina, at least two of those attributes change, and that leads us to how I expect Hillary Clinton to start winning states convincingly.
A cross with cutouts of handguns and the names of the nine victims of the Charleston church shootings stands at the door to the chapel at Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Parishioners attending a Stand-Up Sunday service at the chapel on Jan. 31 will pass under the cross. An estimated 1,300 congregations of all denominations in South Carolina are participating in the Stand-Up Sunday to draw attention to the national epidemic of gun violence and seek tighter gun laws while respecting people’s rights to own guns. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Bernie Sanders is unpopular with the Black Lives Matter activists. And while Sanders may think that meeting with an old MSNBC host will help with that, tokenism isn’t going to go far.
Here’s why: young black men getting shot is a major issue with the Black Lives Matter activists, hence the name. So when we see Clinton pressing Sanders on guns, while Sanders is desperately tacking left on the issue, we know both candidates take it seriously.
But in those rural, northern, white states, it wasn’t really a top issue. Heck, a good number of Sanders and Clinton voters in Iowa and New Hampshire probably own and operate firearms. But now we’re going to South Carolina. That’s important because in South Carolina there are cities, including Charleston. Charleston is where a black church was shot up 8 months ago, murdering nine at the Bible study going on.
Expect Hillary Clinton to bring it up. Expect Black Lives Matter folks to bring it up. Expect the name Dylann Roof to be tied to “Bernbros:” the young, white men backing Sanders who are already being contrasted with the young, white women backing Clinton.
I guarantee you there are a good many voters who will just need to be told once. When they hear that Sanders has a record of opposing gun control, they’ll vote Clinton. I expect there will be enough of those voters, that Sanders just doesn’t have a chance.