- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS

The only white people Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is winning consistently is women older than 65.

On Saturday, Mrs. Clinton got whooped by rival Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders in Washington state by 40 points. He also claimed decisive victories in Alaska and Hawaii.

Why?

Because all those states have a relatively small margin of African-American voters in their electorates. Hawaii’s Democratic voting electorate is 3 percent black, and Alaska’s and Washington’s is about 4 percent, according to past exit polls.

Mrs. Clinton’s sweep of the southern states — and prominent delegate lead — was driven by her turning out black votes and winning them by 80 percent margins. Much of her appeal within that demographic is her promise to continue with President Obama’s legacy, many of whom adore the sitting president.

White voters, on the other hand, are one of Mr. Sanders‘ core constituencies. His populist message has appealed to white-working class voters, who view U.S. trade-deals as a threat to American jobs, and see Wall Street — and establishment politics — as an insiders’ game only benefiting the rich and/or well connected.

The dissatisfied white male helped propel Mr. Sanders to a surprise victory in Michigan; the white, youth-vote helped him achieve a virtual tie in Iowa; and the white woman helped Mr. Sanders’s cinch New Hampshire. However, he continually loses the African-American and Hispanic vote to Mrs. Clinton, and in most states, loses women over the age of 65.

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, when the composition of the black Democratic electorate has been below 7 percent for states where Democratic primary exit polling in 2008 or 2016 was available, Mrs. Clinton has lost by an average of 30 points this year. When it’s more than 7 percent, Mrs. Clinton has won by 26 percentage points.

So what does this mean moving forward? Mrs. Clinton will most likely become the presumed Democratic nominee because the most of the big prized states on the calendar (New York, California) are more diverse, and she has a near insurmountable super-delegate lead.

Moving into the general, however, Mrs. Clinton will need to improve her messaging with white voters — especially those who identify with Mr. Sanders‘ view on the economy and trade.

You see, Republican front-runner Donald Trump is fueling his campaign with an outsider, economic message. In Michigan and Mississippi, six in 10 Republican primary voters said free trade cost the country more jobs than it produced, and they overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Trump.

On the Democratic side, in Michigan, among those Democrats who felt income inequality was their top issue, Mr. Sanders beat Mrs. Clinton 60 percent to 39 percent, and again, by a double-digit margin of those who think trade takes away jobs.

By the time November rolls around, who knows what Mr. Trump’s popularity will be, how vicious the anti-Trump forces will become, or how his presumed nomination will galvanize minorities — and the Democratic base — to turn out for Mrs. Clinton.

But we also don’t know where the U.S. economy will be. Mr. Trump’s rails against trade, Wall Street and the political establishment class may just turn out to be his trump card.

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