Super Tuesday saw Hillary Clinton taking a huge leap that put her much closer to being Democratic presidential nominee -– let’s face it: the nomination is almost a lock for her at this point. While Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been strong and defied all the odds, those #FeelingtheBern just can’t build a fire big enough to engulf Hillary Clinton’s party notoriety or her grasp of the Black and Brown votes—two groups that Clinton has depended on to get her closer to her party’s nomination.
When you dig into the numbers, you realize that Clinton’s dominance this past Tuesday won’t completely douse the flames of the Sanders’ “Bern,” but has confirmed her clear command of the party faithful. Clinton’s outright victories in seven states, including delegate-rich places like Virginia and Texas, are putting the contest for convention pledge delegates on a path that will completely lock out Sanders.
In Texas, for example, Clinton took 80 percent of African-Americans. She had 65 percent of women overall, two-thirds of Latinos, and 51 percent of the white vote. She had majorities of voters 30 and older, though Sanders still outpaced her nearly 2-to-1 with voters ages 18 to 29.
The Texas results point to a possible recreation of the Obama Coalition. But before we run to the races, we must first tackle Hillary’s biggest problem: She hasn’t truly connected with the American electorate and African Americans. Democrat turnout has been surprisingly lower than expected and GOP turnout has been higher than expected.
Each and every year, America becomes a more and more diverse nation with more Black and Brown young people turning 18 and reaching voting age. That has made the Black and Brown vote an essential part of any Democratic candidate’s path to the presidency. It was these voters that gave Hillary Clinton a huge win in South Carolina and in Texas.
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama carried both of these groups overwhelmingly in both the primary and the general election. Obama was a real person. He had just finished paying off his student debt. He drove a Volkswagon around Washington, D.C. And he was a young dad with two little girls and a no-nonsense wife. These attributes, coupled with his hope and change narrative, made him a shoe-in for these Black and Brown voters and the entire American electorate. His far-fetched campaign first captured hearts in Iowa and by Super Tuesday he had captured minds. He made us believe in America again. He pushed us to believe that anything was possible in America, including the election of a Black man to the White House.
To be honest, that is what Clinton is missing. She has all the raw materials necessary to make a great nominee and an even better president. She has the experience. She has the grace. She has the smarts. She has the toughness. But sadly, her image and her campaign seems to be just plain out of touch with the realities of everyday Americans.
In many communities across America, people are struggling with real issues. In Detroit, the public schools are literally falling apart. In Chicago, there are way too many young Black men in caskets and far too few young Black young men in graduation robes. And in New York, the rich continue to get richer while millions are asking to make a little more than minimum wage. And while deep down Hillary might care about these issues and these people, she hasn’t managed to show it and continues to hide behind a veil 20 years in the making.
Caring goes far beyond a laundry list of policy prescriptions or major speeches. With the nomination now in her grasp, Hillary needs to lean-in to her softer side and break down this barrier. She needs to have a conversation with a maid who cleans hotel rooms in New York City. She needs to spend a day with that single mother registered nurse in Florida and observe how hard it can be to raise a family while working the night shift. And she needs to stay up with that mother in Chicago that has lost her son to gangs, drugs, and illegal guns. There is difference in advocating for policies versus advocating for real people with real problems. The understanding of that difference is what takes a candidate from the campaign trial to the White House.
The voters have spoken; they don’t care about email servers, speech transcripts, or what happened in Benghazi. But they do care about what is happening in their neighborhoods, their cities, and their child’s classroom. And they truly want to vote for a candidate that cares about that as well.
Now more than ever, Hillary has to connect with the black and brown voter in a very authentic way. She is winning their vote currently, but turnout has been extremely low and that is a direct result of voters not feeling connected. Now is the time for the real Hillary Clinton to stand up. With Donald Trump as the possible GOP nominee, our country is depending on it.