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Palmetto Political Stock Index: 4/28/2023

Movers, shakers …

Some big names were bandied about in early-voting South Carolina this week as the incumbent Democratic president formally entered the 2024 race and “DeFuture” of the GOP sought to arrest his recent slippage amongst the Republican electorate.

One of the Palmetto State’s two hometown heroes vying for the American presidency had a disastrous week, but there was some rare positive news to report from the S.C. General Assembly – which (at long last) finally did something approaching the vicinity of the ballpark of the zip code of the best interests of the people it purports to represent.

Is there more good news in store? That remains to be seen, but state lawmakers are running out of time to record any meaningful wins during the current legislative session – which draws to a close next month.

As for the White House hopefuls descending on South Carolina? They have a little more room to maneuver, but now is the time to start carpe diem-ing – lest they risk falling out of contention.




Tracking who is up? Down? Or just hanging around? Well … 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.

To view last week’s installment, click here. And to get your historical fix, click here.

Where should you invest your political capital this week? To the index!




Welcome to Gaffesville, Nikki Haley. Population — You.

“Have it both ways” Haley was at it again this week – and she took some big lumps as a result of her latest contortions. Earlier this month, Haley’s presidential campaign trumpeted a whopping $11 million raised during the first quarter of this year – but her actual FEC disclosures released last week showed her bringing in a good bit less than that: $8.3 million. While that latter number is nothing to sneeze at, it was significantly below the number she loudly and proudly touted. 

Most damaging for Haley, though, was a tweet in which she tried to be too clever by half —and wound up biting herself on the backside. As woke corporate giant Disney was filing a lawsuit against governor Ron DeSantis in Florida, Haley rolled out the red carpet for the House of Mouse – volunteering South Carolina as a new destination for its 70,000 jobs (while – oddly – attempting to simultaneously burnish the state’s anti-woke credentials). That’s like inviting Pope Francis to relocate the Vatican – but telling him to “just leave the religious stuff in Rome.” Haley garnished her blunder with a dig at DeSantis that she (and nobody except perhaps Donald Trump) found funny.

Haley also stumbled during her Tuesday talk to the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America group, which her campaign touted as a “major policy speech.” After some generic tut-tutting that abortion is bad, Haley wrapped up her address without articulating a plan for confronting this hot-button issue in the post-Dobbs world.

Fortunately for Haley’s limitless ambition, many mainstream outlets remain obsessed with who and what she is – not what she is actually saying. Thus, Haley continues to sail forward on the calm sea of identity politics. But should her poll numbers begin ticking up – and the MSM currently giving her a hall pass start paying closer attention to her – those seas could turn stormy.




It’s official: The Geriatric-in-Chief who transformed the White House into the world’s premier five-star nursing home wants a four-year extension on his taxpayer-funded stay at 1600 Penn. Biden, who has more or less been running for one office or another since 1972 (NINE presidents ago!), announced his re-election bid Monday via a three-minute video.

Does this guy have an “off” switch? Seriously, his promo reel was essentially 183 seconds of “Trump bad, MAGA bad, Republicans bad – blah, blah, blah.” The guy who campaigned in 2020 on “uniting” Americans used his imperial pronouncement to continue his duplicitous demonization of everyone who disagrees with him. Biden’s video was non-stop pandering to every Democratic/ progressive voting bloc imaginable – couched as an appeal to American “liberty.”

Totally missing from his partisanship-on-steroids rant? The words “jobs,” “inflation,” “immigration,” and “national security.” Joe Biden never met an entitlement program he didn’t like, and he clearly feels entitled to another term as president — even though all indicators point to him not deserving one.




To his ardent supporters in South Carolina and elsewhere, the Florida governor’s presidential campaign is coming together with the speed of melting ice. Or growing grass. Or drying paint. Take your pick; they all apply.

Yet despite its glacial slowness, DeSantis’ campaign is becoming a force to be reckoned with here in the Palmetto State. News reports indicate the DeSantis-affiliated Never Back Down PAC has taken on Michael Mule as an adviser, with the Upstate’s Randy Page as state director. Those are two experienced hands capable of lending instant credibility to Team DeFuture.

Meanwhile, prominent Columbia developer and former Trump supporter Bill Stern has switched sides and is now in DeSantis’ camp. (Never mind that Stern’s less-than-sterling conservative bona fides don’t fully mesh with the DeSantis brand.)

Still, for a campaign that seemed almost comatose at the start of April, such signs of life are encouraging to those chanting, “Run, Ron, Run!” And folks who heard DeSantis speak in the Lowcountry and Upstate last week insist they remain “fired up” and ready to take on Trump. Accordingly, DeSantis’ stock is slightly higher this week.




This index noted a month ago that Ramaswamy was “more than just another political gadfly indulging in a vanity campaign” – and that his courageous confronting of “woke-ism” was building buzz in GOP circles.

After making some solid first impressions in South Carolina last month, Ramaswamy enjoyed another well-received visit to the Palmetto State this month – including the standing ovation he got from attendees at the Richland County GOP convention on Thursday evening. This Harvard/ Yale-educated entrepreneur remains a long shot presidential candidate, but he is clearly not lacking in gravitas – or the ability to convey a resounding message to the Republican faithful.

