Trump Roiling South Carolina GOP Primaries
With the exception of a huge Democratic carve-out for Jim Clyburn, South Carolina in a predominantly red state. The state PVI is R+8 and Clyburn's district, which twists and turns to encompass as many African-American voters as humanly possible, is D+17. Trump won the state 1,385,103 (55.1%) to 1,091,541 (43.4%). Biden won Clyburn's district 67.0% to 31.8%. So, politically, the state tends to be kind of sleepy. Republicans win. All the statewide offices are held by Republicans and the legislature is overwhelmingly Republican are well. The state House has 81 Republicans and just 43 Dems. The state Senate has 30 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
This year, though, Trump is stirring the shit and South Carolina could be much less sleepy than usual. Trump and his allies have two incumbents in his sites, Nancy Mace-- who is more in Marjorie Traitor Greene's sites than in Trump's but he's on board with taking her down and has already urged Republicans to vote for someone else. The PVI of that district is R+7 but it has been known to swing a little. SC-07, Tom Rice's district in the northwest of the state is much redder-- PVI is R+11-- and it does not swing; it's solid red. Rice, however, voted to impeach Trump and he is definitely on the Trumpanzee priority list. There are a dozen Republicans who are in the GOP primary.
Trump was just given an added impetus to try to defeat Rice. Politico reporter Olivia Beavers had the exclusive yesterday, Rice telling her that he regrets not his vote to impeach Trump but his vote against certifying the election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania. She wrote that "among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump over the insurrection, Rice is the only one who voted for certification challenges to Biden's win-- and he now says he regrets casting those votes. Rice's contrition comes from Trump's failure to intervene when a mob of his own supporters stormed the Capitol in order to try to stop the certification."
“In retrospect I should have voted to certify,” Rice told Politico. “Because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.”
“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify. But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word. So yeah, I regret my vote to object.”
Rice argued the outgoing president watched “with pride” from the safety of the White House and “did nothing to stop it”-- despite pleas from Trump's friends and family-- as Capitol Police were beaten for hours, the House was “sacked and defaced" and Vice President Mike Pence and his family fled for their lives. The result, Rice noted, was five dead and hundreds injured.
“There was a coward in that equation," Rice said. "But it wasn’t Mike Pence."
The majority of Rice’s House Republican colleagues voted not to certify Biden’s win after the bloody Capitol siege. And while Rice is the first to say he regrets this vote, it's unlikely that a wave of other GOP lawmakers will follow Rice in acknowledging their regret. Rather, many are still trumpeting Trump's baseless claims of a stolen election.
While Rice's impeachment vote has led him to be cast as a centrist, his record and persona tells otherwise. He touts how he voted with Trump 94 percent of the time. He argues that supporting impeachment was the conservative thing to do. And that is the message he is trying to impress upon voters as he seeks reelection in a red state where Trump still holds a lot of influence.
I always tell my politician friends that the way to win big is to advocate coming down really heavily on companies that perpetrate robocalls. Most people hate them and it seems like nothing is ever done to stop them. Although my own preference would be televised firing squads for the CEOs of the companies, last week Rice introduced a bill, the Anti-Spoofing Penalties Modernization Act. doubling the penalties from $10,000 to $20,000 per violation and increasing the maximum penalty from $1 million to $2 million.
Rice: "Robocallers prey on elderly and innocent Americans with elaborate schemes to access financial information. The legislation I’ve introduced today will crack down on these scammers and ensure the penalties for illegal spoofing are just.” The scammers disguise their real phone numbers and can use technology to pretend to be government officials or businesses demanding money and sensitive information.
Susan Collins introduced a similar bill in the Senate which has 6 co-sonsores, all but one Democrats. It would be hilarious if this bill saves his seat.