The South Carolina Democratic Primary’s overwhelming triumph for President Biden has 3 lessons.
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CHARLESTON, South Carolina On Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in South Carolina with a resounding victory, marking his first victory in his mostly unobstructed path to becoming the Democratic nominee in a potential rematch against Donald Trump in the fall.
Considering that Biden did not face a competitive opponent, it was not surprising that he won the election with a resounding victory, which was announced nearly immediately after the polls closed. Nevertheless, it was a significant achievement that put Biden on the path to winning the nomination, which he is working for in order to bring the entire party together in support of his candidacy.
At least 96% of the vote appears to be cast for Vice President Joe Biden, while Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, and author Marianne Williamson finished in the low single digits.
The following are three important things that I learned during the night.
Despite Democratic angst, Biden is headed for the nomination
As a result of his resounding victory in South Carolina, Biden has effectively eliminated any uncertainties regarding his potential to become the Democratic nominee. This is despite the fact that he has been confronted with numerous inquiries over his capacity to mobilize the base.
The majority of Democratic voters, according to polls conducted over the course of the past year, would prefer to have someone other than Biden serve as the standard-bearer for their party in 2024.
But the enormous victory that Biden achieved in South Carolina, which was the first state to vote in the new Democratic primary schedule, demonstrated that Phillips and Williamson’s candidacies, which were considered to be extremely unlikely, do not pose a significant threat.
Biden, who is 81 years old, continues to attract criticism from members of his party regarding his age and his capacity to energize young voters, progressives, and other core groups. However, in spite of the fact that he is not a perfect candidate, there was never a viable Democratic challenger in the race for the nomination last year, and Biden is currently in a position to win.
Pam Joy, a waitress from Charleston who is Black and 62 years old, did not participate in the primary election that took place on Saturday. However, she stated that she intends to vote for Joe Biden in November despite her reservations regarding his age. This is because she typically votes for Democrats.
After the results of the election in South Carolina were already known, Vice President Biden spent Saturday going to Los Angeles to participate in a fundraising event for his campaign. He made a phone call to a Democratic watch party in South Carolina in order to deliver a speech to his supporters during the event.
According to a statement released by Vice President Joe Biden following his victory, the stakes in this election could not be higher. He also issued a warning about the presence of “extreme and dangerous voices at work in the country, led by Donald Trump.”
Following the former president’s victory in the New Hampshire Republican Primary, the Biden campaign had already shifted its focus to a possible rematch against Trump. In the Democratic primary, the next state to vote is Nevada, which will take place on Tuesday.
In the same way that South Carolina provided Biden with the opportunity to test his message with Black voters, who make up the majority of the Democratic electorate in the state, Nevada provides a comparable opportunity with members of the Latino voter population. Nevada, in contrast to South Carolina, which is a significant Republican stronghold, is also a crucial battleground state in the general election.
A big night for Black voters
To begin with the Palmetto State, the Democratic National Committee rearranged its primary calendar to exclude Iowa and New Hampshire as the first and second states to vote. The primary that took place on Saturday was the first time that South Carolina Democrats have participated in a primary since the change.
South Carolina’s substantial Black population exposes Democrats’ most reliable and vital constituency, allowing them to set the path for the nomination process. This is the rationale that the party is using, despite the fact that South Carolina is not in play in the general election.
It should come as no surprise that the number of people electing to vote on Saturday was significantly lower than it was in the very competitive and open Democratic primary of 2020, which Biden also won. In comparison to the turnout in 2020, the turnout among Democrats on Saturday was only about 24 percent.
Nevertheless, according to Michael Tyler, the communications director for the Biden campaign, black voters made up roughly 76% of the early vote in South Carolina this year, which is a significant increase over the 56% of voters who showed up in 2020.
A former nursing assistant who is Black named Betty Managault, who is 82 years old, stated that she voted for Biden because she considered him to be “a godly man.” However, she believed that it was essential for her to cast her vote, despite the fact that she was certain that Biden would emerge victorious in the primary election.
While she was sitting at a stand selling sweet grass baskets that she had created, she made the following statement: “My ancestors, they died for me to get this right to vote.”
South Carolina, with the assistance of the most prominent Democrat in the state, Representative Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, is credited with saving Vice President Joe Biden’s candidacy in 2020, following his first defeats in the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.
After his victory on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement in which he said, “Now in the year 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again, and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the presidency once more, and making Donald Trump a loser once more with your actions.”
Biden has a lot of work to do leading up to the general election in order to guarantee that black people will continue to support him at the same level they did in 2020. According to a poll conducted by USA TODAY and Suffolk University last month, Biden has the backing of only 63% of black voters. This represents a significant drop from the 87% of black voters he carried in 2020.
Biden’s chances of winning the election in the fall could be ruinous if the support for black people continues to trail behind.
What’s next for Biden’s challengers?
At this point, it is very evident that Williamson, the author of the self-help book, and Phillips, a congressman from Minnesota, do not present any kind of threat to Biden. This raises issues about how long they intend to remain in the race.
As a result of Biden’s disregard for both of these, he has not been subjected to any sanctions.
Biden won the New Hampshire primary by an overwhelming margin last month, despite the fact that his name was not on the ballot. Their terrible performances in South Carolina came following the presidential election in New Hampshire. As a result of Phillips’s campaign being predicated on claiming a symbolic victory in New Hampshire in Biden’s absence, Biden was able to win the election as a write-in candidate.
Two consecutive blowout defeats for Phillips, who caused a great deal of dissatisfaction among party members when he launched a late primary campaign in October, raise the question of whether or not it is time for him to retire from the party.
However, Phillips stated that he is continuing to compete despite the fact that it appeared that he will finish third behind Williamson.
“Cracking four digits never felt so good!” on the social media platform X, which was formerly known as Twitter, Phillips stated. Congratulations, Mr. President, on a whooping that is right up there with the best of them. Have a good time in Michigan!”