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Sanders downplays shortcomings with black voters following South Carolina loss

Democratic presidential primary front-runner Bernie Sanders downplayed his poor showing among African-American voters in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

Sanders, who came in a distant second to former Vice President Joe Biden, said that while he didn’t win the primary – or the majority of African-American votes in the Palmetto State – he did do particularly well with younger black voters.

“Joe Biden did very well last night, but we did win among younger African-Americans and I think if you look at the national polling, in some cases we are beating them nationally and certainly among younger people,” Sanders said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

He added: “We are putting together a coalition of multiracial, multigenerational coalition of African-Americans, Latinos, whites, Native Americans, Asian-Americans.”

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Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist senator from Vermont who has shot ahead in the Democratic primary with big wins in New Hampshire and Nevada, is looking to rebound on Super Tuesday when more than a third of the delegates in the Democratic race will be awarded.

He holds commanding leads in the polls in most of the Super Tuesday states, including in California and Texas – the two biggest prizes of the day – and a strong showing Tuesday could see Sanders further tighten his grasp on the Democratic nomination.

Sanders on Sunday also eschewed concerns that his nomination would effectively hand the general election to President Trump as moderate Americans would be too afraid to vote for a candidate whose policies fall far to the left on the political spectrum. These arguments have been most vocally made by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, but have also been used by other moderate Democratic candidates like Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

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“For too long, the Democratic Party and leaders have been going to rich people’s homes, raising money, and they’ve ignored the working class and the middle class and low income people in this country,” Sanders said. “That has got to change. We’ve got to open the doors of the Democratic Party to millions and millions of people who are trying to get by on 12, 13 bucks an hour, who can’t afford health care, can’t afford child care, who can’t afford to send their kids to college.”

He added: “We’re going to come together because we all understand that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to this country in the modern history of this country, that he’s a fraud, that he’s a liar, that he’s undermining American democracy. We’re going to have Democrats coming together.”

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