Tag Archives: South Carolina primary

What a difference a primary victory has made

A single primary victory in the Deep South has injected a once-moribund presidential campaign with a vigor and vitality that one could not have imagined.

Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary this past weekend and set up a Super Tuesday ballot performance that has many of our heads spinning.

As I watch the coverage of the primary states poll closing, I am struck by the victories being rolled up by Biden in states where he was given up for politically dead a week or two or ago.

I heard someone say tonight that U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the South Carolina political icon whose endorsement of Biden is seen as the turning point in the former VP’s presidential campaign, could be named “secretary of any Cabinet agency he wants” in a Biden administration if such an event comes to pass.

Gosh, do ya think?

Well, they’re still counting the ballots. I don’t know how Super Tuesday will shake out. As I write this brief blog post, I am hopeful that Democrats across the nation have snapped out of their revolutionary mood and returned to some semblance of rationality and reason.

Joe Biden represents a sort of political comfort zone that I believe we will seek as we ponder who we want to lead us for the next four years. I have had more than enough of the stomach-churning uncertainty of Donald Trump.

Of all the candidates left standing among that once-gigantic Democratic Party primary field, Joe Biden appears at this moment to be the one who can restore the decency that once was the hallmark of our nation’s most exalted public office.

I guess endorsements do matter

It must be that some voters actually heed politicians’ endorsements of other politicians.

So it appears as the votes roll in from South Carolina polling stations. Former Vice President Joe Biden is piling up a huge victory in that state, thanks it appears in large part to an endorsement delivered Wednesday by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the most powerful African American in Congress and an esteemed political icon in his home state of South Carolina

Now, what does it mean for the rest of the Democratic Party primary race for the presidential nomination? I am unable to predict how it shakes out.

Here’s my sincere hope.

It is that Joe Biden can wrest the momentum away from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner at this moment for the Democratic nomination. I do not want a far-left ideologue to run against Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States.

I want instead for Democrats to nominate a seasoned political pro, someone with mileage on his wheels, someone who can work across the political aisle. Joe Biden is that individual.

There. I’ve said yet again that Biden is my No. 1 choice. He is in the hunt as the primary parade heads to Texas and the other Super Tuesday states next week.

I remain committed to defeating Donald Trump. My desire hasn’t wavered a single bit since the moment this carnival barker declared his candidacy in June 2015. I intend to use this blog to the extent that I am able to advance that cause.

As the political junkies among us watch the results from South Carolina roll in, I am hopeful that Democrats are going to avoid driving off a cliff by nominating someone who I believe stands a frightening chance of losing to a president who never should have been elected.

Likability vs. irascibility

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The Hill is reporting a story that seems to define — for me, at least — just how confusing and confounding this election cycle has become.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to enhance her likability. She’s taking selfies with voters and celebrities. Remember when Sen. Barack Obama told her during a 2008 campaign debate that “You’re likable enough, Hillary”? Apparently not this time around.

She’s fighting image woes that seem to suggest she isn’t authentic, let alone likable.

Do her Democratic primary voters want her to become warm and fuzzy? Do they insist that she show her grandmotherly side more often? I have no clue.

Read the link.

Now, for the Republicans.

Likability isn’t part of the formula that’s propelled Donald J. Trump to the top of the GOP presidential candidate heap.

He’s not likable. Frankly, for my taste, he’s not a lot of things: He’s not presidential; he’s not sophisticated; he’s not grounded in a philosophy other than, say, narcissism.

But there he is. He’s leading South Carolina’s GOP primary polls after threatening to sue Ted Cruz over whether he’s qualified to run for office; after saying President Bush “lied” to get us into the Iraq War; after insulting candidates, a bona fide war hero, disabled people, voters, media types . . . anyone within earshot.

I’m not sure what this might say about any possible differences between Democratic and Republican “base” voters. I hope it doesn’t reveal that Democrats inherently are softer and that Republicans just as inherently love nastiness.

But now I’m beginning to wonder.

 

Who’s ‘lawless’ now?

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Donald J. Trump went on one of his stream-of-consciousness riffs today at a press conference in South Carolina.

In the midst of his 45-minute press conference, the Republican presidential primary frontrunner answered a hypothetical question about what he would do as a governor regarding immigrants.

He wouldn’t let them into his state, Trump said, ignoring the concern from many experts who say that immigration is a federal issue and that governors don’t have the authority to deny someone from entering their state.

Then he said, “I don’t care what the rules and regulations say.”

