After her drubbing in lily-white New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is hoping for a rebound in the more racially diverse contests. Around the corner is South Carolina, with a majority-black Democratic electorate.
Hillary Clinton Takes on "Systemic Racism"
Before the New Hampshire polls closed, Clinton went on the air in South Carolina with the ad "Broken," which pledges to address "systemic racism.”
We see Clinton deliver a blunt speech unsparing about the state of race relations in America: "Something is just fundamentally broken when African-Americans are more likely to be arrested by police and sentenced to longer prison terms for doing the same thing that whites do. When too many encounters with law enforcement end tragically, we need investments in education, health care and jobs to counter generations of neglect. We have to face up to the hard truth of injustice and systemic racism."
Interspersed with her remarks are images of African-American parents with children. In one shot, a solemn mom looks at her son with worry. Another shot shows an African-American woman in her car, seemingly uneventful but subtly raising fears of being pulled over and treated unfairly or worse.
Can Hillary Defuse Crime Bill Support?
Will this emotional ad help Clinton maintain her early South Carolina lead? Some on the left have been critical of Clinton for her support of Bill Clinton's 1994 crime bill, a multifaceted law that included punitive incarceration policies, so engaging on this issue carries some risk.
But since Sanders voted for that bill, he's not in a good position to challenge her on that front. Still, we expect to see Bernie compete for the black vote in his own way.