Biden Clinches Democratic Primary Victory in South Carolina, Cementing Comeback

Easily winning the state that resurrected his presidential campaign four years ago, President Biden made his first appearance on the ballot this year by winning the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday. The Associated Press called the race shortly after the votes closed, thus the result was not surprising. The only candidates running against Biden were self-help author Marianne Williamson and Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips.

Nevertheless, in order to strengthen his support among Black voters—a group that would be critical to his candidacy for his party's nomination and, eventually, the presidency in the 2020 election—Biden has been campaigning in South Carolina in recent weeks.

Polls indicate that many Democratic voters are less excited about Biden's candidacy, despite the fact that party leaders and elected officials have endorsed his reelection campaign—even though he will probably fight former President Donald Trump again. Biden's popularity with Black voters, who make up the bulk of South Carolina's Democratic electorate, seems to be declining, according to some surveys. According to some polls, liberals and young people are becoming less unified, which puts the alliance that supported Biden's last win in jeopardy.

Biden's staff believes a good performance in the Palmetto State would help generate enthusiasm around his campaign, even if South Carolina is not in play in the general election since the state has not elected a Democrat to the White House since Jimmy Carter in 1976. 

After winning on Saturday night, Biden remembered that the state had given his 2020 campaign new energy in a statement.

"The people of South Carolina have spoken once again in 2024, and I am certain that you have put us on the right track to win the presidency and render Donald Trump an embarrassment once more,” said Biden.

During his two trips to South Carolina last month, Biden concentrated on the anticipated conflict between himself and his predecessor.

Biden has been the target of harsh criticism from Trump, especially about his management of the border. He has also used surveys that indicate Biden is leading in November. Trump's opponent in the state's Republican primary on February 24 is Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina. 

For Haley, who has never lost an election in her home state but is now behind Trump by double digits, the race is a make-or-break one. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and the majority of the Republican field for 2024 have united behind Trump, who easily won both the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

In an attempt to better represent the diversity of the party and the nation, the president and other supporters of the change claimed that Democrats had accepted a new primary schedule last year that ranked South Carolina first on the party's presidential nomination calendar.

The turnout for uncompetitive primaries is usually not very high. Voting took conducted slowly on a Saturday afternoon at a Hilton Head, South Carolina, public library that doubled as a polling station.

In the days leading up to the primary, Biden made interviews over the phone with a number of Black radio stations in South Carolina. During his visit to the state last month, Biden highlighted measures taken by his administration to assist African Americans, including the cancellation of student loans, significant funding for historically black colleges and universities, and reduced costs for prescription drugs. The president also gave a speech at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a hate crime in 2015 that claimed the lives of nine Black parishioners as they studied the Bible. 


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