With the dawn of May we are now just nine months away from the first presidential primary races – including South Carolina’s “First in the Nation” Democratic presidential primary and the rough-and-tumble “First in the South” GOP battle.
Not to misappropriate a horse racing metaphor (it is Derby weekend, though), now is the point in our proceedings where candidates – actual and prospective – begin jockeying for position, trying to find that elusive lane capable of propelling them to the front of the proverbial pack.
Democrats kick off their primary process in South Carolina on February 3, 2024 – followed by New Hampshire and Nevada (February 6, 2024), Georgia (February 13, 2024) and Michigan (February 27, 2024). As for the GOP, their calendar begins with the Iowa Caucus on February 5, 2024. New Hampshire comes eight days later (February 13, 2024) followed by South Carolina and Nevada (February 24, 2024).
As we approach the first turn of this race, the early frontrunners are well ahead of the field … but that doesn’t mean they will stay there. In last year’s ‘Run for the Roses,’ 80-to-1 long shot Rich Strike came from the back of the pack to pull off the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history.
Could we see a similar phenomenon unfold in one of these two primary races?
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The Palmetto State’s junior senator must feel like a kid in December, counting down the days until Christmas. In Scott’s case, “Christmas” comes on May 22 – when he will officially enter the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
The campaign/ PAC cash is pouring in, the media are saying generally pleasant things, and in NASA terminology he’s “go for launch” in North Charleston later this month.
While Scott is respected and genuinely liked among GOP primary voters, few serious political observers give his candidacy the proverbial snowball’s chance of prevailing. However, it could pave the way for a cabinet job should Republicans retake the White House next year. And depending on who wins the nomination, Scott could even make an appealing running mate.
If neither of those options pan out, his elevated profile would position him perfecting for 2026, should he opt to trade D.C. for S.C. and run for governor. The air is filled with possibilities for Tim Scott right now.
It’s a bit much to say one interview can make a candidate. After all, anybody can have a good day. But Ramaswamy’s interview with FITSNews earlier this week built some surprisingly strong organic buzz for his long shot presidential bid.
Spin and sound bites were replete throughout the conversation, to be sure – but so was substance. Ramaswamy not only hit all the right rhetorical notes with the Palmetto State’s conservative GOP primary base, he gave them plenty of solid policy planks.
With former president Donald Trump dominating the South Carolina political landscape and Ron DeSantis garnering the lion’s share of the non-Trump vote, Ramaswamy faces an uphill “First in the South” climb under the best of circumstances. And with Palmetto State luminaries Nikki Haley and Tim Scott in the mix, his path to victory quickly begins to resemble an episode of the show ‘Floor Is Lava.’
Still, he’s off to a much better start than anyone would have imagined …
POLITICAL TEXT MESSAGES
Like it or not, our cell phones blow up with robocalls and text messages the week before a big primary or general election. That goes with the territory in 21st century America, we’re afraid.
But look at the calendar: South Carolina’s presidential primaries are still more than nine months away. Nonetheless, Palmetto cell phones are already being bombarded by text messages from multiple presidential campaigns and their supporting political action committees. Ron DeSantis’ team appears to be among the worst offenders. We heard reports of people being flooded with messages from Team DeSantis this week, with one person telling us he received five texts in a single day.
“I was wondering if they would make it a half dozen, but they kept it to five,” the none-to-happy recipient told us.
Look, campaign staffers, we get that you’re excited about your candidate. But there’s danger in pursuing such a hyper-aggressive strategy so far out from an election. Honestly, you run the risk of looking like that college guy who comes on way too strong and asks out every girl he sees all week — only to wind up alone in his dorm room on Saturday night. Keep these helpful words in mind: Less is more. At least right now.
Give Joe Biden Biden this much: He’s consistent. You can always count on him to inflict as much hardship on hardworking middle-class Americans as possible just so he can suck up to his political base.
Two events this week powerfully demonstrated that — and will likely come back to bite him at election time. First, in a stinging rebuke, the Democratic-controlled U.S.-Senate sided with the Republican-led House in passing a bipartisan bill overriding Biden’s attempt to give Chinese solar panel manufacturers a free pass on American tariffs for the next two years.
Those suppliers are … problematic, to say the least. They have ties to China’s Communist Party; they were caught moving their goods through other countries to avoid paying U.S. tariffs; they’re taking away American jobs; and most disturbing of all, some have utilized forced labor in their factories. Still, Biden desperately needs those solar panels. They’re key components of the Green Energy fantasy he indulges in to appease his Woke base. And it’s apparently more important to his reelection prospects to keep progressives happy than it is to stand up for American principles.