And let’s not forget: Ramaswamy’s net worth is nine figures. Meaning he can afford to make himself known to the electorate on his own terms.

One last thing: Unlike the “other” Indian-American candidate in this race, he eschews identity politics rather than relying on it as a crutch – which is commendable.




Though the former president famously loves surprises, it came as no shock this week when he said he will likely skip the GOP presidential debates. “When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA [emphasis original] hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?” Trump wrote in justifying his decision.

In other words: When all the kids have sticks, why be their piñata?

There’s a certain degree of logic to that. There’s also a certain degree of risk. On the one hand, if you give your opponents 90 minutes of TV time to gang up on you – you don’t get to refute and rebut their claims. But on the other, with an ever-growing field of GOP rivals – anti-Trump messages are likely to get diluted with so many messengers.

Whatever you may think of Donald Trump, this much is beyond dispute: The guy knows the media. He understands that when the star is missing, fewer people tune in to watch the show.

Is Trump crazy? Or crazy like a fox? We’ll find out this summer. The first GOP debate is scheduled for August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which, not so coincidentally – is the city hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention.




The S.C. General Assembly rarely delivers a clear win for the citizens it ostensibly serves, but that happened this week when the House approved a Senate bill creating Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) – and sent it to the governor for his approval. If signed into law, some 5,000 qualifying families would receive vouchers for $6,000 to pay for private education and other academic expenses in its first year. In year three of the program, the number of families would top 15,000.

Predictably, South Carolina’s public education racket and its enablers in the Democratic Party are screaming their heads off. They’ve presided for decades over a dismal system that fails both students and the taxpayers footing the bill for it. They have diverted limited dollars from the classroom and used them instead to feather their academic nests while turning schoolhouses into assembly lines that produce ideologically brainwashed progressive robots. Again, all on the dime of you, the taxpayer.   

Competition is a fundamental cornerstone of America’s way of life. Competition in business often leads to better products at lower prices; competition at the ballot box often results in better public servants (at least in theory). So, why should academia be exempt from competition? Approving ESAs (and the choice they represent) is a first step forward toward pulling South Carolina’s education system out of the ditch.

Will GOP lawmakers commit to taking the necessary larger steps on choice (like the ones Florida just took) in the coming years? We shall see …         




The media world was abuzz this week with talk about Fox News firing host Tucker Carlson. We won’t debate the good and bad points of Carlson and his show (there are many on each side). People either loved him or hated him. Either way, they watched him. Which in turn meant big bucks to Fox News. Now Carlson – and the millions of advertising dollars he generated – are suddenly gone. What makes the move a head-scratcher is Fox’s lack of a host waiting in the wings with sufficient celebrity wattage to fill Carlson’s lucrative shoes.

An MBA from the Harvard School of Business isn’t necessary to know you don’t take a flame-thrower to your company’s top-selling brand. To prove what a winning strategy that is, just look at the Dylan-Mulvaney’s-face-on-beer-cans fiasco. When was the last time you saw someone order a Bud Light? Before dumping Carlson, Fox News executives should have first called their counterparts at Bud’s parent company Anheuser-Busch and asked, “How’s plastering a transgender’s face on your signature product working for you?”

The moral of the story for American businesses: Look before you leap. Especially when you’re trying to leap the Grand Canyon.      


  • Will former New Jersey governor Chris Christie back up his Trump trash talk and officially enter the ’24 race?
  • With the South Carolina legislature’s 2023 session drawing to a close, who will emerge as its big winners and losers?
  • Conservative activists are increasingly flexing their political muscle at precinct reorganization meetings and party conventions across the state. How will that impact the power struggle within the state’s majority party?
  • With the federal debt ceiling deadline looming ever larger in Washington, D.C., will Biden or McCarthy blink first?



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Tate April 29, 2023 at 1:14 am

DeSantis rising?

Trump “holding”?

DeSantis is getting savaged for his bizarre and docking behavior while touring the World and ignoring disasters in the State he’s supposed to be running. ”Not ready for prime time” is his new motto.

The frickin’ Vice President under Trump just spent 7 hours testifying against him for Jack Smith. That’s some historically damning stuff.

You Republicans are a total dumpster fire. Living in an increasingly shrinking bubble. In the “finding out” phase.

RC April 29, 2023 at 8:36 am

Why is FITS seemingly refusing to report on the “Freedom Caucus'” repeated efforts (which thankfully failed once again) to further restrict abortion in SC?

So many L’s April 29, 2023 at 6:11 pm

Because there are too many losses for Republicans to keep up with.

They come in by the hour!

Observer April 30, 2023 at 11:17 am

Oh, Republican candidates and media water-carriers are being instructed to not talk about Abortion and change the subject as fast as possible…preferably to “wokeness”.

This blog is just following what the RNC is telling them to do.

Nanker Phelge April 29, 2023 at 5:23 pm



There is no bottom.


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