mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Can Marco Rubio Win Anywhere?”: Trump’s Landslide Victory In South Carolina Is A Waking Nightmare For The Republican Party

By winning the South Carolina primary, Donald Trump demonstrated he can win anywhere.

By coming in second place, well behind Trump and barely (about 1,000 votes with 99 percent reporting) ahead of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio demonstrated he will have a hard time winning anywhere.

Rubio, and basically the entire Republican Party establishment, marched into South Carolina determined to play up an expected third-place finish as a kind of triumph and a second-place finish as outright victory. Before any networks had called second place, Rubio delivered an exultant speech promising to win the GOP nomination.

There are reasons to credit this as more than just amusingly strained political vaudeville. By breaking out of the pack of also-rans, Rubio forced Jeb Bush out of the race. If he hoovers up nearly all of Bush’s supporters, he stands to eclipse Cruz as the de facto leader of the non-Trump faction of the race. If John Kasich follows suit, after finishing below even Bush in South Carolina, Cruz may slip to a distant third. Viewed in that light, Rubio’s performance in South Carolina might genuinely and enduringly change the race.

But this also is the most charitable way to interpret Rubio’s distant second-place finish. Not because these are outlandish assumptions—they aren’t. It’s just that even if everything goes according to plan, Rubio will have proved fairly little in South Carolina.

By inundating Rubio’s campaign with endorsements and money, Republican Party officials have effectively communicated that they’ll attempt to thwart the will of the majority of GOP primary voters who support Trump and Cruz. And yet, despite all of that juice—and as badly as Cruz underperformed—Rubio can’t count on Cruz fading rapidly. He definitely can’t seem to come within spitting distance of Trump anywhere. And on top of all that, he’s yet to endure a concerted Trump onslaught the way Cruz has, and Bush did—and both those candidates were harmed badly.

Though the South Carolina returns drove Bush from the race, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that his supporters will overwhelmingly defect to Rubio. One of the most critical lessons of Iowa and New Hampshire is that Trump draws his support from across the party, including its mainstream. Many Bush supporters will presumably also defect to Kasich, who essentially skipped South Carolina and is pinning his ever-dim hopes on Northern primaries in Michigan and his home state of Ohio in March. Ben Carson’s supporters will likewise scatter, rather than defect to a single candidate in unison (though Cruz stands to be the single largest beneficiary).

Notwithstanding all these inconvenient truths, Rubio will emerge from South Carolina a party favorite and a media darling.

The person with the most to fear from the results is Cruz. South Carolina was supposed to serve as a model for the Super Tuesday states he needs to win—and with the evangelical turnout as overwhelming as it was, he should’ve been able to do better than a dead heat for second, double digits behind Trump.

Had Rubio finished third—ideally a distant third—Cruz could have credibly continued portraying the primary as a two-man race between himself and Trump. But Trump is a popular favorite, and Rubio is an elite favorite. Cruz enjoy neither of those advantages. To the extent that he thrives, it is thanks to the loyalty of conservative ideologues and Christian conservatives (many of whom, again, are still supporting Carson, Rubio, and Trump). If their affinity for Cruz isn’t robust enough to reliably outperform Rubio, his supporters will begin to question the logic of his candidacy. A fading Cruz would have little room to expand his appeal beyond right-wing purists (his concession speech tonight once again played up his “consistent conservative” bona fides), and his campaign would serve barely any purpose other than to deny Rubio a chance to challenge Trump one-on-one.

As time goes on, though, all the effort we expend examining the race for second place so granularly starts to seem like whistling past the graveyard. Trump probably could’ve won Iowa, and arguably should have. He won New Hampshire overwhelmingly. He just won South Carolina overwhelmingly, too, and is poised to do the same thing in Nevada’s caucuses on Tuesday night. This is a waking nightmare for the Republican Party. Their played-up enthusiasm for Rubio can’t disguise it.