He would work around them as a governor to make it so difficult for immigrants seeking to enter his state that they would want to go somewhere else.

There you have it.

He doesn’t care about the law. He’ll do what he wants.

I believe that’s the definition of “lawlessness.”

 

Making deals = surrender? Hardly

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Fox News sent this tweet into the Twitterverse just a little while ago: “I don’t think the conservatives in SC want to nominate another dealmaker . . . Ā someone who’sĀ going to surrender . . . our principles.”

It came about from remarks that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz made on the network regarding the upcoming South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

I think I’ll try to deconstruct that view.

Cruz, one of the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, seemed to suggest that cutting deals means — necessarily — that one surrenders principles.

I’ll take issue with that premise.

Let’s harken back to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, about eight years before the young Texas Republican was born. Some of us remember that event.

The Soviet Union began installing strategic missiles in Cuba. Our spy planes discovered them from high above the communist nation. President Kennedy received word of the missiles. He then met with his national security team and — after hearing options that ranged from doing nothing to invading Cuba — settled on a course of action: He ordered a maritime blockade of the island nation; no ships were allowed to dock in Cuba.

Finally, the Soviets “blinked,” according to the parlance of the time. They agreed to remove the missiles. JFK had warned them in a broadcast to the nation that any launch of those missiles from CubaĀ against any nation in this hemisphere would be seen as an attack on the United States and would result in a “full retaliatory strike” against the Soviet Union.

What did the United States give up in return? We agreed to take down some missiles of our own basedĀ in Turkey.

Did the president make a deal? Yes. Did he “surrender” his principles or those of the nation he governed? Not even close.

The tough talk coming from Cruz and others on the right and far right ignore the reality of dealing in a rough-and-tumble world.

There are times when deals provide the only way out of tense confrontations.

And, yes, they can beĀ finalized without compromising one’s principles.

 

Nice seeing you, Iowa; on to New Hampshire!

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I’ve just shaken the dust loose from a night’s sleep and discovered the results of last night’s Iowa caucuses.

Two things jump out at me.

First, Ted Cruz’s victory well might be a hollow one for the Republican Party.

Second, Hillary Clinton didn’t win a thing last night.

Cruz thumped Donald J. Trump — yes, thumped — with a pretty convincing victory in the Republican caucus. Sure, a 4-point win isn’t yuuuge in conventional terms, but this ain’t a conventional election season.

Trump has boasted all those glowing poll numbers and all but guaranteed — a la Broadway Joe — a victory. His two-minute concession speech last night spoke volumes, though, about what happened.

The evangelical vote turned out for Cruz. They came “home” to Cruz, who’s really one of them, unlike Trump, who pretended to be one of ’em.

Why might a Cruz win in Iowa portend trouble for the GOP? He is a patently unlikable man, according to those who work with him in the U.S. Senate. He seems like a dedicated family guy; he might even be someone you’d want to talk to informally.

However, he talks a bit too brazenly about “carpet bombing” the Islamic State and putting “boots on the ground” in the Middle East.

OK, he makes me uncomfortable. That’s clear. It’s my own bias, which I admit to readily.

Hillary Clinton’s victory declaration was hollow.

Clinton declared victory. Is that right? How can she do that? She was tied with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic caucus.

If anyone can declare a “moral victory,” it would be Sanders, the indy/Democrat from Vermont who once trailed Clinton by a zillion percent in the polls. Yet he finished with nearly as many votes and delegates as she did.

Sanders now takes his “big mo” to New Hampshire, which is next door to Vermont. He’ll winĀ there. Then the road show heads for South Carolina.

Clinton had better hope she keeps Sanders within sight as they move into the Deep South. She’ll need the African-American vote to put her over the top as the campaign then moves into some serious regional primary contests, which include Texas, in early March.

Honestly, I was hoping some of the other Republicans would do better. I am pulling for John Kasich to snap out of it; I once had hope that Jeb Bush might get ‘er goin’.

Oh yes, Marco Rubio? He declared victory, too, on the GOP side. He finished third. But that was good enough in young Marco’s mind to declare that he’s the man to beat.

Memo to Marco: You have to get more votes and delegates than anyone else to make that claim.

One final thought: All this analysis of Iowa might not matter.

If the Iowa caucuses are supposed to gauge the mood of the country, then we would have had President Huckabee or President Santorum watching all of this from the Oval Office.

It’s a marathon, folks. The candidates have just made the first turn.