Next Up: Carolina

Trail Mix: The Palmetto State plays an outsized role in both parties' campaigns

Will black voters feel the Bern?

The fast-approaching South Carolina Democratic primary could answer one key question: Can Vermont Sen. BERNIE SANDERS appeal to black voters, a key constituency of the party that has long been loyal to former Secretary of State HILLARY CLINTON?

Blacks are expected to make up a majority of Democratic voters in South Carolina, and polls have shown Clinton with a commanding lead, giving her a clear shot at regaining momentum after losing by 22 points in New Hampshire and virtually tying Sanders in Iowa.

Sanders, who represents an overwhelmingly white state, occasionally has had a chilly relationship with African Americans. Black Lives Matter activists interrupted his speech in Seattle last year. Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, wrote a piece last month sharply criticizing Sanders' opposition to reparations for slavery. Congressman John Lewis, a leader in the 1960s civil rights movement, threw further shade last week when he said he never saw Sanders during the struggle, while praising Clinton. Lewis later walked back his remarks, saying he did not intend to question Sanders' commitment to racial equality or doubt his participation in the civil rights movement.

Black voters may well be feeling the Bern. The daughter of Eric Garner, a black man whose choking death at the hands of New York City police in 2014 sparked outrage, has endorsed Sanders, as has Atlanta rapper Killer Mike of hip-hop group Run the Jewels. Even Coates says he'll still vote for Sanders. Now, Clinton's lead in South Carolina is narrowing. (JAKE THOMAS)

The Trump will rise again

Liberal-leaning polling outfit Public Policy Polling has a long history of trolling Republicans by asking questions that make them look bad. Their poll of South Carolina Republicans released Tuesday not only reveals that DONALD TRUMP is leading significantly in the state, it also supports the stereotypes that many people have about Trump voters.

The poll found that 38 percent of Trump voters in the state "wish the South had won" the Civil War, with 38 percent undecided. It found that 31 percent of Trump voters supported banning homosexuals from entering the United States, 40 percent support shutting down mosques in the U.S., a third said Islam should be illegal, and 70 percent think the Confederate flag should still be flying over the South Carolina state capitol.

Want a polling question with even more stark results regarding race relations? Consider this: 16 percent of South Carolina Trump voters agreed that "whites are a superior race" while another 14 percent said they weren't quite sure. (DANIEL WALTERS)

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About The Authors

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters is the Inlander's senior investigative reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...