The Sweep: What We Learned Last Week
Donald Trump’s hold on GOP primary voters isn’t absolute, but plenty of candidates will see his endorsement as valuable.
Split Decision in South Carolina
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace won her primary in the state’s 1st Congressional District; GOP Rep. Tom Rice lost his in the 7th District. Trump endorsed both their challengers. So why the split? Like with any race, there’s a lot going on at the local level and anyone who tries to fit an outcome into a neatly defined narrative is fooling himself. But let’s tackle a few of them.
At the simplest level, Mace spoke out against Trump after January 6, but Rice actually voted to impeach him. I don’t doubt this had some impact. Mace worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but then she said on January 7 that Trump’s “entire legacy was wiped out,” but then she attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for “exaggerat[ing] this experience [to] take advantage and politicize it,” but then she voted to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, but then she filmed a campaign ad in front of Trump Tower. It’s hard to run a clean attack ad from the right against that, umm, mixed record.
“Multiple Republican lawmakers asked about her political positioning, speaking only on condition of anonymity, described Mace as a pendulum,” to Politico, “swinging toward then away from Trump, followed by an overcorrection when she realized the GOP base began to rally behind him again after Democrats impeached him for a second time over Jan. 6.”
But Mace won by 8 points while Rice lost by 27 points. Can the impeachment vote account for a 35-point swing?