MILWAUKEE — After splitting the first two voting contests, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are taking their increasingly heated fight for the Democratic presidential nomination back to the debate stage Thursday night, jockeying for advantage as the race heads toward delegate-rich states.
For Clinton, that means bolstering her appeal with minorities, particularly black and Hispanic voters. Hours before the debate, a coalition of black lawmakers endorsed her, calling her a long-term partner who understands racial divides in America.
“African-Americans can’t wait for solutions — they need results now,” Clinton said in a statement welcoming the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus’ political action committee.
The former secretary of state is banking on support from minorities to help her blunt Sanders’ broad appeal with young voters and liberals. Clinton narrowly defeated the Vermont senator in the Iowa caucuses, but was blown away by more than 20 points in the New Hampshire primary and now faces the prospect of a long campaign for the nomination.
Clinton’s showing in the first two states has prompted a round of second-guessing within her campaign, particularly over voter surveys showing her lagging far behind Sanders on questions of honesty and trustworthiness. Her team is also grasping for ways to clarify what’s seen as a muddled message, particularly when compared to Sanders’ ringing call for a “political revolution.”