By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the Michigan Primary Tuesday, toppling Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton in what was called one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.READ MORE: Detroit Police Search For Suspect Who Shot 51-Year-Old Man
Many said Sanders’ victory boiled down to the youth vote, workers who disapprove of trade agreements supported by Hillary Clinton and strong support among African Americans, who were traditionally fans of the Clintons.
Rallies throughout the region and the fact the Sanders campaign didn’t write off Detroit’s urban neighborhoods added up to a win, according to attorney and Democratic party strategist Mark Brewer.
Sanders’ campaign registered college students to vote and the candidate went off the beaten track, traveling to rural areas Up North and urban areas in Michigan’s big cities. The campaign also out-spent Clinton on media, Brewer said.
“Remember the unions stayed on the sidelines through the endorsements that the Clinton campaign got and that didn’t help,” Brewer said. None of the big unions, including the ALF-CIO, Teamsters or UAW, has yet endorsed a candidate for president.
According to exit polling by the AP, Sanders’ populist theme struck a chord, as more than eight in 10 Michigan Democrats said the U.S. economic system generally favors the wealthy, and just over half of those voters backed the Vermont senator. Nearly four in 10 said they were very worried about the direction of the economy in the next few years, and six in 10 of those favored Sanders.
Clinton beat Sanders in Wayne County, which counts Detroit as its largest city, 60 to 38 percent. She also won more affluent Oakland County, 51 to 47 percent, and Macomb County, home of the Reagan Democrats, 49 to 47 percent; while Sanders won just about every other county.READ MORE: Eastern Michigan University Launches Program Exposing High School Girls To Careers In Aviation
“Detroit is a metaphor for everything Bernie Sanders is saying,” Jerry Belanger, owner of the Park Bar in Detroit told The Detroit News. “Civic duty does not fall on the backs of billionaires in this town, it falls completely on the poorest people and that’s why we are in the state that we’re in.”
Folks who live in the Outer Drive and Mound area call her the flower power lady, but Charlotte Kisch, who picks up the trash in the area and puts out flowers, was in hysterics of happiness when WWJ’s Mike Campbell asked why she voted for Sanders.
“Boy, that is wonderful, I am so glad,” she said, squealing in glee.
She added that she brought people to the polls to vote for Sanders, including a neighbor and a physically disabled friend who needed a ride.
Brewer, former Democratic party chairman, said Sanders win could trigger a ripple effect through the rest of the rust belt primaries happening in the next few weeks. A win in Michigan could be the shot in the arm Sanders needed to clinch the nomination.
“The Clinton campaign has to quickly analyze what went wrong here and correct it going forward,” Brewer said. If Clinton isn’t able to figure out how to draw voters away from Sanders, Brewer said it could be a slug fest all the way to the convention.MORE NEWS: 3 People Arrested In Shooting Death Of Ypsilanti Township Man On Facebook Live
“This is a major industrial state, it looks much more like America than a lot of the other states that have held contests so far and we’re on the verge of contests in a series of states that look a lot like Michigan,” Brewer said.