by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
That’s how editors of the Washington Examiner describe this weekend’s vote from South Carolina Democrats. That state’s presidential primary voters don’t seem thrilled about embracing full-fledged socialism.
Heading into South Carolina, it appeared that Democrats were taking the express train to socialism. Sen. Bernie Sanders arguably won the chaotic Iowa caucuses, then went on to a solid victory in New Hampshire, and a crushing triumph in Nevada. As the race went toward the Palmetto State, there was talk that Sanders might be able to deliver a “kill shot.” Instead, Joe Biden revived his candidacy with a dominant win, fueled by black voters who tend to be more pragmatic than the pro-revolution wing of the party.
A day after winning Nevada, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Sanders in which he dug in on his decades of defenses of the propagandist “literacy programs” of communist Cuba. He later did so again at the Democratic debate in South Carolina.
Biden hammered Sanders on his soft spot for communist dictators. After providing a pivotal endorsement of Biden, Rep. Jim Clyburn warned that nominating a socialist would cause “down-ballot carnage” for Democrats in November. In the debate, Sanders also drew scrutiny for his inability to explain how he would pay for tens of trillions of new spending, particularly his sweeping healthcare plan.
In the end, Biden’s win was so huge that the race was called just after the voting ended, and exit polls showed the extent to which the electorate shied away from the Sanders message.
One of the overarching debates in the Democratic primary has been over whether the party should pursue more incremental changes that build on the legacy of Barack Obama or move in a much more radical direction. South Carolina Democrats were emphatic in their answer.