This may seem like a minor state contest, but in the greater scheme of things it’s vital. The entire D.N.C. conceit of identitarian politics is being tested today, and we’ll get to watch in real time.
The basic premise is this: People vote for people that are like them. So women vote for women, men vote for men, Catholics for Catholics, and the KKK for Trump. (This is the D.N.C. saying this, not me. But — be that as it may.)
Demographically, South Carolina is counted as 70% white and 30% black. The premise is that (1) most of those counted as black are Democrats, and (2) most of them will vote for someone who appeals to black people. Yes, I know it’s blatantly racist to presume that they’re black first and South Carolinian second — but the test is whether or not it’s true no matter that it’s egregious hypocrisy. (It’s actually worse; the conceit rests on the presumption that most black people are racists.)
The D.N.C. pundits will argue that Sanders offers nothing to appeal to a black population. Biden has strong positive associations since he spent eight years playing a distant second fiddle to a black man. And Steyer… they don’t really know what to make of Tom Steyer since he’s a billionaire and approximately as white as Wonder Bread. The man runs on issues alone, just like Sanders — and yet he’s polling the highest here of any state in the Union.
But the premise rests on Biden winning in a landslide, swamping both Steyer and Sanders combined — presumably on the theory that no sane person would vote for Biden without that Obama association. (After all, it’s not as though Uncle Joe is strong on any issues.) Never mind that South Carolina is half female and Klobuchar, Warren, and Gabbard combined poll around 15%; that’s an unpleasant truth and we ignore those. Likewise we can forget that Biden has spent an insane amount of time campaigning here, completely ignoring all the Super Tuesday states ever since Iowa. And Tulsi Gabbard, who is certainly the least white candidate, is only polling 2% — but we can ignore that too.
The bottom line is, the Identitarians will claim to be justified in their (racist if not necessarily wrong) views if Biden sweeps the state. A narrow win and they’ll still claim to be right, but we’ll know better.
For the rest of us, here’s the important info:
South Carolina awards 54 delegates proportionately — 35 by district, 19 by the state’s overall winner. (Which is a lot considering it’ll vote Trump in November, but never mind.) If one candidate wins significantly, they’re likely to reap the lion’s share. It’s also possible for a minor candidate with a strong local following to take a huge leap onto the board here. All of this is vital, since it’ll be the last concrete indicator of public feeling before Tuesday — which is Super Tuesday.
It’s that word: Momentum. If Biden wins, say, 40 delegates, he’ll jump into the lead going into Super Tuesday, which will give him a decent chance to take states. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably be counted out of the race entirely. Sanders is the current delegate leader and not projected to win; if he doesn’t, or if he loses by a wide margin, it’ll cost him on Tuesday. Any other candidate who scores significantly will gain an edge going forward. Because unreasonable though it may be, about half of the voters prefer to vote for the eventual winner rather than the best candidate. Smartest; most capable; most honorable — doesn’t matter at all to them.
Yes, American voters are idiots. No argument. But what the hell; democracy beats fascism anyway.
Steyer took somewhere around 12%, which probably means no delegates; he’s bowing out of the race. Biden won with almost half the vote, which equates to a landslide in this contest. The Identitarians will be crowing, and I’m not sure they’re wrong. Maybe a lot of Democrats are racists after all. On the other hand, Yang says the Jim Clyburn endorsement had a huge impact, and Yang’s brilliant.
Don’t mind me; I’m just cranky Steyer didn’t win. He’s a good man.
For the moment, I’m not conquering the country. But only for the moment, dammit! Be worthy of my forbearance or face the consequences!
You’re reading this, which tells me you’re brighter than the average American moron out there. Not a high bar, really, but it’s something. Maybe you’re even smart enough to know why it’s better to have someone you can trust to tell you the truth about these things. If so, you really ought to kick in a few bucks; I can’t keep doing this without support.
If you’re Bloomberg, you’ll need to bribe me in order to even mention you. Which I will; I’ll say, “Bloomberg paid me to say this.” I might go so far as to not call you a schmuck. Value for money, mate; nothing for nothing.