My Take: South Carolina is epicenter of political world, for now - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

My Take: South Carolina is epicenter of political world, for now

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Iowa and New Hampshire are yesterday’s news.

The caucuses and the nation’s first primary have helped winnow the field for both Democrats and the GOP.

But with remaining candidates now focusing much of their attention on the first Southern primary here in the Palmetto State, they face a far different political landscape.

In South Carolina, Republicans have to tap into a large pro-military, strong defense community.

One with a track record of launching two men named Bush into the presidency.

Some, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz---will look for salvation from the 65 per cent of South Carolina GOP voters who describe themselves as evangelical or born-again.

Most significantly for Democrats Clinton and Sanders---an African-American constituency that generated 56 per cent of the party’s primary turnout in 2008.

After barely winning Iowa and her crushing defeat in New Hampshire, Secretary Clinton and her supporters have a desperate mission to motivate black voters here or her campaign may not be able to recover.

Since 1980, South Carolina has been a spot-on predictor of the eventual Republican nominee---with one glaring exception.

In 2012, GOP voters chose Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney, an outcome that may have had more to do with a breakout debate performance than a sudden desire by the party overall to buy into the former House Speaker’s agenda.

Still, some might see the Gingrich win as another example of South Carolina thumbing its nose at conventional political wisdom.

This is after all, a state with a lengthy history of contrarian views.

The state where the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter and a place where a rebel banner went up at the State House in 1961 and stayed there until just last summer.

We are now in a presidential election cycle that clearly celebrates outsiders and rule-breakers.

We will find out this month whether this state will help grow their campaigns.

Or if voters will turn away from the lure of revolutionary and radical change---and back toward the mainstream.

That’s My Take, what’s yours?

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