Monday, February 02, 2004

South Carolina Primary

Some thoughts I sent to the Talking Dog:
I'm in a university town in South Carolina, and mostly what I hear is people trying to figure out who can beat Bush. I have an African-American friend, very liberal, who says she is going to vote for Clark for that reason. The trouble is, there is no general agreement about who can beat Bush; people argue for Kerry, Clark, Edwards, and even Dean. I wouldn't be shocked if Kerry won the primary here, because of the poll that said he was the only one who can beat Bush. Fear of liberals is much less prominent than usual (besides, all the conservative Democrats have already become Republicans). I have heard that Sharpton is giving inspiring speeches, but my guess is that most people are more concerned about beating Bush than about making a statement. Education here is really hurting here, mostly because of state and local tax cuts and budget woes, but I haven't heard many people talking about that or any other specific issue.

One wrinkle is that South Carolina does not have party registration, so non-Democrats can vote. In fact, Republicans can vote in the Democratic primary now and still vote in the Republican primary for Senate in June. The "Loyalty Oath" has been dropped. Crossover has been a concern in previous primaries but has never turned out to be a big issue. I thought of voting for McCain in the Republican primary the last time around but I couldn't bear the thought of pretending to be a Republican, particularly since I always see neighbors at the polling place.

Another wrinkle is that there are projections that 40 to 50 percent of the voters will be African-Americans. Kerry is hoping that Clyburn's endorsement will be influential.

Polls are here, but I don't think they mean much.

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