Hillary Clinton, Corletta Vaughn

Feel the Bern marched for and got arrested for civil rights in Chicago and still can’t get a Black woman to vote for him.

DETROIT (AP) — From the pulpit of an African-American church in Detroit not long ago, Bishop Corletta Vaughn offered a rousing endorsement of Hillary Clinton that went far beyond politics.

With a smiling Clinton sitting a few feet away in the purple-walled Holy Ghost Cathedral, Vaughn said she had seen Clinton “take a licking and keep on ticking.” Alluding to Bill Clinton’s past infidelity, she added: “I’m not talking about politically. I’m talking about as a wife and a mother. That’s when I said: I love that woman. She taught so many of us as women how to stand in the face of adversity.”

During a primary season in which she has faced surprisingly strong competition and been bombarded with criticism of her trustworthiness, Clinton has maintained a strong bond with one significant bloc of Democratic Party voters. Black women, part of President Barack Obama’s winning coalition in 2008 and 2012, have locked arms behind Clinton, hailing her as a Democratic standard-bearer, survivor and friend.

“That determination and strength, particularly has meaning to African-American women,” said Sharon Reed, 60, a community college teacher from North Charleston, South Carolina. “Who has overcome more obstacles and darts and arrows than she has? And she’s still standing and she’s still strong.”

Though the primary contest is not over, Clinton, the former secretary of state, holds a big delegate lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is considered likely to win the Democratic nomination. African-American women have played a big part: About 8 in 10 across all the states where exit polling has been conducted have voted for her, and in some cases support has been above 90 percent.

Clinton has fared less well with other groups, in particular with younger voters and white men, many of whom have preferred Sanders. But, as in past years, black women are demonstrating that they are motivated. So far, they have made up at least a slightly larger share of the electorate than black men in almost all states with significant black populations, and a significantly larger share in seven of those states.

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