Sanders Takes Wolverine State
The Wolverine State proved to be a surprise for the campaign of Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He entered the Michigan Presidential Preference Primary as the decided underdog in the state.
All of the major polls going into the weekend had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sanders by twenty percentage points or better. Many political pundits had placed the Wolverine state in the Clinton column. Seemingly it was time to write Sanders’ obit.
It was not to be.
On Sunday, Sanders had a very impressive showing in the Flint Town Hall style debate. For the first time in the campaign, Sanders took the fight to Clinton. He framed his philosophy of the rich getting richer at the expense of the middle class in terms easily understood by the average voter in Michigan. This is something he had failed to do in previous debates. Also, he sharply criticized Clinton on trade issues.
Sanders linked the issue of trade in such a way that citizens of the Wolverine state could draw a direct line from the NAFTA bill that Secretary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton negotiated and maneuvered through congress, to the closed shops in the automobile industry. Shops that offered jobs and a comfortable middle class income before they moved to Mexico and Canada.
Additionally, Clinton tried to sell the idea that Sanders had opposed President Barack Obama’s automobile bailout legislation. The record indicates that Sanders did not oppose this legislation, but spoke out against the use of taxpayers’ money to bailout the automobile manufacturers. Ninety percent of Democratic voters leaving the polls on Tuesday said they do not find Clinton to be trustworthy.
Also, exit polling data shows that Sanders has begun to make inroads in the African American vote. According to CNN, Exit data indicates that Sanders split the under 40 African American age group by a 51 to 47 percent margin, with Clinton receiving 51 percent.
After Tuesday’s primary win in the Wolverine state, the two Democratic debaters will receive essentially an equal portion of the state’s pledged delegates. Clinton will hold onto her lead in pledged delegates, but the “Black firewall” she built in the southern states, appears not to have been sufficient to hold off the Sanders political revolution as the campaign shifts to the west, mid-west and the Pacific corridor.