SC politics looks extra weird from the outside

No matter how many times it happens, I always have this odd feeling of disconnection, of unreality, when I see how SC politics looks from the outside.

For instance, this game, which invites you to drag important endorsers down to the presidential candidates you think they’ll endorse… and then look back in the coming weeks and see how you did.

Aside from the SC angle, it’s an odd game. Think about it. Who, beyond political professionals (and few, if any, of them), has enough knowledge of who the key endorsers are in key states even are, much less know enough about them to divine, or even come close to divining, whom they will support?

And then there’s the really weird part. The part where there are people who are actual candidates for President of the United States who might be sitting up nights waiting to see whether Nikki Haley will confer her endorsement upon them.

Which doubles back and reinforces my first point. As a guy who has observed SC politics up close and personal for longer than some of the younger professional observers have been alive, I can’t swear that I know what sort of influence Nikki’s endorsement would have. That’s a tough thing to read. But I’m sure that among the greater primary electorate it’s greater than what it would be among political insiders. So it makes sense for her to be on this chart.

But it still feels weird. Nikki Haley? The one who until so recently was a relatively isolated back-bencher in the SC House, and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as governor? An influencer as to who will be the most powerful person in the world?


8 thoughts on “SC politics looks extra weird from the outside

  1. Brad

    Who did you say Ovide Lamontagne would endorse?

    No, really. That’s one of the names on the game. And going by the picture, it’s a guy.

    If you had just showed me that name and forced me to guess, I’d have said it was the stage name of a burlesque performer, from way before I was born…

  2. Phillip

    I started to say that Nikki will only be “an influencer as to who will be the most powerful person in the world” if she endorses Romney or Huntsman, the only two GOP candidates who have any chance of winning the general election. But of course I’m forgetting that if her endorsement pushes somebody else (Gingrich, say) over the top here in SC on his way to a nomination, then she would still have had an influence, that is to say she would play a role in the re-election of the President.

  3. `Kathryn Fenner

    Nikki Haley was the recent choice of a majority of Republican voters. A majority of Republican voters will choose the winner of the primary. Of course, there’s some slippage there, but it doesn’t take too much of a logical leap to see that Nikki would have significant influence.

    Of course, you would not be swayed by anyone’s endorsement, Brad, but then again you wouldn’t vote for Nikki Haley under ordinary election circumstances (okay, Nikki vs. Hitler/Ghaddafi/Saddam: advantage-Nikki–but I’m having a hard time coming up with living opponents you’d prefer Nikki over)/////

  4. Juan Caruso

    Juan Caruso does not endorse quotas.

    In this era of hypersensitivity to artificially subjective “political correctness” it may just be worth noting the obvious here.

    Of the given endorsers (total 42):
    2 are black (<5%)
    6 are women (~14%)
    5 are latinos (including 3 males and 1 female) (12%)

    Ratios of endorsers neither approximate SC demographics, otherwise explain, nor rationalize significant influence by any of the potential spokespersons.

    Obviously, either expectations of ethic and gender influence upon SC's primary voters has been deemed marginal, or political correctness has been deemed bogus.

    In either case, the guessing game appears totally as irrelevant to SC as it must to the majority of other states.

    Note: Mr. Cillizza was born and raised in Marlborough, Connecticut and he resides in Falls Church, Virginia. While Cillizza is indisputably a SC "outsider" and his endorser guessing matrix may be somewhat entertaining, it says no more about residents of SC than it would about SD, etc.

  5. Cotton Boll Conspiracy


    I’ll give you that Nikki would beat Hitler/Ghaddafi/Saddam, but it wouldn’t be as easy as some would think.

    Sure, she’d crush Hitler, and most likely beat Saddam by close to double-digits, but I think it would take a runoff for her to top Ghaddafi.

    And if you throw in Idi Amin or Pol Pot, it’s a toss up.

  6. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Cotton Boll [snicker]

    @ Juan Caruso — do you really believe that the demographic profile of the endorsers matters in the mostly white SC GOP?

  7. Juan Caruso

    @ Kathryn Fenner –
    Juan Caruso does not endorse quotas. However, you may certainly believe Lindsey Graham is going to endorse Romney shortly before or within months after SC’s primary.

    What demographic profile(s) will Graham’s endorsement satisfy in S.C.? For instance, will Alvin Greene run against Lindsey next time? – Certainly not.

    Will most female voters support Lindsey? Will most SC’s lawyers support Lindsey? Heck, Lindsey might even get Obama’s endorsement in a tight enough race.

    There you have it. Those least likely to support Lindsey next time are precisely the white males of the mostly white SC GOP. Go figure.

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