Bernie Sanders' campaign has just received a massive boost. The socialist Vermont senator secured a surprise victory in Michigan on March 8, sending a clear message out to Hillary Clinton's campaign, which nonetheless managed to win big in Mississippi after attracting nine out of every 10 Black voters, according to exit polls.
Polls indicated that Clinton would win big in Michigan, giving her a lead of 20- 22 points. However, Sanders secured victory by 50% of the vote compared to Hillary's 48%.
Sanders has also gotten the youth vote once again, gaining 81% of the votes in the age group 18-29. This left Clinton with only 18% in this demographic.
In Mississippi however, Clinton won a staggering 83% of the vote compared to Sanders' 16%. Clinton has had a strong lead among Black voters in the previous primaries, most of which were Southeast and Southwest states. However, Clinton´s lead among Black voters narrowed from 73% to 19% to only 64% to 29% in tonight´s Northern states. About 14% of the population in Michigan is considered to be African American.
Eighty one delegates from both states have reportedly pledged support to Clinton, with 64 delegates throwing their weight behind Sanders.
Bernie Sanders gave a very hastily called news conference to comment on the surprising results cin Michigan. The fact that his campaign did not prepare for a press conference that evening indicates that even the Sanders campaign was not expecting these results.
Sanders expressed great optimism about his chances and thanked the people of Michigan for having proven the polls and media predictations wrong. "What tonight means is that the Bernie Sanders campaign, the peoples revolution, the poltical revolution that we are talking about is strong in every part of the country and frankly we believe our strongest areas are yet to happen"
He reminded the audience of how far his campaign has come. “We started this campaign 10 months ago, we were 60 to 70 percent down in the polls ... What we've done is created the kind of momentum we've needed to win,” said Sanders
Sanders' surprising results in Michigan are being attributed to the importance of the economy in the minds of voters in the “rust belt” state.
Exit polls showed that Michigan voters overwhelmingly opposed trade deals that Clinton has supported throughout her political career.
Another interesting detail emerging from exit polls is the fact that Clinton did less well with Black voters than she has in other states, suggesting that Sanders' strategy to court Black and Latino voters was finally paying off.
Early results have left most political observers surprised at Sanders' performance in Michigan. Clinton was leading in polls by large margins yet Sanders' lead among voters appears to be holding.
Hillary Clinton refrained from attacking her rival Sanders in her speech to supporters in Ohio, once again choosing to target the Republicans instead. “This election shouldn't be about delivering insults, it should be about delivering results for the American people,” said Clinton. “As the rhetoric gets lower, the stakes get higher,” she added.
Sanders' campaign is also suing Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted in federal court over what it calls an unconstitutional attempt to prevent young people from voting in the state's March 15 primary election.
“It is an outrage that the secretary of state in Ohio is going out of his way to keep young people – significantly African-American young people, Latino young people – from participating,” the U.S. senator from Vermont said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Citing U.S. Census figures, it said such voters were more likely to be black or Latino than older groups of voters.
Sanders has done well with young voters in other primary contests. Ohio is one of more than 20 states where 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election are allowed to vote in primaries, the campaign statement said.
Husted ruled last December that those voters would not be allowed to participate in the presidential primary. He denied any laws were being broken and said he looked forward to the lawsuit.
Addressing supporters in Michigan, Sanders began his speech by going after Republican front-runner Donald Trump and his heated racist rhetoric.
“Most importantly based on religious teachings of all major religions, the American people understand that love trumps hatred,” said Sanders to raucous applause.
Sanders concluded his brief speech calling on supporters to help guarantee a high turn-out in Florida, arguing his campaign does better when more voters show up to vote.
“Let's stand up for a political revolution, let's be prepared to tell the billionaire class they cannot have it all,” said Sanders.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump swept to victory in both Mississippi and Michigan, putting a dent in the aspirations of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. However, Cruz won by 11% in Idaho, with 41.5% of the vote compared to the Republican frontrunner's 29.2%.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]