Did Republicans Help Drive Dem Voters to SC Polls for Joe Biden?

Former Vice President Joe Biden overwhelmingly won South Carolina’s Democratic primary Saturday. That presented a question….

Virginia is an open primary state, and Republicans are particularly touchy about the possibility of Democrats crossing over into GOP primaries. So it came as a surprise to hear there was a campaign in South Carolina by Republicans who had on-air ads urging Republicans to  vote for Bernie Sanders, presumably wanting him as the Democratic candidate against President Donald Trump. Even the president himself urged Republican voters to cross over into the Democratic primary to vote for Sanders.

Exit polls showed five percent of voters were, indeed, Republicans, so here’s a question: In their zealousness to influence the end results, did Republicans actually end up energizing Democrats so that they turned out in even higher numbers?

The reason I ask is because news networks, as soon as the SC polls closed Saturday night at 7:00, projected an overwhelming win for Joe Biden which was apparently not the result Republicans wanted to hear. South Carolina, however, was indeed the firewall the Biden campaign expected and needed and, for all we know, that win could have been in the making no matter what Republicans did.

The final results with 100 percent of precincts reporting: Joe Biden won with 48.4 percent (255,662 votes) while Sanders came in next with 19.8 percent.

Nate Cohn with the New York Times wrote, “We’re over the 500,000 voter mark in South Carolina, which easily makes this the largest increase in turnout of any early state, at least in raw numbers.”

Biden swept every county in SC, and has now been declared by some as the only Democrat who can stop Bernie Sanders. The delegate count at this point is Sanders with 57 and Biden with 53.

From the Washington Post:

Around 528,000 South Carolinians turned out in the 2020 Democratic primary, a remarkable show of voter engagement compared to four years ago. Former vice president Joe Biden ran up his totals in black communities but also won areas dominated by groups he has struggled to connect with, notably white and higher income voters. These areas showed some of the largest turnout increases in the state.

According to exit polling, Biden won 61 percent of black voters. These voters made up more than half of the electorate, and they were easily the most important block for his victory. However, a precinct-level analysis by The Post shows that while statewide turnout increased by about 40 percent over 2016, the parts of the state that saw the largest spikes were the most white and upper income.

Bottom line: perhaps we should just let each party participate in its own primary.

Saturday night saw candidate Tom Steyer drop out of the race, and by Sunday evening Mayor Pete Buttigieg had dropped out.

Super Tuesday is this week and includes Virginia where CNU Wason Center for Public Policy’s poll has Joe Biden in the lead.

*Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh urged Republicans to crash the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and vote for Barack Obama, believing him to be the easier candidate for the GOP to defeat in the general election. Obama won not only the Democratic nomination but also went on to serve two terms as POTUS.

Screen shot from MSNBC (February 29, 2020)

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