 

By: Brian Beutler, The New Republic, February 20, 2016

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Marco Rubio, South Carolina, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Cruz, Trump Pray Each Other Away In SC”: There Isn’t A Whole Lot Of Love-Thy-Neighbor Going On

Mike Lee wants you to know that Ted Cruz prays a lot.

The Utah Republican senator told a packed room at a barbecue joint in Easley, S.C., that in Washington, when “all the powers in the world” seem to have turned against people who believe in liberty, freedom, and Jesus Christ, Cruz is always there.

“In those moments, Ted is among the first to suggest we pray together,” he said.

In the final days before Palmetto Staters decide who will win their long-coveted support, the timbre of the race here has taken a distinctly Bible-Belt tone. Instead of speaking to pragmatic New England sentiment and detailing how he plans to win in November, the Texan is explicitly appealing to South Carolinians’ Protestant Evangelical sensibilities.

And Donald Trump, in his own very special way, is making a similar pitch.

But between their supporters on the ground, there isn’t a whole lot of love-thy-neighbor going on.

When asked at the barbecue place about tension between their supporters, Easley resident and staunch Cruz backer Scott Watkins chuckled.

“You mean other than the fistfights?” he said, grinning.

Emotions are particularly frayed in a small-ish region of the densely Evangelical state called the Upcountry, which has become ground zero of the Trump/Cruz Battle Royale. It’s where the pair—and their very passionate supporters—are waging a holy war of Old Testament proportions.

And as is the case with any war, geography matters. The northwest corner of the state is overshadowed by the Appalachian Mountains, and what it lacks in glitz (think Charleston) or policy-making clout (that would be Columbia, smack-dab in the center), it makes up for in religious faith and conservative single-mindedness. About 40 percent of the state’s Republican primary voters live in this Appalachian region, and their support helped save George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush’s then-flagging presidential bids. The forces that dominate Upcountry politics are also ones that outsiders find totally perplexing—and none less so than Bob Jones University. The school has just 3,000 students—one-third of whom were homeschooled—and it’s so conservative that they aren’t allowed to watch any movies above a G rating without a faculty member present (seriously). It’s also a popular pilgrimage location for Republican presidential contenders, since the school’s community is highly organized and politically active.

So while Lee was focused on praying, and Watkins joked about fistfights, others cast the disagreements in more ominous tones. Joanne Meadows, former president of the Greenville County Republican Party, said conflict over whether to back Cruz or Trump had strained some families.

“There are a lot of houses that have been divided,” she said soberly. “There’s a lot of emotion in this.”

She added that she’s backed Cruz since meeting him at a Republican Party dessert social, and that she’s had some very involved debates about her pick with skeptical neighbors.

In this part of the state, though, it isn’t just a question of neighbors sniping at each other over glasses of iced tea. Cruz’s foes have gone after him in labor-intensive ways. Dan Tripp, South Carolina state director for the pro-Cruz Keep the Promise super PAC, emailed over pictures of numerous large Cruz road signs with smaller “TRUMP MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” signs stapled all over them. One sign had the words “CHEAT,” “FUCK,” and “CHEATER” scrawled on it in orange spray paint.

Tripp estimated that upwards of one-third of the super PAC’s large pro-Cruz highway signs had been stolen or defaced. Even in an ugly South Carolina presidential primary, he added, that’s a lot.

Trump’s messaging to Evangelicals focuses less on his personal faith and more on Cruz’s alleged lack thereof; the mogul has spent the past few weeks questioning the Texan’s devotion to Christianity.

“How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?” he tweeted last week.

There’s a reason Trump singles out Evangelicals; South Carolina is one of the least Catholic states in the nation —2010 data shows only Mississippi and Tennessee have a smaller percentage of Catholics—and Evangelicals made up 65 percent of 2012’s Republican primary voters.

And it could be a winning strategy.

“There are Evangelicals that are extremely skeptical of any politician who tells them exactly what they want to hear, appearing to be too perfect in their philosophy and faith,” said Robert Cahaly, an Atlanta-based consultant who does work in South Carolina.

