Palmetto Political Stock Index
SC Politics

Palmetto Political Stock Index: 3/12/2024

A big win for Joe Biden, a big “get” for Nancy Mace, and South Carolina’s “Luv Gov” returns to our stock index …

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By the time the 2024 presidential primaries rolled into South Carolina, they were effectively over. And by the time they rolled out of the Palmetto State, they were over. Results in Michigan – and on Super Tuesday – cemented the prevailing political calculus, putting an end to both Republican and Democratic nominating fights.

Now that the ‘First in the South’ circus has come and gone, the curtain is about to rise on the next round of intra-party infighting. South Carolina’s own version of ‘March Madness’ is upon us – with candidates preparing to file in primary elections for all seven U.S. House seats and every single seat of the S.C. General Assembly.

Also on the ballot? Numerous local sheriffs and solicitors …

Given the extent to which the Republican label dominates uniparty governance in the Palmetto State, most of the action this spring will be in the GOP primary races. Sadly, even in the primary process few races are competitive – a consequence of decades of uniparty gerrymandering.



“Republicans and Democrats in South Carolina continue to draw legislative districts that insulate incumbents – denying voters real choices at the ballot box,” I wrote in a 2018 column. “Not surprisingly, this lack of choice leads to a lack of accountability – which leads to a lack of progress on a host of fronts.”

This year, though, early indicators point to there being more competition than usual …

Filing for partisan primary races opens this Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. EDT – and closes sixteen days later (on April 1, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. EDT). Primary elections are scheduled for June 11, 2024 – with any necessary runoff elections held two weeks later (on June 25, 2024). In partisan primary races in South Carolina, a runoff election between the top two vote getters is required if no candidate wins a majority of votes on the first ballot.

There is no runoff requirement in the November general elections, however …

Over the past year, founding editor Will Folks and political columnist Mark Powell have been monitoring 2024 presidential developments via our Palmetto Political Stock Index. As previously noted, each installment is an assessment of how our subjects fared over the previous seven days. Positive reports don’t reflect endorsements, and negative ones aren’t (necessarily) indicative of vendettas. We just call ‘em like we see ‘em.

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 was a very good week for the president. First, he all but secured the Democratic presidential nomination on Super Tuesday. Over the next 24 hours, his campaign hauled in $1.5 million in new donations.

Joe Biden followed that feat by delivering the most blatantly political State of the Union address in American history Thursday night. Biden’s intention was so obvious a blind bat could see it: Rallying and motivating his Democratic base. In that regard, he scored a home run. Democrats were enthralled. And they should be; he spent one hour and eight minutes shamelessly pandering to them – to the exclusion of all other Americans.

Need more proof? On Saturday, Biden groveled on bended knee to liberal Democrats. They’re furious at him for having the audacity to call murdered Georgia coed Laken Riley’s alleged killer an “illegal immigrant.” The horror, right? Never mind that the suspect in Riley’s murder – Jose Antonio Ibarra – is in the United States, um, illegally. But progressives tolerate no breach of Approved Speech, even when the breacher is the president of the United States.

“An undocumented person,” Biden said Saturday during an interview with left-leaning MSNBC.  “I shouldn’t have used illegal, it’s undocumented.” 

Still, the big speech got the eyeballs Biden’s campaign wanted. Nielsen said 32.3 million people tuned in – an increase of 18 percent from last year’s address. 

Biden’s campaign then launched an aggressive air assault – with its first commercial tackling the president’s age issue head-on.

“Look, I’m not a young guy.” Biden begins in the ad. That’s no secret.”

(Click to View)

Joe Biden/ YouTube

The spot goes on to lay out his differences with Republican Donald Trump in stark, simple terms. And it’s being bankrolled by $30 million, too. That’s not chump change. Plus, the ad is running in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina, which, not coincidentally, are all swing states.

Swing states in which Biden is currently trailing Trump …

Pundits are debating the propriety of hijacking the State of the Union address and turning it into a 68-minute Democratic infomercial. But the PPSI gauges political impact, not propriety, which is why Biden’s stock is up.




Ex-governor, ex-U.N. ambassador … and now ex-presidential candidate. After throwing in the towel on her 2024 White House campaign last week, Nikki Haley is probably doing something she hasn’t done very often over the past 18 months: Sleeping in.

Now comes the hardest part of all for her: Deciding what to do next. And she’ll need the wisdom of Solomon as she ponders her steps. Although her candidacy is now in the past tense, at this juncture her political future could go either way.

For starters, she rubbed many Republicans the wrong way by not endorsing Trump on her way out. Tim Scott did (and is reaping much love from the GOP base in return for it); even Trump foes like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and New Hampshire Gov. (and Haley cheerleader-in-chief) Chris Sununu are now on the Trump Train. Here in South Carolina, Haley’s top supporter – congressman Ralph Norman – is also on board. 

Why hasn’t Haley joined them?

Whatever is holding her back, Republicans are livid. At the Republican National Committee meeting in Houston last week, there was talk of a resolution censuring Haley for not giving Trump her seal of approval – which she promised to do when she ran as a Republican and participated in the party’s five sanctioned debates. Though the censure resolution never got off the ground, the fact committee members were buzzing about it was notable.

Failed presidential candidates are traditionally thrown a bone by being allowed to speak at their party’s national convention. The better the candidate did, the more time they get along with a higher profile time slot. Haley’s appearance at July’s convention in Milwaukee – if it happens – will speak volumes bout her relationship with Trump and the party and where she goes from here.

