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Palmetto Political Stock Index: 1/7/2024

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The road to the White House is fast approaching its first mile marker – the moment when pollsters and pundits start to fade into the rearview as their prognostications are replaced by actual results. That’s right … we are just eight days away from the first votes being cast in the 2024 presidential election as Iowa Republicans prepare for their quadrennial presidential caucus.

Iowa’s caucus will be held next Monday (January 15, 2024) beginning at 7:00 p.m. CST. It will take place in nearly 1,700 precinct locations in all 99 Iowa counties. Unlike a primary election, a caucus consists of registered Republicans gathering at their precinct locations and hearing candidate representatives (and occasionally the candidates themselves) speak prior to them casting anonymous paper ballots.

We’ll have a more in-depth look at this unique process in our next installment of the index, which is scheduled to go to press on Caucus Eve …

Of course, after Iowa is the “First in the Nation” primary in New Hampshire (January 23, 2024) followed by our “First in the South” presidential primary here in South Carolina on February 24, 2024.

By the time these three races are in the books, we’ll likely know who the next GOP nominee for president will be … and possibly their running mate (more on that in a moment).



Our founding editor Will Folks and political columnist Mark Powell have been tracking trajectories in this race for the past ten months via our Palmetto Political Stock Index. As previously noted, each index is 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. Also, just because your favorite/ least favorite politician isn’t on this week’s report doesn’t mean we aren’t still following them. Look for them to appear 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. 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.

It’s about to get real, folks – meaning it’s more important now than ever to know exactly where to invest your political capital.

To the index!




To borrow from Mad Men’s Roger Sterling, when it comes to dividing Americans and pitting them against one another, president Joe Biden will always lower himself to the occasion. He proved that yet again with his first campaign event of 2024.

“Scranton Joe” returned to his native Pennsylvania on Friday. In a speech at Valley Forge, he ignored the surging Nikki Haley and directed all his firepower at former president Donald Trump and his supporters. The man who promised to unify in 2020 wasted no time getting down to the dirty business of vilifying in 2024.

After wrapping himself in the mantle of protecting “our democracy,” Biden gleefully plunged into recounting the horrors of the so-called “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Not content with dwelling on Trump’s “lies” and blaming him for all the world’s woes, Biden went after Trump supporters as well. 

“We are running a campaign like the fate of our democracy depends on it – because it does,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez-Rodriguez told reporters before the speech.

That’s a nifty line, except it’s the exact same script Biden used during the 2022 midterm elections. Remember his infamous nighttime speech outside Independence Hall that carried the creepy vibe of a Gothic Nuremberg rally? Biden said back then that MAGA supporters embraced “semi-fascism” and accused Trump voters of practicing “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” 

Translation: “I’m very, very good, and everyone who disagrees with me is very, very bad.”

Totally missing from Biden’s speech on Friday: The pain inflicted by the inflation he unleashed, the mass chaos at the southern border, or the mess that is America’s weakened standing in the world under this failed leadership. And let’s not forget the many “pro-democracy” steps Biden has taken as well: Rigging the Democratic primary calendar by stacking it in his favor, having Democratic minions kick Trump off the ballot in Colorado and Maine, plus making sure primary challengers Rep. Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williams were likewise banned from Democratic ballots in Florida and North Carolina.

That brand of “democracy” is a better fit for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea.

Conservative columnist Christine Flowers summed it up best: “Joe Biden is the one who needs a few lessons in the history of democracy because his constant hysterical attacks on those who disagree with him are not conducive to the unity he seems to treasure.”

Hard to argue with that.




From a purely political perspective, the former president is sitting on top of the world. With the Iowa Republican caucuses on the horizon, Donald Trump remains firmly atop polls there. Ditto for the New Hampshire primary. If he pulls off a trifecta and easily wins the South Carolina primary to boot (where he also enjoys a large lead in the polls) the GOP could save time by ditching the rest of the primaries and nominating Trump by return postcard.

Still, Nikki Haley has drawn far closer to Trump than anyone imagined … and threatens to draw closer still over the coming weeks. The problem? Haley still has a huge gap to close – and she’s running out of time to close it.

Trump got some good news last week when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the Colorado Republican Party’s appeal of a state supreme court decision booting him from the ballot. If the high court decides in Trump’s favor, it will go a long way toward vindicating his claim that Democrats are willing to go to any extreme — even those that are extra-legal — in order to win the upcoming election.

Trump can’t make the Democrats’ weaponization of the legal system go away, though. He remains a defendant in multiple criminal cases in multiple states – all of which could, not so coincidently, keep him in the courtroom and off the campaign trial for much of the spring.

