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Trump wins South Carolina

Donald Trump, as expected, won South Carolina and the lion’s share of its Republican delegates. Where does Nikki Haley go now?

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President Donald J. Trump, to no one’s surprise, won the South Carolina Republican Primary yesterday. At the same time, his remaining competitor, Amb. Nikki Haley, admitted that she wishes only “to continue to be competitive.” How competitive she can call herself after yesterday’s performance, is an open question.

Trump gets many early calls

Promptly at 7:00 p.m., as polls closed, the Associated Press called the primary for President Trump.

One minute later, Interactive Polls reported that Decision Desk had also called the race for Trump.

Five minutes after close of polls, NewsMax made its call:

At the same time, Fox News’ Bret Baier suggested that Trump could win all 50 delegates at stake.

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As noted yesterday, South Carolina will send 50 delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Party was to award 29 of those delegates state-wide, and 3 delegates in each of the State’s congressional districts.

The Associated Press suggested that the former President aligns well with South Carolina Republicans on these three positions:

  • The Russia-Ukraine War is not Americans’ fight, and America should not involve herself in any way, shape or form.
  • Immigration, especially illegal immigration (and at such high levels), hurts the country.
  • The various civil and criminal cases against the former President arise from political motives, not any impartial pursuit of justice.

Moreover, more Trump supporters take an increasingly jaundiced view of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). (Not to mention the United Nations!)

Dividing the vote

Decision Desk was reporting, at 8:00 p.m., with 21% of precincts reporting State-wide, that Trump had 57.3% of the vote. Haley had 42.1%, with dropped-out candidates Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy dividing the rest among them.

At 4:06 p.m. today, with nearly all precincts reporting, the final tally is:

CandidateVotesPercent
Donald J. Trump451,90559.8%
Nikki Haley298,67439.5%
Ron DeSantis2,9510.4%
Vivek Ramaswamy7260.1%
Chris Christie6570.1%
Ryan Binkley5270.1%
David Stuckenberg3600.0%

The South Carolina Republican Party awarded 47 delegates to President Trump and 3 to Ambassador Haley. Presumably Haley won these in District One – Nancy Mace’s district. Haley carried only Beaufort, Charleston and Richland Counties; Trump carried all the rest. (Charleston and Beaufort Counties lie mostly in District One.) Currently Trump has 110 delegates, Haley, 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), 9, and Vivek Ramaswamy, 3. A candidate will need 1,215 delegates to win the nomination.

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Trump welcomes his latest victory

Trump gave his victory speech soon after the early calls came in.

NewsMax reported that the pressure on Nikki Haley to get out of the race was mounting while the early calls were sounding. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) suggested it was time for Haley to go.

I think the sooner she does, the better for her, the better for the party.

In fact, only one Republican since 1980 has lost the nomination after winning in South Carolina: Newt Gingrich in 2012.

Another account reminded everyone that Nikki Haley had hoped to get 43% of the vote.

Recall that with 21% of precincts reporting, she didn’t have that proportion. In the final talley, she didn’t even have 40%.

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Nikki Haley, obviously smarting from the repudiation this loss represents, continued her defiant posture.

That crack about “Soviet-style elections” didn’t go over very well, as anyone can well imagine. But the “Team Trump” account staff didn’t seem to care. Within one minute they shared their answer:

Apart from this contretemps, congratulations rolled in in short order, starting with Attorney General Kenneth Paxton (R-Texas).

And Gov. Henry McMaster (R-S.C.).

Analysis

The next delegate-awarding contest on the schedule is the Michigan Primary, at which the Republicans will award 16 delegates. But Michigan Republicans will award 39 more delegates in caucus this Saturday (March 2). Republicans will also hold caucuses in Idaho and Missouri that day, then a closed primary in Washington, D.C. on Sunday (March 3), and caucuses in North Dakota on Monday. Next after that is Super Tuesday, with:

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  • Dual primaries in thirteen States (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia),
  • The Alaska Republican Caucus (the Democrats will hold a primary in April),
  • A dual primary in American Samoa,
  • The Democratic Iowa Caucuses, which they will conduct by mail only, and
  • A Democratic Primary and Republican Caucus in Utah.

The earliest that Trump could clinch the nomination is March 12, with four Republican contests. To do that he would have to take the lion’s share of all delegates at stake that day and before.

By now, the only purpose Nikki Haley is serving is to earn a distant second number of delegates. Winning the nomination is becoming a longer shot with every contest. But activist Lauren Witzke made a darker suggestion early this morning:

What does Nikki Haley know, and when did she learn it? Stay tuned.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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