Elections

Donald Trump projected to defeat Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina

Neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump’s march towards a third con­sec­u­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion con­tin­ued tonight with an easy win in South Car­oli­na’s 2024 GOP pri­ma­ry, where he cruised past Nik­ki Haley in her home state.

Net­works called the pri­ma­ry for Trump almost as soon as polls had closed.

“That is real­ly some­thing,” Trump bragged to a gath­er­ing of his fol­low­ers in Colum­bia. “This was a lit­tle soon­er than we anticipated.”

Haley, mean­while, refused to throw in the towel.

“I’m a woman of my word. I’m not giv­ing up this fight when a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans dis­ap­prove of both Trump and Biden,” she said.

“In the next ten days, twen­ty-one states and ter­ri­to­ries will speak. They have the right to a real choice, not a Sovi­et-style elec­tion with only one candidate.”

“And I have a duty to give them that choice.”

With 23.91% report­ing, Trump had 60.15% of the vote statewide (269,541 votes) and Haley had 39.21% (175,729 votes). Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis, who bowed out after fail­ing to do well in Iowa, drew 1,611 votes, and four oth­er now-with­drawn can­di­dates each had a few hun­dred votes apiece.

Haley is best­ing Trump in three areas with­in South Carolina:

  • Charleston Coun­ty, where she has 61.89% of the vote
  • Beau­fort Coun­ty, where she has 56.29% of the vote
  • Rich­land Coun­ty, where she has 58.97% of the vote

Beau­fort Coun­ty is “one of the South’s fastest-grow­ing coun­ties, pri­mar­i­ly because of devel­op­ment south of the Broad Riv­er clus­tered along the U.S. High­way 278 cor­ri­dor,” its Wikipedia entry notes. “The coun­ty’s north­ern por­tions have also grown steadi­ly, due in part to the strong fed­er­al mil­i­tary pres­ence around the city of Beau­fort.” Beau­fort Coun­ty also encom­pass­es Hilton Head Island.

Rich­land Coun­ty is home to the state cap­i­tal, Colum­bia. It is locat­ed in the geo­graph­ic cen­ter of the state and has a pop­u­la­tion of 416,147.

Charleston Coun­ty, as its name sug­gests, is home to the state’s largest city, Charleston. Locat­ed on the coast, it has a pop­u­la­tion of 408,235.

Because South Car­oli­na is a “win­ner take all” state for the Repub­li­cans, Trump will get all of the del­e­gates despite not win­ning any­where close to all of the vote. South Car­oli­na has fifty Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gates: 10 base at-large / 21 re: 7 con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts / 3 par­ty / 16 bonus.

This isn’t the first time Trump has pre­vailed in a con­test­ed Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry in South Car­oli­na. In 2016, Trump best­ed Mar­co Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ben Car­son, earn­ing a plu­ral­i­ty of 32.51% of the vote. Though over two-third of the Repub­li­can vot­ers who turned out in that 2016 pri­ma­ry chose anoth­er can­di­date, Trump nev­er­the­less walked away with all fifty del­e­gates then too, because of the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s “win­ner take all” rules.

Last year, Repub­li­cans like Chris Sununu argued that if the Repub­li­can field could be nar­rowed, Trump’s path to the nom­i­na­tion could be thwarted.

“Pro­vid­ed the field shrinks by Iowa and New Hamp­shire, Mr. Trump los­es,” Sununu mem­o­rably declared August 21st, 2023 essay for The New York Times (If Repub­li­cans Nar­row the Field, We Will Beat Trump). “He will always have his die-hard base, but the major­i­ty is up for grabs. Can­di­dates who seize on the oppor­tu­ni­ty and present a clear con­trast to the for­mer pres­i­dent will earn the votes.”

The field did shrink by Iowa and New Hamp­shire. Chris Christie, Doug Bur­gum, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Lar­ry Elder, Per­ry John­son, Will Hurd, and Fran­cis Suarez all bowed out before Iowa held its cau­cus­es. By the time the New Hamp­shire pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry was held, Nik­ki Haley was the only remain­ing Trump rival.

It did­n’t mat­ter. Trump has won every con­test thus far, prov­ing Sununu wrong.

Haley has the resources to keep going, however.

She “has ben­e­fit­ed from a self-replen­ish­ing assem­bly line of rich anti-Trump donors who are hap­py to con­tin­ue financ­ing what some pri­vate­ly con­cede is a futile effort,” a trio of New York Times polit­i­cal reporters observed a few days ago. They gave Repub­li­can strate­gist Kevin Mad­den the final quote in their arti­cle: “Can­di­dates don’t run out of rea­sons to run… They run out of resources.”

While Trump and Haley spoke in South Car­oli­na, Pres­i­dent Biden was in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., host­ing the nation’s gov­er­nors at a black-tie dinner.

“We have a lot to do. The thing that makes me feel good about hav­ing the gov­er­nors here is we have a tra­di­tion of doing things togeth­er,” Biden said.

“We fight like hell, we make sure that we get our points across. At the end of the day, we know who we work for. The objec­tive is to get things done.”

“Pol­i­tics have got­ten too bit­ter,” Biden added, per­haps allud­ing to the tox­i­c­i­ty Don­ald Trump pro­motes. “Pol­i­tics has got­ten too per­son­al. It’s just not like it was.” Biden not­ed that he served at times when the par­ties had stark differences.

Andrew Villeneuve

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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