Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic primary provided a much-needed win for former Vice President Joe Biden, who easily defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and appears to be gaining steam with Super Tuesday on the horizon March 3.
But there’s a very real possibility that a somewhat hidden number from the South Carolina primary could spell doom for incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is seeking reelection to the U.S. Senate.
The number in question is turnout, which appears to be headed for a record, according to Vox:
“With 94 percent of precincts reporting, and the final 6 percent nearly finished with their tallies, South Carolina’s Election Commission has found 524,000 voters cast ballots in Saturday’s primary.
“That total would appear to put the state on track to nearly match — or perhaps surpass — the turnout record set during Barack Obama’s first presidential race in 2008, when 532,000 voters participated, according to pollster and political analyst John Couvillon.”
Turnout was even high in largely Republican counties, which led Graham’s Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, to suggest that Senator Graham must be having nightmares right about now.
Appearing on MSNBC Sunday, Harrison told host Joy Reid:
“But the thing that really surprised me, Joy, was the turnout numbers here in South Carolina. We almost eclipsed — we’ll get the final word maybe today or tomorrow — the historic turnout we saw in the 2008 election with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. I never thought we would get that close, we far surpassed what we saw in 2016.”
Harrison also referenced the turnout in in traditionally Republican counties, which could signal that Graham is doomed if the same holds true come November:
“The person who should be — probably had nightmares last night — is Lindsey Graham because the turnout, particularly in some of these traditionally Republican counties was unbelievable. It says to me that this new south is emerging and as I’ve been saying so much, South Carolina is going to be the tip of the spear.”
A new South, indeed. Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, are all leaning purple, and over the course of the next 5-10 years will likely be blue and solidly in the Democratic column. When that happens, the Republican Party will be relegated to permanent minority status, unable to get a majority in the House or Senate, and shut out of the White House, too.
While it’s too early to celebrate just yet, it’s certainly fun to imagine a Senate without the likes of Lindsey Graham, isn’t it?