HOW HILLARY WON
To look at Clinton’s 2016 primary map is to see a picture of near-total dominance. Sanders managed to win just two coastal counties — Dare, covering much of the Outer Banks, by 300 votes, and New Hanover, home to Wilmington, by just 36 votes. A strip of mountain counties in the west broke for Sanders, handing him decisive victories in the counties of Madison, Jackson and Buncombe — in Asheville’s home county he took all but two precincts.
Clinton lost but a single county in the interior of the state: Orange, home to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, as well as a large university, by a mere 550 votes. On the map it looks like the one waffle square where the syrup won’t reach.
She did this despite having a minimal presence in the state, with offices in Raleigh and Charlotte — she sent her husband, Bill, to stump in the Triad while she personally wooed the bigger cities before the primary. That triage extended outward, as she focused her campaign on bigger states of Florida and Ohio, banking on deep party ties in North Carolina to carry it. Endorsements from people like US Rep. GK Butterfield and Democratic House Leader Larry Hall, Dan Besse and other members of Winston-Salem City Council and Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan may have trickled down among Triad Democrats. And she seems to have carried women and African Americans as well.
As previously noted, Clinton got fewer votes in this year’s victory than she did in 2008’s loss. In 2008, she ceded the African-American vote to Obama; Obama led with women voters overall as well.
In 2016, Guillory said, “black voters “certainly helped Hillary Clinton.”
“Look at her history,” he said. “She lived in Arkansas, and was part of Bill’s potency there and when he ran for president he solidified his alliance with black voters. [Hillary] was part of that New South, biracial movement. It’s true there was some black support of Bernie, but it takes a lifetime of those kinds of alliances and relationships that pay off in a primary. It took Obama time and effort to dislodge some of that support for Hillary — sooner or later the historical nature of the Obama campaign got traction and he outpolled her. But she didn’t lose that affection, those relationships. And they came back into play in 2016.”
In exit polling results, Clinton took 80 percent of the black Democrat vote in NC.
In Guilford County, G74 is a bellwether precinct at Bluford Elementary School: 94.5 percent black and 84.5 percent Democratic. Obama took it in 2008 when turnout was above 50 percent. Clinton carried 80 percent of the vote this year.
Hillary also prevailed in G42B, the Friends Home at Guilford senior residence, which is 99.7 percent white, 71.1 percent female and 56.6 percent Democratic. She took about 65 percent of the vote — which admittedly was just 124 votes. This indicates that excitement is down among seniors and women, but that Clinton enjoys strong support among these groups.
She won JEF1, the precinct at McLeansville Baptist Church, rural and mostly white, with about a quarter of voters registered as unaffiliated and the rest split between Ds and Rs. Clinton lost this one in 2008 by 3.5 points, indicating that she absorbed more of the Obama voters than Sanders.
And she demonstrated facility with females both black and white by winning G69, Bennett College’s precinct which skews majority female and black, and G41A at Guilford College, majority female and white.
But turnout was down from 2008 across the board, indicating a waning enthusiasm from women in general and black women in particular — at least in relation to 2008.
Except in G29 at Lewis Recreation Center, which is majority white and female, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one. Turnout has gone up 5 points since 2008, hitting 33.7 percent in 2016. Sanders won the precinct by 25 points.
The former mayor of Burlington, Vt. proved a tenacious contender.
HOW BERNIE STAYED RELEVANT
Make no mistake: Bernie Sanders took one on the chin last week. He lost the night’s biggest prize, Florida, by more than 30 points, taking just nine counties. He lost Ohio by 14 points, and a close one in Illinois by about 2 percent. Even Missouri, where he had been leading all night, flipped to Clinton in the wee hours. Of these states, Florida and Ohio are winner-take-all, meaning all delegates go to Clinton. In the other states, Sanders received a proportional amount of delegates.
His 14-point loss in North Carolina won him 45 delegates to Clinton’s 59. As of press time, before Tuesday’s primary in Arizona and the Utah caucus, he was behind in pledged delegates 830 to 1,147.
Sanders’ unlikely path to the Democratic nomination would have to include wins this week, a large margin of victory in April in Wisconsin, where Fivethirtyeight puts the race almost even, and a close race in New York, where Clinton is heavily favored, on April 19.
Good showings in Pennsylvania and Maryland could fuel his campaign until the June 7 California primary, with more than 10 percent of all Democrat delegates in play. He’d need to show pretty big there, too.
Sanders scored predictably well in the college precincts, garnering more than 90 percent at UNCG and 76.2 percent at NC A&T University precinct. Sanders doubled up on Clinton at Precinct 405 in Forsyth County, Sims Recreation Center near Winston-Salem State University, suggesting that age is more of a determination that race in Sanders voters.
In Guilford, his victories drove a wedge through Clinton territory that began in the eastern part of the county and drove through the center of Greensboro, breaking 70 percent in the southern end of downtown Greensboro and Lindley Park. He picked up six High Point precincts, two in Summerfield and one in Jamestown, plus three precincts on the eastern edges of the county.
In Forsyth, Sanders captured the vote on the south side of downtown Winston-Salem, with his largest margin of victory coming at Precinct 405.
He also took Precinct 021 at the Belews Creek Fire Station, which is 92 percent white with about twice as many Republicans as Democrats, by 14 points. In rural Precinct 092 at Macedonia Baptist Church which has a similar demographic profile, Sanders won by 18 points.
While Sanders was able to break patterns in his support, his returns also gave some insight into another phenomena prevalent in this election: the undervote.