Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter gives his take on five reasons Barack Obama won and five reasons Hillary Clinton lost.
South Carolina takes a big role in the Clinton failure.
Most of all, voters don’t like to be played for fools. When Clinton ran ads in South Carolina claiming that Obama admired Ronald Reagan and must be some crypto-conservative, she wasn’t just wasting her money. She was offending people in a state that proved pivotal.
The main reason South Carolina was so important, of course, was that it marked the total loss of the black vote for Clinton. Early on, she was expected to split African-American women 50-50 with Obama. This was rightly seen as critical to her success. A series of comments by Bill Clinton about Obama (starting with his inaccurate depiction of Obama’s Iraq war opposition as a “fairy tale”) weren’t racist, but they were disrespectful to Obama, especially coming from a former president, and thus disrespectful to voters who supported him, especially blacks.