As of this moment, she would be lucky to get 90 seconds in the middle of the afternoon on opening day. But a lot can happen between now and July. Don’t be surprised if she pops up in prime time.




If kicking the can down the road was an Olympic sport, the ruling uniparty in the U.S. congress would take home the gold medal every time. No one in the world does a better job of dodging their fiduciary responsibility better than our nation’s elected representatives.

The folks on Capitol Hill proved that once more when they passed a bundle of spending bills Friday night. The $460 billion they shelled out keeps Uncle Sam in business only until March 22 – when the money is set to run out again. Looming overhead is the possibility of yet another “partial government shutdown,” which Democrats shudder when mentioning as if it were one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Republicans cower in fear at the prospect of being blamed for it. (Think fast: When was your life ever directly affected by one of the many sham shutdowns? Take your time; we’ll wait.)

The shutdown sagas also invariably end the same way – with the GOP caving at the 11th hour.  

At any rate, we’ll be revisiting this ongoing farce yet again in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, congress will want to keep its can-kicking muscles limber.




Speaking of Congress, William Timmons’ bid to stay there took a big hit last week. Fresh on the heels of getting Donald Trump’s endorsement, the beleaguered congressman suddenly found himself playing defense.

While still plowing through the self-inflicted fallout caused by his bungled revelation of his extramarital affair, the wealthy Upstate lawmaker has a new problem on his hands. 

Wade Miller, executive director of the anti-Woke Citizens for Renewing Democracy, made a jaw-dropping discovery. Miller found a video apparently taped in Timmons’ office in which the congressman proudly proclaims: “In the 116th Congress (2019-2021), we made a recommendation to make permanent the Office of Diversity Inclusion. And I am pleased that this recommendation came to fruition and is now a permanent office.”

Wait, what?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (more commonly known by its acronym DEI) is a cornerstone of woke ideology. Its virtue signaling of positive words masks its true intention: Forcing the hiring, promotion, and outright celebration of peoples and cultures deemed to be “oppressed” over more traditional counterparts. In short, it emphasizes a person’s background and grouping over their character, talents, and abilities. DEI is an important vehicle driving the attempted overhaul of American society into a Marxist-inspired woke image.

And Timmons – a professed conservative who represents one of the reddest districts in America – voluntarily videotaped himself extolling its virtues while showcasing himself as its champion?

Good luck selling that in the highly conservative Upstate … 




Speaking of staying in Congress, Nancy Mace is basking in the glow of something that would have seemed impossible not too long ago: Donald Trump’s endorsement of her reelection bid.

Trump’s imprimatur was likely political payback for Mace having endorsed him ahead of last month’s “First in the South” presidential primary.

You will recall things between these two have had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster at Carowinds. But less than 24 hours after getting the former president’s blessing, Mace was back in the hot seat – mixing it up with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” Stephanopoulous wanted to know how Mace, as a rape victim, could stand with Trump after he was found liable for sexual battery in a defamation civil suit.

Mace accused the host of “shaming” her, and the pair went round and round over that … with the sophomore congresswoman giving as good as she got.

Stephanopoulos aside, the Trump endorsement was a very big “get,” especially with the GOP now more than ever before being the party of Trump. This was cemented last week by his choice of former NCGOP leader Michael Whatley and Trump’s own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as RNC chair and co-chair, respectively.

Mace will need all the help she can get as she fends off expected primary challenges from her former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, and GOP establishment-backed rival Catherine Templeton.




Cats are said to have nine lives, to which former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford could likely reply, “Hold my milk.” The former developer-turned-congressman-turned-governor-turned-congressman once more is back in the news … much to the chagrin of the vast majority of Palmetto State residents glad to have had him off of their radar screens.

You doubtless remember the whole sordid “Luv Guv” and “hiking the Appalachian Trail” fiasco. You also recall his supposed soulmate (and paramour) Maria Belen Chapur and his nasty divorce from wife Jenny Sanford – credited by many politicos as being the true mastermind behind his rise to the top.

CNN revisited the whole mess in a recent “United States of Scandal” episode for those South Carolinians wishing to relive that nightmare.

Now 63, Sanford is apparently still acting like a lovestruck high school freshman – and still refusing to elevate his romantic relationships to a trustworthy level, either.

After (supposedly) settling down into a committed relationship with a Columbia, S.C.-based jeweler, it turns out Sanford recently spent eight days soaking up the Caribbean sun on a Texas billionaire’s rented yacht accompanied by (surprise!) his old flame and erstwhile fiancée Chapur.

Those wishing to wade through this latest public airing of Sanford’s dirty laundry can do so here. The rest of us can content ourselves with getting on with our lives and leaving “Mark Who?” in the rearview mirror.



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Nanker Phelge March 12, 2024 at 12:14 pm


Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber doing their best.

Bob March 12, 2024 at 4:06 pm


Where has getting Trump endorsement been advantages?

If they aren’t getting arrested for murder, like Dan Rodimer, then they’re not even polling at the top of their own party’s primary, like Granny Boebert.

Nancy got asked a simple and reasonable question about her support of Trump and made such an disastrous ass out of herself on TV the other day that she’s saying she’ll never go on ABC again (yeah, right).

What’s Nancy going to do when she gets asked actual tough question during the general election? Curl up in a ball and pretend to be dead? I wouldn’t put it past these MAGA buffoons.


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