“As Carson, Trump, Rubio, and the media continue pointing to examples of tactics and actions which are inconsistent with Cruz’s carefully crafted persona, they actually erode the fundamental essence of his support,” he added.

Thus far, it’s working out. Recent CNN and PPP polls show Trump is leading among Palmetto State Evangelicals.

That may be why churches are now battlegrounds. The South Carolina politics blog FitsNews posted pictures of fliers that reportedly blanketed Upstate churches on Wednesday evening (when many host Bible studies and mid-week services). Churchgoers returning to their cars found fliers under their windshields highlighting recent reports that Cruz doesn’t tithe very much.

“Canadian-born Ted Cruz may not even be eligible to be president,” read one flier, next to a picture of the Texan with a Pinocchio nose. “Has a habitually habit of lying and spreading falsehoods on the campaign trail, all while waving a Bible around, taking selfies of himself praying and even signing autographs in the Lord’s House.”

Cruz’s explicitly religious pitch brings its own risks. And if those attacks work and Cruz loses badly in South Carolina, he may have trouble resurrecting his campaign elsewhere.

“If Trump wins South Carolina by double digits in spite of Scalia’s death and the renewed emphasis on the need for a conservative Supreme Court, it calls into serious question Cruz’s ability to rally evangelical voters—the lynchpin of his base,” emailed Robert Jeffress, a pastor from Dallas who has opened several Trump events in prayer but hasn’t endorsed.

That said, Cruz’s backers believe God is on their side. Maryanna Tygart, a retired nurse, traveled from her home in Indiana to South Carolina to volunteer here for Cruz.

“It was so crowded this morning, I tell you what, I was almost in tears,” she said as she waited to get her picture with him at a Republican Women’s Club event in Greenville. “We didn’t even have room big enough or enough phones for people to work, and there were so many people going out door-to-door and canvassing—and it was like, yes! Praise the Lord.”

 

By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, February 19, 2016

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Evangelicals, South Carolina, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Heading To The Hall Of Shame?”: Jeb Goes South, Perhaps In More Ways Than One

So after a meh performance in the CNN debate, and with Matt Bai telling the whole world the Establishment’s on the edge of dumping him, the Great White Hope of the donor class and the political science community (just teasing you, just teasing you!) heads South, where he hopes to compete in some key primaries unless he finishes fifth in New Hampshire and has to join Phil Gramm in the Hall of Shame for presidential candidates with a whole lot more money than votes.

Today Jeb’s joining nine other candidates (overshadowed once again by Donald Trump, who canceled his appearance supposedly because he needs to go close a deal somewhere, though some suspect he wants to avoid questioning on the little Islamaphobia event that occurred at one of his rallies yesterday) in South Carolina this afternoon at a forum hosted by Heritage Action, the influential right-wing enforcer and adjunct to the Heritage Foundation. I’m assuming the event is in the Palmetto State partially because it’s an early primary state but mostly as a tribute to Heritage president Jim DeMint, who is co-hosting the forum with Nikki Haley. Since he didn’t get around to it on Wednesday night, you’d guess Scott Walker will finally talk about his new Power to the People union-busting initiative in the world’s most congenial venue maybe this side of Beijing.

Tomorrow Jeb traverses the 95 miles from Greenville, SC to Athens, GA to take in the Georgia-South Carolina football game–a game I was once planning to attend in person, but now that I’m not, I’m happy I won’t have to deal with the extra traffic his security detail will create.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein offers Team Jeb some advice on getting through this game without offending too many people, a process that’s made trickier by the fact that he was Governor of Florida for some of the many years that current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was tormenting the Georgia Bulldogs from his perch at the University of Florida.

Jeb Bush will have to walk a thin line when he heads to Athens on Saturday to campaign before the annual gridiron matchup between Georgia and South Carolina. And just who the former Florida governor will root for may be one of the tougher questions he gets.

Will he don the red and black of the Georgia faithful? Will he sport a shiny visor, the favored headgear of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier? Or will he fall somewhere in between, perhaps favoring a nice neutral shade of gray?