Let’s not forget the other goody from the Biden Gift Bag that took effect on Monday. The LLPA (Loan-Level Price Adjustment) now promotes “social justice” in the housing industry with a Robin Hood-style scheme that takes from responsible home consumers and gives their hard-earned dollars to others with questionable credit. The bottom line: If you earned a good credit rating, scrimped and saved to buy your own home, and get a new private mortgage to finance it, you’ll now pay about $500 more per year on a $400,000 loan. That adds up to an extra nearly $15,000 over a 30-year mortgage.
As Ricky Ricardo would say, Biden has a lot of “splainin’ to do” to American citizens. And there’ll be no hiding in the basement to avoid it this time around, either.
Donald Trump never runs out of surprises. Fresh on the heels of saying he planned on sitting out the first GOP candidate debates this summer, the former president then dropped a bombshell by announcing he’s doing a CNN town hall in Manchester, N.H. next Wednesday night.
It was a clever political maneuver. He’ll have the spotlight all to himself. (The Trump Show is a one-man act; it never features an ensemble cast). He’ll also have free rein to go after main rival Ron DeSantis while denying the governor the chance to reply in real-time. And by appearing on a less-than-friendly TV network, he can cry “Fake news!” to his heart’s content.
But this is more than a one-night stand. MAGA, Inc., the Trump-aligned Super PAC backing the former president’s comeback bid, announced this week it’s shelling out $1.25 million for early TV commercials in early-voting Iowa and Hampshire.
Despite polls showing DeSantis in the doldrums, Trump World obviously sees the Florida governor as a serious threat, and its battle plan is to knock him out early. Will it work? Can Trump win back the GOP faithful? Will they buy it? As the former star of “The Apprentice” himself might say, “Tune in next week and see what happens.”
SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Meet the new boss; same as the old boss. Democrats and their hallelujah chorus in the mainstream press have been shouting themselves hoarse over a recent win for identity politics.
Christale Spain was elected chairwoman of the S.C. Democratic Party last weekend – the first black woman to win the state party’s top spot. However, a different “first” is raining on Spain’s victory parade. After sustaining legislative losses last November so large the GOP now enjoys its first supermajority since the Civil War – a new course is clearly needed for the SCDP.
Seriously: In addition to the legislative routs, how long has it been since the perpetual minority party has won a top-of-the-ticket statewide race? Well, by the time the next statewide election rolls around it will have been 28 years. Rallying the faithful could prove a tall order for Spain, especially after the convention that chose her was panned by the delegates who attended it – and not just because its outcome was rigged by party powerbroker Jim Clyburn.
“There was no food, it was suffocating hot, no bottles of water, delegates paying for their own parking, crappy chairs …what did tens and tens of thousands of dollars get spent on that they had to LITERALLY pass a plate like a Southern Baptist church?” one delegate lamented. “And don’t even get me started on how the Clyburn camp manipulated everything down to how the counties were arranged to support their candidate.”
Given that Spain previously served as the state party’s executive director and worked for Bernie Sanders’ and Cory Booker’s presidential campaigns, electing her is like telling the captain of the Titanic, “Steady as she goes.”
Falling? More like rock bottom. Just when it seemed Bud Light’s $5 billion beer can blunder couldn’t get any worse … it did. Somebody needs to sit Anheuser-Busch’s big brass down and tell them the old adage, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Because they’ve clearly never heard it.
The behemoth brewer’s CEO made his first comments about the debacle on Thursday, playing Pontius Pilate and washing his hands of responsibility by saying, “this was one can, one influencer, one post, and not a campaign.” According to the head honcho, a Bud Light six-pack adorned with Dylan Mulvaney’s face was sent to him/ her/ it during March Madness to “celebrate” the first anniversary of the transgender male pretending to be a woman.
He then essentially blamed the TikTok personality for making the images of those infamous cans go viral.
The CEO said his company will deluge dollars on TV networks this summer in a desperate bid to save its floundering flagship brand. What didn’t he say during his remarks? “We’re sorry. This was a mistake. We hear you, and we won’t do this again.” In fact, Anheuser-Busch has turned passing the buck into an art form ever since the PR nightmare exploded a month ago. It’s quite frankly the largest collective refusal to accept personal responsibility since the Nuremberg Trials.
Expect piles of Bud Light cans to start appearing in convenience stores soon with signs saying, “Free — take one.”
QUESTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK
- Who will be the first person to publicly say they’re “exploring” running for governor in 2026?
- Does SCGOP chairman Drew McKissick have anything to worry about in his bid for a fourth term as SCGOP chairman?
- With seven announced candidates, is the field for Charleston’s mayoral election set? Or should we expect more?
- As they prepare to call “That’s a wrap!” under the dome in Columbia next week, will abortion opponents have anything to show from this year’s legislative session?
- Though he insists she’s staying on the ticket, can Biden expect another quiet push from top Dems to drop VP Kamala Harris as his running mate in ’24?
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