9:40: With 99% reporting it’s 73.5 to 26. Big win for Hillary Clinton, and Bernie isn’t likely to do much better in the rest of the southern states. He needs to pull out some magic on Tuesday. Here’s the big winner’s victory speech.
8:40: With nearly 75% of the vote in, Hillary’s lead is actually holding even stronger than I’d thought. She’s keeping a roughly 75-25 spread. That’s some impressive marketing, I have to say. In an election with such an overwhelming majority of black voters, Clinton has sold the public on the idea that she’s actually the civil rights champion who is fighting for the rights of black citizens. This, in spite of the fact that Congressman John Lewis lied about her history in the movement, having never even met her until 1991, while Bernie Sanders was actually out there getting arrested in civil rights protests in the sixties. Well… you have to credit a strategy that wins.
7:04: It took CNN all of 40 seconds by their own clock to declare Hillary Clinton the winner, and 30 seconds of that was the dramatic music and graphics. See the exit polls further down in the post to figure out why. We won’t have the hard numbers for a while, but I’d guess it’s somewhere in the 65 – 35 range. You can follow updates from Decision Desk HQ here.
Unlike the chaotic bumper car festival which is most of the Republican Primary, the Democrats have dragged their two elderly Caucasian candidates to South Carolina for a primary vote which appeared to be over before it began today. In fact, I expect to be updating this thread with an announcement of Hillary’s victory within five minutes or less of this post going live. (See updates above)
But first, the early exit polls.
And since it’s still somewhat relevant to the presidential selection process, let’s get to the evening news on the contest while we wait. As it turns out, Sanders won’t even be there for the victory party since he fled town before the voting even began.
Sanders spent much of the past week campaigning in other states — and attacking Clinton on an array of issues with new gusto. On Saturday morning, he flew to Texas, one of the delegate-rich Super Tuesday states, with planned stops in Austin and Dallas. And later in the day, he will be at a rally in Rochester, Minn., another Tuesday ballot.
In an interview this week, Sanders acknowledged that South Carolina is a “hard state for us, no ifs, buts and maybes.”
“She has names of many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who supported her. You start off with that, you have those votes in the bank, and you go on,” Sanders said.
Not one to be outdone, Hillary Clinton has kept herself busy as well. Though I’m not entirely sure why she was crashing a bachelor party.
The campaign trail has taken Hillary Clinton through coffee shops and bakeries, diners and ice cream parlors, stands at state fairs where they fry things that shouldn’t be fried. And, Friday, it took her to a bachelor party.
Joe Schreck and his 10 groomsmen were toasting Schreck ahead of his wedding with a round of Bloody Marys when Clinton and her entourage swooped into Saffron, a cafe and bar in Charleston, S.C.
They asked her for a photo — all 11 of them. When Clinton realized she was in the middle of a pre-wedding party, she exclaimed: “He’s getting married today! That’s pretty exciting.”
For those who understandably feel some trepidation at the thought of clicking on the link, allow me to ease your minds: there is no mention of Hillary Clinton coming out of a giant cake, so you’re good to go.
Speaking of going, her husband Bill was keeping busy on the campaign trail for the old ball and chain as well. Trying a new strategy which one generally doesn’t see on the presidential circuit, he curiously decided to tell one of America’s veterans to shut up. It happened during a Friday rally in South Carolina where a Marine stood up and mentioned the uncomfortable topic of Benghazi, then asking Bill what Hillary planned to do about the VA situation. When his initial response didn’t seem to satisfy, a heated exchange broke out, leading to this:
“Am I allowed to answer? I’m not your commander in chief anymore but if I were, I’d tell you to be more polite and sit down.”
“I wouldn’t listen!” the man shouted in return.
“Do you have the courage to listen to my answer? Don’t throw him out. Shut up and listen to my answer. I’ll answer it,” Clinton said as the man was pushed out of the gymnasium by sheriff’s deputies.
“Can I just saying something? That’s what’s wrong: his mind has been poisoned by lies and he won’t listen,” Clinton said.
That one really calls for a video to get the full effect:
The only thing we’re fairly sure of ahead of time is that precincts across that state have been reporting “light” to moderate turnout all day long. One Democrat official showed up on CNN estimating that the vote totals might run somewhere in the range of 350K. That stands in contrast to the roughly 750K who showed up for Trump’s blowout win here earlier. We won’t know until later in the evening, but it may be the one figure worth keeping an eye on. If the Democrats have a prayer of winning in November they’re going to need to start generating some excitement that will get folks out to vote. Thus far we’re not seeing it in any of the early states.