Most people had all but counted out Bernie Sanders, except for himself, except for the people of Michigan.
Hillary Clinton was supposed to win the wolverine state handily, by at least 30 points; at least the polls said so.
But the voters said another thing and handed Bernie Sanders a surprising upset.
As expected, it all boiled down to one key demographic: the black vote.
About 65% of African Americans in Michigan voted for Hillary Clinton, that’s a much smaller margin than her black support in southern states.
Sanders won 31% of the black votes in Michigan.
His upset came as a big surprise given Sanders struggle to connect with black voters and more recently his word choice in the CNN Democratic debate – “ghetto” and “white people don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”
But as we discussed last time, Sanders clarified his comments, kept it pushing, and won – giving him a boost of confidence going into last night’s (Wednesday) Democratic debate in Miami.
He also chose his words more carefully around immigration than he did last time around race, promising as president not to deport children who are here illegally.
Bernie Sanders: “So to answer your question no I will not deport children from the United States of America.”
Q: “And can you promise not to deport immigrants who don’t have a criminal record?”
Bernie Sanders: “I can make that promise.”
Clinton struggled a bit on this issue but eventually made the same pledge.
Hillary Clinton: “I will not deport children. I would not deport children. I do not want to deport family members either Jorge. I want to as I said prioritize who would be deported. Violent criminals, people planning terrorist attacks, anybody who threatens us, that’s a relatively small universe.”
The most provocative question and answer of the evening, however, had nothing to do with neither them nor their policies.
It had to do with the other person who loomed large on the stage even though he was not there physically – Donald Trump.
Q: “Senator Sanders do you think it’s fair to call Donald Trump a racist?”
Bernie Sanders: “I think that the American people are never going to elect a President who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African Americans. And let us not forget that several years ago Trump was in the middle of the so-called birther movement trying to delegitimize the President of the United States of America. (Applause) You know I find it very interesting Karen; my dad was born in Poland. I know a little bit about the immigrant experience, nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate. Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin.” (Applause)
Just in case you haven’t had your cup of coffee this morning and you need a little help getting the gist – that was a whole lot of words and a long way to go for Bernie Sanders to answer “yes.”
Sanders stumbled a bit on stage in Michigan, but came back strong in last night’s last scheduled Democratic debate.
Looks like he’s getting his groove back, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet.