The Associated Press reported that Hillary Clinton crushed Bernie Sanders in Saturday’s South Carolina Primary, leading by 48 percent of the vote. She led with African Americans, women, and people over 30. Sanders led with young people and independents. It was not enough, however. The betting among political observers is that Clinton has prepared Sanders for his final destruction as a viable candidate on Super Tuesday. Sanders has vowed to fight on, but Clinton is already moving on to attack Donald Trump, which many regards as the likely Republican nominee.
How did Clinton achieve such a victory? She is no great shakes as a candidate. However, she was able to outspend and outmuscle Sanders where it counted, by organizing her natural constituency. Sanders’ followers were enthusiastic but too few to stand up to Clinton’s onslaught.
However, ominously, turnout by Democrats in the primary was much lower than it was in the last contested primary in South Carolina, with turnout by Republicans having been much higher. The pattern repeats the one established in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Hillary Clinton may be finally winning against Sanders, but is not in any great shape to face whomever the Republicans may nominate, Trump or whomever.
The Clinton camp has vowed to go scorched earth against Trump, as they would against any Republican. But Trump’s history, which Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are just beginning to exploit, offered ample opportunity to go on the attack. Trump, for his part, would likely answer attack with attack, making the general election one of the nastiest in American history.