Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders courted the African-American vote on Wednesday after thrashing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary election and giving his anti-establishment campaign a major lift.
Sanders, a democratic socialist and U.S. senator from Vermont, met civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton for breakfast at a restaurant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.
It was an attempt to chip away at Clinton’s strong support from African-American voters, who will be crucial at the next Democratic primary, in South Carolina on Feb. 27.
The two men hugged when they met outside the restaurant. They left soon after without speaking to the media.
Sanders coasted to victory in Tuesday’s primary on a wave of voter anger at traditional U.S. politicians. New York billionaire Donald Trump swept the Republican contest in the same state.
The results testified to the sizable share of American voters upset at U.S. economic conditions and willing to send a shockwave to Washington in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Sanders said late on Tuesday that his victory over Clinton, a former first lady, showed “we have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.”
Clinton now looks wounded. She trailed Sanders by 60 percent to 38 percent in New Hampshire with 92 percent of precincts reporting.
For Trump, New Hampshire showed he has staying power and can take a punch after losing on Feb. 1 to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in the first nominating contest, the Iowa caucuses. His win showed pundits were wrong to think he would quickly self-destruct based on his penchant for insults and imprecise plans for the presidency.
Young voters in New Hampshire liked Sanders’ populist proposals to break up big banks and have the government pay for free college tuition. But he might struggle to win support from Democrats outside liberal northeastern states.