Hillary Clinton goes into Super Tuesday the clear favorite

Saturday’s win in South Carolina makes a challenge from rival Bernie Sanders difficult

Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally on Sunday.
Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally on Sunday.Mark Humphrey (AP)
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After a shaky start, Hillary Clinton now seems to have overcome rival Bernie Sanders and looks the favorite ahead of Super Tuesday. With her impressive win at Saturday’s vote in South Carolina – beating self-styled socialist Sanders by almost 50 points, thanks in large part to the black vote – the former secretary of state has now taken three of the four caucuses that she needs to win the nomination to be the Democratic Party’s candidate in the presidential elections in November.

Clinton narrowly won in Iowa in early February in the first poll, but lost by 22 points to Sanders in New Hampshire, rebounding in Nevada to win by just five, and then taking 73.5 percent of the vote in South Carolina.

The wins in Nevada and South Carolina highlight the former first lady’s support among racial minorities

The wins in Nevada and South Carolina highlight the former first lady’s support among racial minorities. She has focused on winning over Hispanics and African Americans during her campaign, as did Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections. But unlike the current president, young people have overwhelmingly voted for Sanders and his fiery anti-establishment rhetoric and promises to tackle economic inequality.

Clinton has hitched her wagon to Obama’s star, defending his policies and portraying herself as his logical successor and a woman with huge political experience, having been secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. Her strategy has focused on painting Sanders as well-meaning, but inexperienced in government, while at the same time playing down the scandal over her use of a private email account while secretary of state.

Clinton has hitched her wagon to Obama’s star, defending his policies and portraying herself as his logical successor

The strategy certainly worked in South Carolina: the black vote that in 2008 won the state for Obama this time turned out en masse for Clinton, who had appeared alongside the president in television advertisements.

African Americans make up more than 50 percent of the democratic electorate in South Carolina, as is the case in other southern states, and presages a good result tomorrow: of the 14 states and one territory that will be voting, seven are in the south. Polls give Clinton the edge in the most important.

Clinton has 544 of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. Sanders has just 85. On Super Tuesday, 880 delegates are up for grabs. If Clinton keeps up her progress so far, it will be virtually impossible for Sanders to catch up.

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