But if current polls prove accurate, that likely wouldn’t be as big of a tactical political problem as it could have been …




There’s simply no denying it: These are happy days for Nikki Haley. After weeks of incremental gains, the sustained momentum for the former South Carolina governor has her poised to finally claim the No. 2 spot in national GOP polling. Also, the eye-popping $24 million Haley hauled in during the fourth quarter — leaving her with $14.5 million on hand to start the new year— is proof the #NeverTrump vote now revolves around her.

And make no mistake, the #NeverNikki movement is very much aware of her momentum …

But here’s where things get tricky for the former governor. Those new-found supporters expect her to go after the former president tooth and nail – something she’s been reluctant to do so far. In typical “Have It Both Ways Haley” style, she’s said Trump shouldn’t be president again – but she hasn’t gone after him with a full-throated “this man must be stopped from occupying the Oval Office at all costs” cry (like former New Jersey governor Chris Christie).

And while Trump has unleashed his first negative ads against Haley in Iowa, there remains speculation the former president and his one-time United Nations’ ambassador are busy crafting an eventual exit ramp for her – as Trump’s running mate this summer.

Haley has repeatedly said she’s “not running for No. 2,” but that’s hardly an ironclad rejection of a future vice presidential invitation.

Would Trump ever extend such an invite? The escalating anti-Haley acrimony emanating from big-name conservatives urging him not to do so signifies sufficient smoke is billowing from this particular prospect that a fire must be burning somewhere.

There’s a rub for Haley, though: Should she defy the polls and finish with an unusually strong second place showing in Iowa – or eke out an upset win in New Hampshire – the pressure on her to go for Trump’s jugular would increase exponentially. And if she were to do so, that is something the notoriously thin-skinned former president would never tolerate.

In other words, “Have It Both Ways Haley” may soon face her biggest challenge ever.




Classic movie buffs will remember a scene from the iconic World War II-era Casablanca in which Senor Ferrari (portrayed by Sydney Greenstreet) tells Isla Lund (Ingrid Bergman): “Let me be frank. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca. And the Germans have outlawed miracles.”

That’s precisely where Florida governor Ron DeSantis stands on the eve of the Iowa GOP Caucuses. It would take a miracle for him to win – yet it seems someone has outlawed miracles.

The situation is critical for DeSantis because he has pushed all his chips to the middle of the table – betting the farm on the Hawkeye State. Despite a strong evangelical Christian base (and religious leader Bob Vander Plaats’ backing), Iowa remains solidly behind the very non-evangelical Trump. Even governor Kim Reynolds – who endorsed DeSantis back in November – has proven to have nonexistent coattails.

No matter what he does, DeSantis just can’t catch a break. Consider a Haley gaffe last week that should have opened a huge window for him: Talking to a crowd in New Hampshire, she said “you (Granite Staters) know how to do this. You know that Iowa starts this. You know that you (New Hampshire) correct it. And then my sweet state of South Carolina brings it home. That’s what we do.”

It was a lame joke poking fun at Iowa’s less-than-pristine record of reporting results from the 2012 Republican and 2020 Democratic Caucuses. Prickly Iowans were not amused, but did DeSantis gain any traction over Haley as a result of it?

It sure doesn’t look like it …

Somewhere in Tallahassee right now, a Florida political beat writer is getting a jumpstart on writing the DeSantis campaign’s obituary. “DeSantis DeSaster” might make for a good headline.

Team Ron has one last chance for that elusive miracle, a head-to-head debate with Haley on CNN scheduled for this Wednesday (January 10, 2024) at 9:00 p.m. EST.




Another domino fell last week following December’s calamitous congressional committee appearance from a trio of academic leaders testifying about antisemitism on their campuses. Beleaguered Harvard president Claudine Gay ran up the white flag last week and resigned her post. She triggered the ire of big-dollar donors with her answer to a question asking if calls for Jewish genocide violated the college’s rules on bullying and harassment.

“It depends on the context,” she said.

Matters were made worse when Gay was caught red-handed in an egregious plagiarism scandal. Thus ended her six-month tenure as Harvard’s head honcho. Gay is black, and she wasted no time invoking the far left’s favorite bugaboo for her downfall: Racism. But before we shed too many tears for the former president, it’s well to remember she’s now ensconced in a $900,000-a-year tenured teaching position at the same school – a perch from which she can safely rail against “white privilege” to her heart’s content.

