The “big guy” tipped his hand this week … and while there is no shortage of polling data revealing the extent to which Democrats want other options at the ballot box in 2024, Joe Biden’s move could chill the calculations of those contemplating bids.
Will that impact “First in the Nation” South Carolina? Biden has the Palmetto State to thank for his 2020 win – and will rely on it again this go-round, assuming he makes good on his “intentions.”
Biden hasn’t fared well on previous installments of our Palmetto Political Stock Index … but sitting presidents indicating they are a “go” for reelection has a way of moving the needle.
Meanwhile, on the GOP side a top-tier candidate is about to make his first “First in the South” debut … right around the time a(nother) home-state candidate is preparing to enter the fray.
All of those developments made for a busy week on the index …
Which reminds us, the Palmetto Political Stock Index is compiled weekly by our founding editor Will Folks and our political columnist Mark Powell. Got a hot “stock tip” for their consideration? Email Will ([email protected]) and/ or Mark ([email protected]). Just make sure to include “Palmetto Political Stock Index” in the subject line.
Where should you invest your political capital this week? To the index!
It’s not official, but it’s awfully close. As kids romped on the lawn at Monday’s White House Easter Egg Roll, Joe Biden made it clear he intends to stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In his own bumbling way, he let it be known he “intends” to seek reelection next year. His unofficial announcement that he will officially announce he’s running at some undisclosed point in the future was intended to send an important message to the pack of Democratic hopefuls itching to replace him: “Back off.” And it seems to have calmed their restlessness. For that – and for making it back to the Oval Office without tripping over kids bent down rolling eggs with spoons – his stock edged up a few cents per share this week. But no dividend yet.
The natives are growing restless in DeSantis-land. The Florida governor’s supporters are publicly voicing frustration at his delay in officially announcing his candidacy. Consider this headline in The Miami Herald: “What Are You Waiting For?” The mood among the base ranges from antsy to sheer anxiety.
So, Team DeSantis is in reassurance mode. His Super PAC released a 60-second video Thursday that will begin airing around the country Monday. With about $80 million earning interest in campaign bank accounts, DeSantis can ensure people will see it.
But what exactly will they see? Reaction to the video’s debut was ho-hum at best. “I was expecting better,” one disappointed DeSantis backer here in South Carolina told us.” “It doesn’t even say his name,” another noted. Hardly ringing endorsements.
Still, there’s a lot of fight left in the feisty governor. On Tuesday, he’ll try to calm nervous nellies at a big confab with congressional conservatives in a rare return to a place he once lived (Washington, D.C.) and presumably hopes to live again. And of particular interest to us, he’ll follow that up on Wednesday evening by talking at First Baptist North Spartanburg Church in the deeply conservative Upstate.
His stock is holding for now, with investors paying exceptionally close attention to his performance in the coming week.
After sucking most of the oxygen out of the room with last week’s arraignment on his “hush money” criminal charges, this week was relatively tame for the former president. Though his stock among Republicans is still trading so high it could soon split, there’s no sign of Trump Fever cooling off in the near future – at least not in South Carolina.
A Winthrop University poll released Wednesday found the former president remains the favorite among Palmetto pachyderms with 41 percent. Second place was a near-statistical tie between DeSantis (20 percent) and former S.C. governor Nikki Haley (18 percent), leaving the rest of the herd to scramble for the 21 percent of the leftovers.
He may not have nabbed the poll numbers, but Scott certainly is the darling of many South Carolina Republicans. Now he’s hoping to take things to the next level by creating a presidential exploratory committee. It was part of a dizzying week where the state’s junior senator did the following: Unveiled a three-minute earnest video (shot at Ft. Sumter and released on the 162nd anniversary of the Civil War’s start there); called on FITN (for Republicans at least) New Hampshire; was scheduled to hold a meet-and-greet in Goose Creek on Friday; and then capped it all off with his big ‘Faith in America’ summit in Charleston. All that was missing was kissing a baby or two along the way.
Still, what works well in South Carolina doesn’t always play elsewhere. Scott began his whirlwind day in Yankeedom by telling an interviewer he would “absolutely” sign a 20-week ban on abortions as president — and was dogged by reporters about it the rest of the day. Turns out being proudly pro-life doesn’t go over well quite as well in pro-choice New England as it does back home. Who knew? And New Hampshire GOP strategists were privately asking at day’s end, “What was the purpose of his trip here?”