South Carolina is an early-voting state that Bush has crisscrossed trying to curry favor. But he’s also visited Georgia a half-dozen or so times in the past year — downing a Frosted Orange at the Varsity and hanging out with Ludacris under the Gold Dome — ahead of this state’s March 1 primary.

Local Republicans gave Bush some more advice:

Bush, a University of Texas graduate, will most likely try to appeal to both sides. If he goes that route, Republican strategist Brian Robinson came up with a handy list of how he can appeal to UGA’s Republicans without offending fans of South Carolina or his home base of Florida.

Among them: Point out that UGA has a tight end named Jeb, highlight the power of the Southeastern Conference and offer Georgia standout Nick Chubb a chance to be his Polk County campaign chairman.

As to what not to say, Robinson also had some ideas:

* I used to golf with Steve Spurrier when he was coach at Florida. Great guy.

* There’s too much inbreeding in the Uga line.”

* Sir, I think you’ve had enough to drink.”

Yuk Yuk.

I don’t know if Bush is going to be introduced to the 92,000 fans attending the game, but even in Georgia, I doubt he’ll get the reception gained by a political celebrity at a game I witnessed way back in the day. It was Prince Charles (before his marriage to Diana), who came out on the field at half-time, with the Georgia faithful dutifully chanting: “Damn Good Prince! Damn Good Prince!”

Good times.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, September 18, 2015

September 20, 2015 Posted by | Georgia, GOP Primaries, Jeb Bush, South Carolina | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Confederate Flag Treated Like Fallen Hero”: Many Still Miss The Point Of What The Confederacy Stood For

In June, the South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guard carried the mortal remains of the murdered Sen. Clementa Pinckney up the State House steps and into the rotunda.

Members of the honor guard flanked the open coffin, spit polished and erect, eyes straight ahead in a silent show of respect as thousands of mourners filed past. A black cloth had been draped over one of the windows to spare anyone who might be offended by the Confederate battle flag flying out front.

A bill called the Heritage Act passed in this very building prevented the flag from being lowered even to half-staff, much less taken down without a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

But on Thursday, the legislature voted to do just that and set a 24-hour deadline on having it done.

On Friday, the honor guard returned, this time to lower the Confederate battle flag, which had been designed by William Porcher Miles, a onetime mayor of Charleston who had been a prominent “fire-eater,” as the most ardent proponents of slavery and secession leading up to the Civil War were called.

The honor guard had performed countless other ceremonies, but this one was a little different. And they had not been given much time to work out exactly how it should go.

The flag was being taken down in the first place because it was seen by many people—African-Americans in particular—as a hateful symbol of slavery and oppression. Some rightly view it as a shameful banner of treason.

But it had been hoisted there in the first place because it is viewed by others—none of them African-Americans—as a symbol of an idealized heritage and history.

And the very fact that the honor guard had been chosen to lower it was an implicit nod to those people.

At the appointed time on Friday morning, the guard went about lowering the flag with the same ritualistic respect as it would with the Stars and Stripes.

Two of the officers took the lowered banner in their white gloved hands.

And for a moment, it seemed as if they might fold it as they would an American flag that had covered the coffin of a fellow cop or a U.S. solider who had made the supreme sacrifice.

Instead, they rolled it, presumably an echo of the way Confederate regiments furled their battle flags in surrender at the end of the Civil War.

A black sergeant was the one who then took the furled banner. He had done this at American flag ceremonies where race was not issue, but it was hard to believe that he had been chosen by chance in this instance.

He seemed to be an attempt to compensate for the bigotry associated with what he now carried so solemnly over to the State House steps. The director of the South Carolina Relic Room and Military Museum waited to receive it.

For a second, truly terrible moment, the ritual was too much like that performed when the flag from a hero’s coffin is presented to a grieving loved one along with the words, “On behalf of a grateful nation.…”

Thankfully, the sergeant uttered not a word. The director, Allen Roberson, was also silent as he took the furled flag.

