Politics

Party Boss To South Carolina Democrats: ‘Stay In Your Lane’

Meanwhile, Nikki Haley overtly courts Democrats …

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The anything-but-usual 2024 presidential campaign just got even more unusual. With South Carolina’s ‘First in the Nation’ Democratic presidential primary behind us, attention has shifted to the GOP presidential primary scheduled for next Saturday (February 24, 2024).

Former U.S. president Donald Trump will face off in the Palmetto State next weekend against his last remaining GOP opponent, former S.C. governor Nikki Haley.

Trailing Trump by a seemingly insurmountable margin, Haley is banking on her appeal to independents and Democrats – two groups she believes are dissatisfied with the former president and his successor, incumbent Joe Biden. Haley has made no secret of her intention to elicit crossover support in South Carolina – where partisan primary elections are open to all comers. This was quite apparent during the New Hampshire GOP primary, where left-of-center voters helped propel her to a respectable 43.2 percent showing – denying Trump (who got 54.3 percent of the vote) the blowout win he coveted.

Now Haley is actively courting the crossover vote in her home state …

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With so much of Haley’s support coming from the Democratic camp, it is rubbing many Republicans the wrong way. Now it seems it’s rubbing the South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) the wrong way, too. Earlier this week, the party’s big brass did its best to put the preemptive kibosh on any Haley crossover action.

Reporter Meg Kinnard of The Associated Press broke the news of an unusual email from SCDP executive director Jay Parmley to the party faithful …

No one who votes in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary can participate in our country conventions.” (Emphasis original.)

In local politics, that’s the equivalent of the death sentence for partisans and activists. And it also sends the unmistakable message: “We’re not fooling around. We’re stone-cold serious about this.”

Some have speculated that – despite her campaign’s claims to the contrary – Democrats would prefer running against Haley in November because they see her as more beatable than Trump. But Parmley’s email pours ice water on the theory.

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Similarly, Haley supporters argue the SCDP’s “vote Republican at your own risk” warning confirms her ability to win votes beyond the GOP tent – which is an existential threat to Democrats.

If that’s true, new polling indicates she will need all the cross-over votes she can get.

South Carolina holds open primaries. Citizens do not list their party affiliation when they register. Voters simply show up at the presidential primary of their choice (although they cannot vote in both).

Fueling the crossover speculation surrounding Haley? The anemic turnout for Biden earlier this month …

Only 131,276 South Carolinians – or 4.09 percent of the state’s 3.23 million registered voters – cast ballots in this election, which fell well shy of the Democratic turnout record (539,263) set four years ago and dramatically shy of the Democratic turnout percentage record (23 percent) set in 2008.

Critics say cross-over voting is why South Carolina should switch to a closed primary system where only Democrats can vote for Democrats and Republicans for Republicans. They claim cross-over voting creates an opportunity for the other side to meddle in their party’s affairs and, in some cases, even pick their candidates. Supporters counter by insisting open primaries give citizens greater choices at the ballot box.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.

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2 comments

Ralph Hightower Top fan February 16, 2024 at 9:59 pm

There’s no one left standing in the Republican primary worthwhile voting for.

Reply
George Johnson Top fan February 17, 2024 at 7:48 am

Closed primary system = diminished democracy

Reply

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