Clinton, Obama prove Democratic dependence on nonwhites

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2008, file photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama, left, stands with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., after announcing that she is his choice as Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago. Eight years ago, Clinton got more than 18 million Democratic primary votes for president, with exit polls showing her with comfortable margins over now-President Barack Obama among whites and Latinos. This year, exit polls of Democratic voters showed whites narrowly preferred Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Yet Clinton is the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

ATLANTA (AP) - Eight years ago, exit polls showed Hillary Clinton with comfortable margins over now-President Barack Obama among whites and Latinos during the Democratic primary season.

This year, exit polls of Democratic voters showed whites narrowly preferred Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Yet, Clinton is the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee.

The key difference: African-Americans sided overwhelmingly with the winner of 2008 and 2016 nominations, with black voters across the South and in heavily Democratic cities fueling key wins and delegate advantages in the drawn-out primary contests.

For Clinton, her second effort is evidence of a lesson learned, and it provides her with a head start in rebuilding part of the general election coalition that propelled Obama to two terms. For Sanders, it's a case of what-might-have-been.

And for aspiring Democrats eyeing future White House bids, it serves notice that the presidential demand for a diverse voting coalition isn't just a general election concern for Republicans too dependent on whites; it actually begins in the Democratic primary.

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