In a shocking campaign development, it turns out Michigan voters actually like the really annoying finger-waving of Bernie Sanders that drives us crazy. That clearly is the most plausible explanation for the septuagenarian socialist’s stunning win on Tuesday night in a crucial state for Democrats.
Maybe a couple other things too:
That Sanders beat Clinton in Michigan by carrying white male voters, is rich in irony: how do you explain the successors to the Reagan Democrats of yore – hello, Macomb County – voting for a Jewish lefty from Brooklyn ?
Clearly, Hillary’s association with Bill Clinton’s push for the North American Free Trade Agreement, was a major negative in a state where thousands of jobs have since been exported to Mexico, Japan and South Korea.
But – and maybe it’s not nice to say it – perhaps the facts that she’s a woman and a fierce defender of Barack Obama had some effect.
Hillary’s Trade Deficit. Let’s look at the data, culled from network exit polls: Sanders beat Clinton 54-44% among men and 57-42% among whites. Clinton won 52-46% among women and 65-30% among blacks. Yet Sanders also won 53-46% among liberals while Clinton won 53-44% among moderates.
According to the exit polls — and this might be the single most important data point — 58% of Michigan voters believe trade with other countries takes away U.S. jobs compared to 30% of say trade creates jobs. Among those anti-trade voters, Sanders beat Clinton 56-43% while pro-trade voters split 52-43% for Clinton. (BTW: Donald Trump would hammer on this too in a state Obama carried in ’08 and ’12 and cannot afford to lose in November.)
Also, Bernie once again completely waxed Hillary among younger voters, 81-18%, finishing tens of thousands of votes ahead in and around Michigan and Michigan State universities. And he crushed her among independents, with 70% — another group Trump would appeal to). Consolation prize for Hillary: she was a big winner among seniors, a key Democratic constituency.
Bottom line: white men who oppose trade voted for Sanders. If he can carry those same voters in upcoming contests in Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, he can do real damage to Clinton ’s campaign.
And yet, despite the bone-chilling message for Hillary, she ended the night winning more delegates than Bernie (she killed him in Mississippi), continuing her march to the nomination.