“Nothing was said,” Roberson later told The Daily Beast. “I felt like that was appropriate.”

Roberson was escorted up into the State House.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t trip when I was carrying the flag,” he recalled.

He then descended to the basement, where an armored car was waiting to transport the flag to the museum.

Upon arriving, Roberson brought the flag in through a back door. The flag was unrolled, smoothed and carefully folded.

“So it wouldn’t crease,” Roberson said.

The museum’s registrar, Rachel Cockrell, and an intern named John Faulkenberry placed it in an “acid-free textile storage box, padded with acid-free tissue.” The box was stored in the museum’s “secure, climate-controlled Artifact Storage area.”

“Locked and alarmed,” Roberson said.

Roberson dismissed as not entirely accurate reports that there had been a tacit agreement as part of a legislative compromise to store the flag in a multimillion-dollar facility funded by the taxpayers—which would include, necessarily, the descendants of slaves.

He allowed that there had been some brainstorming with various architects and planners, but nothing had been decided and whatever was ultimately done would not likely be so grand.

He noted that he has not been able to get added funding for anything in recent years.

“Our budget has not increased at all,” he said.

Back at the State House, the flagpole where the banner had flown was now bare, but a monument to the Confederate dead remained. The inscription on the north side reads:

“This monument
perpetuates the memory,
of those who
true to the instincts of their birth,
faithful to the teachings of their fathers,
constant in their love for the State,
died in the performance of their duty:
Who
have glorified a fallen cause
by the simple manhood of their lives,
the patient endurance of suffering,
and the heroism of death,
and who,
in the dark house of imprisonment,
in the hopelessness of the hospital,
in the short, sharp agony of the field
found support and consolation
in the belief
that at home they would not be forgotten.
Unveiled May 13, 1879”

The fallen cause they glorified included sedition and slavery. The people at home included slaves who had suffered horrors that outdid even war.

There is also an inscription on the north side:

“Let the stranger,
who may in the future times
read this inscription,
recognize that these were men
whom power could not corrupt,
whom death could not terrify,
whom defeat could not dishonor
and let their virtues plead
for just judgment
of the cause in which they perished.
Let the South Carolinian
of another generation
remember
that the State taught them
how to live and how to die.
And that from her broken fortunes
she has preserved for her children
the priceless treasure of their memories,
teaching all who may claim
the same birthright
that truth, courage and patriotism
endure forever.”

The truth is they died fighting to deny fellow human beings the right to life and liberty. Their legacy is racism and hate.

The flowery falsehoods on the monument remain, now that the flag has been taken down in somber ceremony with white gloved hands and tucked safely away by a very nice museum director in an acid-free box, locked and alarmed.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, July 11, 2015

July 12, 2015 Posted by | Confederate Flag, Slavery, South Carolina | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Inevitable Unhinged Danger And Terror”: Coming Next To The South Carolina Statehouse Grounds; The Klan

On July 18, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan—“The Largest Klan in America!” according to the group’s website—are holding a rally on the South Carolina statehouse grounds to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag.

The group is protesting “the Confederate flag being took down for all the wrong reasons,” says James Spears, the Great Titan of the Pelham, North Carolina chapter of the KKK. “It’s part of white people’s culture.” One does wonder what Spears thinks the right reasons would be.

Despite the KKK’s abhorrent beliefs, it has a right to assembly and hold a rally on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds because groups cannot be excluded because of their ideology, according to Brian Gaines of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, which oversees reservations.

Yet the KKK is not solely a group of white individuals in hooded cloaks who spew a vile ideology of hatred of African Americans and other non-whites (it’s pretty anti-Semitic, too). It is a group that has repeatedly inflicted physical terror for generations upon those it hates. The concern is not primarily its ideology of hatred and white supremacy, but the fascist terrorism it inflicts upon those it despises.

