By Paul Gable
On the first working day of the New Year, my thoughts are of presidential primaries.
For the next seven weeks, South Carolina will be in the national spotlight as candidates travel throughout the state hoping to convince supporters they are the best person to be our next president.
Of course, this will be mostly on the Republican side as South Carolina is one of the most intensely conservative states in the nation.
Right now that looks like it means Donald Trump and, possibly, Ted Cruz against the field.
The Trump phenomenon is holding, even gaining a little momentum as the voting nears. Cruz, who must be considered another outsider in traditional Republican circles, has been coming on strong in the minds of South Carolina voters for the last month.
More traditional, establishment candidates, such as Jeb Bush, are trailing miserably.
If nothing else, this is a year of protest against the system, something traditional politicos have been slow to pick up on.
And what better state to lead that protest than South Carolina?
When Trump first announced his candidacy, I thought we would have a couple of months of fun with his outrageousness, then, he would fade from view.
That hasn’t happened.
The more outrageous Trump’s pronouncements are, the more his support grows.
Because the general feeling throughout the country is the system needs change.
I have been socially liberal all my life, but, when Trump calls for an end to all Muslim immigrants into the country, it strikes a sympathetic cord within me.
The middle class is shrinking. My children’s generation now works longer for less benefits than my generation did.
That is not the American Dream.
When Trump says the ‘American Dream is dead’ and the ‘U.S. is going to hell’, those messages resonate with voters in a way that was not possible even eight years ago.
And for all those polls that say Trump will be one of the weakest Republican candidates against the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, throw them out the window. The establishment still doesn’t get it.