At the same time, Harvard said its new class this spring semester – “Taylor Swift and Her World” – is so wildly popular its instructor is scrambling to hire extra teaching assistants. No, really! 

Acing a class on Taylor Swift should guarantee students successful careers 25 years from now. And given that a Harvard undergrad degree costs an estimated $385,919 (including room and board), parents must be thinking that it was money well spent.




Social media was swirling this past week with strange photos and videos taken during a teenage brawl at a mall in Miami, Florida on New Year’s. Purportedly visible in some of the pics and clips were ten-foot tall shadows which witnesses claimed moved – then disappeared and reappeared – making horrified spectators flee for their lives.

Some are now alleging those shadows were shielding the faces of gigantic aliens … although Miami police were quick to downplay the rumors.

Taken by itself, the story sounds like something out of the pages of the National Enquirer – until you consider what’s happening in Washington, D.C. this week. On Friday (January 12, 2024), the U.S. House oversight committee is scheduled to receive a private, closed-door briefing on “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” a.k.a. UFOs.

An official notice said the briefing will be given by the Office of Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Of particular interest here in the Palmetto State: South Carolina’s Nancy Mace sits on that committee. 

The lack of detail about this hearing is creating a field day of speculation from journalists, conspiracy theorists and the public. What is so secretive that it can’t be disclosed in a public session? And perhaps a better question: If the government is serious about keeping something hush-hush, why share it with members of congress? Capitol Hill leaks like a sieve in the most mundane of times; can we really count on congressional tongues to stay silent when the dirt is especially juicy?

Whatever is going on, this much is certain. If aliens have come seeking signs of intelligent life on Earth, their timing is terrible. This being an election year, one round of campaign commercials or a single candidate debate will have them saying, “We can scratch that place off our list” as they head back for home.



Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.


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Nanker Phelge January 7, 2024 at 10:26 pm

Another installment of delusion from Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.

Haley is 30 points behind Trump in her own home state! Stop trying to fabricate something with her.

Biden is old. He also presides over the lowest inflation rate of the G7 countries with wages outpacing inflation, continues to add more jobs per month, has reduced the price of insulin and in 2026 Medicare will be able to negotiate drug prices which will save mucho money, and gas prices are down.

Meantime Trump says Lincoln could have avoided the Civil War by “negotiating”, mocked John McCains wartime injuries, calls thugs who stormed the Capitol and smeared their feces in Statuary Hall “hostages”, and got more than $7 million from China while president.

As Clay Davis said on The Wire, “Sheeeeeeeit”

Heads I Win, Tails Let's Talk About This January 8, 2024 at 8:53 am

It’s telling that a lot of modern conservatism is really just John Birch Society stuff, and one of the biggest things that enraged the JBS was Brown v. Board of Education. You had some conservatives who agreed in general with the idea of desegregation but openly opined that forced desegregation is just as bad as forced segregation, which really translates to “just let us have ‘coincidental’ segregation.”

Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, once conservatives get handed a pretty solid L is when they decide it’s time to negotiate. Just look at gay marriage, and how very shortly after the SCOTUS decision conservatives suddenly thought gay civil unions were actually a totally acceptable idea suddenly.

Losers gonna lose January 8, 2024 at 10:51 am

Republican bloggers live in bizarre fantasy world.

Having to prop up their Mango Mussolini who says out loud in front of cameras that he will be a dictator, that people need to just get over mass shootings in schools, that Putin and the North Korea goon are smart, that the courts have ruled a rapist, who’s been found guilty of mass financial fraud, facing trials for election interference, kicked off of the ballot in a couple of States for insurrection, fuck…the list doesn’t end for horrible things FitsNews’ favorite, Trump.

GT January 8, 2024 at 11:39 am

This blog post is so full of lies and misinformation….oh wait, that’s all conservatives have anymore.

No policy wins, no popular legislation, barely able to do the simplest of tasks to keep the country running smoothly, giving aid to our enemies abroad, taking freedoms away from Americans, while embracing violence and domestic terrorism…these are the truths of today’s Republican Party.

No wonder these bloggers have to ignore reality. Because the reality is you are the bad guys.

Get help January 8, 2024 at 11:49 am

Guess Fits”News” missed the latest disclosure from the Epstein case.

Their guy, Trump, was having sex with multiple victims of Epstein.

Just add that to trump being an adulterer, rapists, insurrectionist, life-long financial fraud and traitor.

This is what Fits”News” thinks is OK and totally normal. God, you people are sick.

RC January 8, 2024 at 3:01 pm

It’s amazing what Will will write about things Biden says without ever once addressing any of the shit Trump says or posts on a daily basis.


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