As an African-American male I have learned to accept that some people just will not like me or may judge me negatively because of the color of my skin. This is an unpleasant part of life. You cannot remove all the bigots and racists from the world. We all have an equal right to live, but what must always be considered unacceptable is inflicting physical violence and terror upon those you hate.

The KKK is far more than a hate group, and its racist propaganda extends beyond hate speech and into what is known as dangerous speech—a form of hate speech that clearly seeks or at least has the clear potential to incite violence.

Susan Beseech, the director of the Dangerous Speech Project, in her paper, “Countering Dangerous Speech: New Ideas of Genocide Prevention,” (PDF) writes that “by teaching people to view other human beings as less than human and as mortal threats, thought leaders can make atrocities seem acceptable—and even necessary, as a form of collective self-defense.”

When Spears was asked about his thoughts on Dylann Roof’s terrorist attack on Emanuel AME Church that killed nine African-American worshipers, he said, “I feel sorry for the boy because of his age and I think he picked the wrong target. A better target for him would have been these gang-bangers, running around rapping, raping, and stealing.”

According to Spears, the problem was not the killing of African Americans, but Roof’s decision to kill African Americans in a way that would draw so much unwanted attention. Roof could have easily chosen to kill black “gang-bangers” and much of this hassle could have been avoided, according to a Great Titan of the KKK.

And before Roof began his killing spree he said to one of his victims, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.”

There should be no ambiguity that Roof and the KKK not only use a dehumanizing hate speech that presents African Americans as mortal threats to “white culture,” but also feel justified in using force to create terror within the black community.

The danger posed by this ilk is more than theoretical or emotional.

Internationally, the discussion regarding dangerous speech and possible legislative applications has progressed much further than in America. The catalyst for the conversational shift from loathing but allowing hate speech to exploring ways to prevent dangerous speech has begun due to acknowledgement of the impacts of leaders of mass social movements in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and other mass atrocities disseminating ideologies of hatred to spur their followers to act, cow bystanders into passivity, and justify their crimes.

In America, the KKK is the embodiment of this threat. Yet disturbingly, the group’s continuing presence in our society, and its primary targets of abuse—African Americans, who have historically been legally dehumanized by the state—results in America being less alarmed by the Klan’s presence despite knowing about the terror it and like-minded individuals inflict.

According to a recent report (PDF) by Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative, 3,960 African Americans were lynched from 1877 to 1950 in 12 states, all in the South. Additionally, despite the magnitude of this report it would be incredibly difficult to record all the other killings and injuries that the KKK and other racist gangs have inflicted upon African Americans. The numbers reach into the hundreds of thousands by most estimates.

To many Americans, the KKK seems to be a relic of the past, but a reduction in terror is not a removal of danger. In April, three Florida Klansmen were arrested for plotting to kill an African American man. And since the Charleston shooting on June 17, African-American churches have been set ablaze at a rate reminiscent of the 1960s and prior. None of these has specifically been connected to the Klan, but Klansmen and church-torchers slink out of the same fetid swamps.

In response to the race-driven attacks inflicted upon African Americans, some people feel inclined to deflect blame or present non-sequitur statistics such as crime in black communities to downplay the impact of these actions, while also dehumanizing black Americans.

This perpetuates a vicious cycle of abuse toward black Americans, as the rest of society finds illogical justifications for ignoring terrorism.

Eventually, as a society we will have to accept that black lives matter even if that results in a dismantling of notions of white supremacy. Anything else is a tacit endorsement of a society that condones dehumanizing propaganda and the inevitable unhinged danger and terror that will befall certain segments of society.

In less than a month, the largest chapter of the KKK will hold a rally on government property to express its disapproval of the removal of a flag that represented a treasonous American faction. To many Americans the rally will represent bigotry, racism, and hatred that we would like to move beyond. To African Americans it will represent a continued terror that condones and encourages the killing and maiming of black life, the burning of black churches, and various other forms of intimidation.

An unwillingness to recognize this danger and explore solutions can no longer be the status quo of American society.

 

By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | African Americans, Ku Klux Klan, South Carolina | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: