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Palmetto Political Stock Index: 12/17/2023

Trouble for Trump? Hope for Biden?

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As we head into the holiday break there are signs of trouble for former U.S. president Donald Trump, signs of hope for beleaguered current president Joe Biden and mixed signals for the rest of the presidential field.

There’s also further evidence of the absolute insanity caused by what billionaire Elon Musk has termed the “woke mind virus.”

Providing some counterbalance to that insanity, our founding editor Will Folks and political columnist Mark Powell compile the Palmetto Political Stock Index each week – tracking the rising and falling fortunes of individuals and institutions on the national stage as well as the interplay of state and national politics in our early-voting South Carolina home, which hosts the quadrennial “First in the South” Republican presidential primary (and the “First in the Nation” Democratic primary).



Got a hot “stock tip” for our consideration? Email Will (here) and/ or Mark (here). Just make sure to include “Palmetto Political Stock Index” in the subject line.

As often noted, our index is simply an assessment of how our subjects fared over the past seven days. Positive reports don’t reflect endorsements, and negative ones aren’t indicative of vendettas. We just call ‘em like we see ‘em. And just because your favorite/ least favorite politician isn’t on this week’s report doesn’t mean we aren’t still tracking them. Look for them in upcoming editions … and, of course, you can check prior installments to see how we’ve covered them in the past.

To view the most recent index, click here. And to get your historical fix, click here.

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




There are 148 million reasons why Georgia is on Rudy Giuliani‘s mind. A federal jury in Washington, D.C. slammed him with a $148 million judgment on Friday, determining he defamed two Peach State poll workers in the messy aftermath of the 2020 elections. It’s a blow to the reputation of the man once admired as “America’s Mayor.”

Giuliani says he will appeal. That will be a huge addition to his already surging legal bills, which are reportedly making a mess of his personal finances. But the ex-Hizzoner’s bottom line isn’t our concern.

We note what happened because Friday’s verdict is a sign of serious trouble ahead for Giuliani, Trump, and the dozen-plus co-defendants in their Georgia election interference criminal case. Already showing the hallmarks of being pursued for partisan gain (by making a spectacle of releasing Trump’s mugshot), is there any reason to suspect the jury in always-reliably Democratic Atlanta will be in an acquitting mood?




It’s tightrope-walking time for the former South Carolina governor. Nikki Haley picked up an important endorsement as her Republican rivals pressed her for details she’d rather not discuss.

Outgoing New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu endorsed her presidential campaign last week. It had been expected for some time and made little impact on anyone except the ever-fawning Mainstream Media. “A squish endorses a squish — big surprise there,” one Republican consultant told us. Another was blunter: “It’s a marriage of two moderate fiscal hawks posing as conservatives.” Yikes!

Whatever your opinion of Sununu, he gave the week’s best political zinger in endorsing Haley.

“We have a president that’s more concerned about his nap time, and a [former] president that’s worried about his jail time,” he said.


While Haley basks in the glow of Sununu’s backing, her primary opponents are holding her feet to the fire. Florida governor Ron DeSantis put it this way: “There’s a reason why Haley and Trump spend money against me. He has not spent any money against her, and she has not spent any money against him,” implying Trump and Haley are secretly scheming to be running mates.

“There’s a question she will not answer directly, and she owes us an answer: Will she accept a vice presidential nomination from Donald Trump — yes or no?” DeSantis said.

Haley’s campaign shot back with, “Nikki has been very clear from day one, she doesn’t play for second. Ron is trying to play for fourth in New Hampshire.”

A nifty response … but not an answer.

All of this sets the stage for a potentially explosive encounter when the two share the stage at a CNN debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 10.




U.S. president Joe Biden got a bit of much-needed good economic news last week – which has Democrats daring to dream that we may be in store for a case of déjà vu all over again.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Tuesday that inflation rose by .01 percent in November. That means prices were up 3.1 percent from November 2022, as opposed to October’s 3.2 percent. The White House cheered that as a sign inflation is easing – although when your house is on fire, it’s hard to feel hopeful just because it’s burning a little bit slower.

The Fed announced the next day its key interest rate would be remaining steady — even suggesting rate cuts could be coming in 2024. Wall Street interpreted that as a sign the worst of inflation’s damage was behind us – with many stocks posting big gains.

Democrats are hoping history is about to repeat itself. For those of you in need of a refresher, Republican president Ronald Reagan looked like political roadkill in the fall of 1983. As his first term drew to a close, the U.S. was mired in its worst economic recession since the Great Depression. That persuaded a then-astonishingly large field of Democrats to run against him including heavy hitters like former vice president Walter Mondale, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and U.S. senators Gary Hart and John Glenn.

Even South Carolina’s own Fritz Hollings got in on the act.

Each of them made a major miscalculation, though. In 1984, interest rates began inching back down, companies began hiring and stocks shot up. Americans began feeling hopeful again, leading the Reagan campaign to release its memorable ‘Morning In America‘ commercial. The result? Reagan breezed to a 49-state reelection romp that November.

Biden supporters are crossing their fingers, praying lightning will strike twice so their seemingly politically DOA candidate can experience a Reaganesque resurrection. While there’s no doubt an improved economy would improve Biden’s reelection chances,1983-84 and 2023-24 aren’t apples and apples. Chiefly, there was an immense reservoir of personal affection for Reagan that doesn’t exist for Biden. Reagan ran against a former vice president who struck many voters as wimpy and uninspired, whereas Biden could face a former president who campaigns like a street brawler. Perhaps most important of all, Reagan was a spry 73 in 1984; Biden will turn 82 right after Election Day. Try as he might, that’s one issue Biden can’t make go away.

Will we see Morning in America 2.0 in a few months? Stay tuned …




Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say. But a now ex-Democratic staffer didn’t bother with a bed. He did it on the desk in a Senate meeting room on Capitol Hill.

Aidan Maese-Czeropski, a low-rung office functionary for Maryland senator Ben Cardin, made a sex tape with an unnamed (and unprotected) partner in the empty Senate room. The videographer even got a shot of the Senate seal on the wall just to make the point. This was no softcore skin flick, either; the video is as graphic as anything seen on hardcore gay porn websites.

This media outlet has always believed that what happens between consenting adults in private is their own business. But there is no privacy in a public meeting room – and someone took the additional step of posting the video on a website frequented by gay congressional staffers.

Capitol Hill Police are already investigating – as they should.

Maese-Czeropski already made a name for himself as a loose cannon on the Hill. For instance, Jewish Republican Congressman Max Miller of Ohio said before news of the video’s existence broke that the young Democrat had harassed him by shouting “Free Palestine!” while Miller was being interviewed by NBC News earlier in the week.

Before his 15 minutes of fame (or infamy?), Maese-Czeropski appeared with Joe Biden in a 2020 campaign video.

All too predictably, Maese-Czeropski is now playing the victim card.

“I have been attacked for who I love to pursue a political agenda,” he declared on social media, tossing in that he “will be exploring legal options” against those who portray him in an unflattering light.

A bigger concern to Maese-Czeropski right now should be crafting a response for HR reps asking during coming interviews …

“So, why did you leave your last job?”




We told you last week about the radioactive fallout from the presidents of three elite universities refusing to condemn calls for Jewish genocide on their campuses. The presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania stood by student and faculty displays of blatant antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. By the end of that week, UPenn’s Liz Magill resigned under intense pressure.

Not so for the other two Ivory Tower elites.

The Harvard Corporation, that university’s governing body, issued a statement of support for president Claudine Gay on Tuesday. This despite her testimony the week before; when specifically asked if calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard’s rules on bullying and harassment, Gay provided antisemites cover by answering. “It can be, depending on the context.”

Gay currently faces accusations of academic plagiarism in her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation, incidentally.

The same was true for fellow congressional testifier MIT President Sally Kornbluth, whose job is as secure as ever.

As for UPenn’s Magill, though she may have fallen from her lofty presidential perch, she golden parachuted safely into the welcoming embrace of a tenured teaching spot at the university’s law school. Meaning while the name on the door of the president’s office may have changed, UPenn’s Woke-friendly environment hasn’t.

In other words, meet the new boss, same as the old boss …




It won’t be a White Christmas in Boston this year. At least not for white people.

Mayor Michelle Wu rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for an “electeds of color” taxpayer-funded reception at City Hall … so as long as the color wasn’t white.

The brouhaha began when the invitation to the event was mistakenly emailed to all 13 city council members — and then quickly recalled. By then, though, the cat was out of the bag.

Dismissing it with a “gee, these things happen,” shrug, Wu called the email invite “an honest mistake” but refused to admit there was anything wrong with segregating people based on the color of their skin.

Going overboard in the pursuit of “social justice” does more harm than good. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. Though it would appear such thinking is now “banned in Boston.”




Speaking of Bean Town, Saturday night marked the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. A pivotal moment on the road to the American Revolution, the Tea Party was one of those defining moments when Patriots rose up and resisted tyranny.

How did Liberals commemorate this watershed moment in U.S. history? The Washington Post, trumpet section for the radical Left’s crusade against American heritage, ran a piece by contributing columnist Theodore Johnson that actually attacked — the Patriots!

That’s right, the heroes of that incident were smeared as “terrorists” whose use of Mohawk Indian warpaint as a disguise was assailed as an early form of “blackface.”

Not content with that outrage, Johnson went on to call the Patriots “terrorists” who “committed seditious conspiracy and destroyed private property.”

These logic-challenged ramblings could be easily laughed off if not for two things: First, they reflect how Leftist-inspired curricula have weaponized the teaching of history, warping it into a propaganda vehicle to make impressionable children feel bad about their own country. More insidiously, though it exposes the true force driving this hijacking of history. Tyranny demands blind devotion to the government. In 1773, Patriots rose up and demanded government should exist to serve the people. In 2023, Woke progressives demand we pay unquestioning homage to the government while branding resistance to its excesses a crime.

Also … where was Johnson’s outrage when protesters on the woke Left were destroying American cities during the summer of 2020?




Talk about a nightmare before Christmas …

In the aftermath of the White House’s bizarre attempt to extend seasons greetings, millions of Americans were left asking the same question: “What the heck was that???”

Intended to be a look at the executive mansion’s elaborately colorful Christmas decorations, the video released by first lady Jill Biden felt more like something out of “The Little Shop of Horrors.”

A modern urban interpretation of “The Nutcracker?” Or a bad acid flashback?

Click here to view and decide for yourself …



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So funny December 18, 2023 at 3:38 pm

It been hilarious to watch MAGA idiots freaking out over black people being in a White House Xmas video.

MAGA snowflakes get triggered by the dumbest stuff. It’s like God is playing one joke after another one these clowns.

Tom December 18, 2023 at 4:17 pm

For those of you who do not believe Trump wants to be a dictator. This week alone he has said he is entitled to two more terms, not one, and in reference to Putin, XI, and Kim Jung Un he said,

“They know how to run a society and they see in Trump a strong leader in the same mold.”

Believe people when they tell you what they are going to do. Trump, like Putin is a Neo-Nazi leader who will never give up power voluntarily.

RC December 20, 2023 at 9:09 am

Will is the type that will steadfastly deny the possibility of systemic racism while also claiming a person can’t be tried fairly because the populace leans democrat.


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