News Analysis: Road ahead for Clinton’s nomination bid could be more smooth despite defeat in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12  — Leading U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was soundly defeated in the primary vote in New Hampshire Tuesday, but the path ahead for her bid to win party nomination could be more favorable, experts said.

In a surprise development, Clinton’s only rival Senator Bernie Sanders won a resounding victory over the former first lady and secretary of state, earning 60 percent of the Democratic vote.

This was the first loss in Clinton’s bid to win the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the White House. She narrowly defeated Sanders in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, a U.S. Midwest state, last week.

But experts said Clinton will have better luck going forward, as Sanders is not expected to attract the same level of support in other primary states. One key constituent is African Americans, and Clinton has a 2 to 1 lead over Sanders with this crucial group.

“The political terrain going forward is more favorable for Hillary Clinton. As the process shifts to South Carolina, Nevada, Florida, and the Southern primaries, she will do better because of her strong support among African American voters,” Brookings Institution’s senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua, referring to the next primary contests.

“A majority of the Democratic primary voters in South Carolina are African American, and Clinton has a 2 to 1 lead over Sanders with this crucial group. She needs to do better among young people and with single women,” said West.

The next primary vote will be held in South Carolina Feb. 27.

One instance that may have hurt Clinton — or certainly did not help her — were recent comments made by Clinton supporters Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state, and U.S. feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

With Clinton at her side at a public event, Albright quipped there is a “special place in hell” reserved for women who do not support other women.

The statement was seen as a criticism of women who support Sanders, and West said the comments “were not helpful for her campaign because they were patronizing and demeaning.”

Going forward, some experts expect Clinton to talk more about issues facing young people such as student debt and to seek to cut Sanders’ support in that area.

Moreover, the South is more conservative than the northeast United States, and the Democratic socialist Sanders may face an uphill climb there.

“Sanders will have a tough time in the South because his brand of progressivism is not going to play well in conservative states,” West said.

Clinton has been seen by a number of pundits as an unexciting candidate and relic from the past in a country where U.S. voters are often looking to put a fresh face in the White House. While Sanders has been a senator for years, he has stayed out of the national spotlight.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told Xinhua that among voters under 30, Clinton was demolished in New Hampshire.

“She’s got to find a way to get young people in. While at the same time, she also has to try to win the nomination without rubbing Sanders’ (supporters) the wrong way … She can’t keep casting Sanders as living in fantasy land and his female supporters as being gender traitors. She’s got to watch that,” O’Connell said.

On Sanders, O’Connell said, the question still remains: Can he get minorities to support his campaign?

“If he can, he’s turned what was once a hopeless cause into something that is just a little less hopeless,” he said.

O’Connell said that Sanders’ challenge is to get African American voters to support him, noting that they make up a nearly half of the Democratic party in some Southern states.

Sanders appeals to younger voters, especially millennials, who have had it rough in the job market in recent years. Many have graduated university only to be forced to return home and live with their parents in a country where most young people prefer to live independently after finishing high school.

Many with university degrees are working part-time or in positions for which they are vastly overqualified, and Sanders’ message of blaming Wall Street for the nation’s economic woes and promising to even the playing field resonates with young people.

On top of low wages and dim prospect for a good job, many U.S. millennials are saddled with enormous student loans, as the price of U.S. university tuition has skyrocketed in recent years. (Xinhua/Mindanao Post)


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