Scott bravely waved the conservative banner in “enemy territory” without flinching, though, and that alone will win him props back home.
The Democratic National Committee announced this week that the party’s quadrennial convention will be held in the Windy City. (For those of you keeping track, it will be the 26th time a major presidential convention will have met there since Abe Lincoln’s nomination got the ball rolling in 1860.)
The selection is telling because, as a Democratic citadel, there are no votes to be gained there. Sensing choppy political waters ahead, Biden’s people are playing it safe by hunkering down in friendly territory. Republicans, on the other hand, will gather in Milwaukee – the biggest city in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
Substantial risk accompanies choosing Chicago. Uber progressive Brandon Johnson was elected mayor earlier this month. He’s so far out there, he makes defeated mayor Lori Lightfoot (no stranger to Far Left politics herself) look like a Campfire Girl. If he has a rocky (or worse) first year, having the national spotlight shining on his shortcomings could cast an unwelcome shadow on Biden’s big moment.
Again, assuming the “big guy” is true to his intentions … and wins his party’s nod.
IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATS
Here we are, ten months away from the presidential primary season kickoff, and the two leading states (sort of) are already going after each other. For decades the duo had a deal: Iowa began the whole shebang by hosting the first caucus (where people physically show up and express their preference) – with New Hampshire immediately following on its heels with the first primary.
Iowa fumbled by botching its caucus returns. Badly. In 2012, the Republicans first proclaimed Mitt Romney the winner, only to say nearly three weeks later, “Oopsies! Rick Santorum actually won.” The Democrats blew that out of the water in 2020 with a pooch screw so bad that the Associated Press didn’t even declare a winner.
Now Iowa Democrats want to atone by switching to a “mail-in caucus.” (Democrats sure love that mailbox, don’t they?) That’s giving New Hampshire politicos the fantods because “mail-in caucus” sounds suspiciously close to “primary” – and their state constitution mandates its primary must be held seven days before any other “similar event.”
Watching this increasingly ugly spat unfold is great fun here in “First in the South/ Nation” South Carolina. Grab a bowl of popcorn and an adult beverage; this fight could get good!
STOCK: FIRE SALE
After spitting into the face of its Regular Joe customer base by plastering a transgendered, um, “person’s” face on its cans, the brew beloved by blue-collar types is going down the drain. Literally and figuratively. A friend asked a bartender at a popular watering hole Tuesday night how much Bud Light he was selling. The answer: “None. We can’t give it away.”
Someone’s brilliant idea blew up like a marketing Hindenburg, an epic blunder of New Coke proportions. Are you paying attention Madison Avenue and Corporate America? There’s serious danger in following the woke/ progressive Pied Piper too closely.
Bud Light’s stock is now so low it’s only trading on certain South American stock exchanges. In pesos.
It would probably be trading even lower had the woke mainstream press not rushed to the brand’s defense with a blizzard of stories belittling the effectiveness of boycotts …
SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE ‘REPUBLICANS’
It’s bad enough ringleaders of the SCGOP’s super-majority are working overtime to purge conservatives who resist playing by the establishment’s one-sided rules. It’s worse they’re doing such an inept, clumsy, Keystone Kops job of trying to silence the dissenters. Worse still? They’re wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it.
As this site reported Wednesday, the party bosses’ thinly veiled “Palmetto Truth Project” and its fellow travelers are spending like drunken sailors on text messages, direct mail pieces, and other political hatchetry going after the South Carolina Freedom Caucus. To recap, the bosses first demanded its twenty-some members sign a “my-way-or-the-highway loyalty oath.”
When most refused to put their names on the extortion document, they were kicked out of the GOP Caucus. Next came a round of trash talk from establishment ventriloquist dummies trying to paint the Freedom Caucus as modern-day Benedict Arnolds. When that failed to gain traction, they turned to a treasure trove of dark money to unleash wave after wave of negative attacks.
Instead of using all that cash to defeat Democrats and elect more Republicans, the party bosses are so desperate to hang on to their jobs they’re spending a king’s ransom to silence conservative voices. That’s not a democracy; that’s North Korea.
Memo to House speaker Murrell Smith: You seem like a decent man who genuinely wants to do the right thing. Better bring the loose cannons on your team under control, PDQ, before their inept broadsides blast an opening in your majority the Democrats can exploit.
You know, to the extent they aren’t exploiting already …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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