By Paul Gable
For the next 11 days, South Carolina will be center stage for Republican candidates attempting to gain a claim to their party’s presidential nomination.
If history has anything to tell us, it is also time to let the dirty tricks begin, especially with a Bush candidacy in trouble and needing a big showing in South Carolina to remain relevant.
In 2000, after John McCain slapped George W with an 18 point loss in New Hampshire, all the Lee Atwater wannabe’s associated with the Bush campaign in South Carolina smeared McCain as being gay, fathering an illegitimate child, committing treason and having a drug addicted wife, among other things.
With Jeb Bush’s candidacy on life support, I can’t wait to see what the dark side comes up with between now and voting on February 20th.
Of course, this year is different. There is an anti-establishment anger among voters. A full 90% of New Hampshire voters said they were dissatisfied with the federal government in exit polls and 50% of both Republican and Democratic voters said they want an outsider as a candidate in November.
And with 35% of the Republican vote in New Hampshire, Donald Trump demonstrated he is for real by bringing those angry voters under his tent.
A key question in South Carolina voting is how well John Kasich can do. Taking second in New Hampshire voting with 16%, Kasich needs another good showing in South Carolina to demonstrate his campaign is for real.
Ted Cruz gained 12% of the New Hampshire vote with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio each capturing 11%. All are hoping for at least a second place finish to Trump in South Carolina to continue momentum into Super Tuesday voting on March 1st.
Although, for Bush, it appears his only hope is to keep using the large donations he has received to stay in the primaries, finishing third or worse along the way, and hope for a brokered convention where his cronies may be able to swing the nomination his way.
Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina dropped out of the race yesterday and it’s time for Ben Carson to do the same.
Democrats have to wait until February 27th for their South Carolina primary.
Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a smack down in New Hampshire by a 60% to 38% margin. Clinton needs a big win in this state or she could be in big trouble come Super Tuesday.
But, for the next 11 days, the slash and burn of Republican politics will be on full view in South Carolina. It will be interesting to watch.