Biden aims to visit South Carolina voters ahead of primary

President Joe Biden joined South Carolina Democratic leaders on Saturday to celebrate the state's civic history and “fulfill promises and promises” ahead of the first Democratic primary with Biden's name on the ballot in the 2024 presidential election.

The South Carolina Democratic Party hosted its first-in-the-nation dinner for hundreds of attendees at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.

South Carolina typically follows the New Hampshire and Iowa caucuses in primariesBut the Democratic National Convention approved Biden's proposal To change the primary calendar in hopes of gaining support from voters of color early in the presidential race.

Biden served as the keynote speaker and was joined by Congressmen James Clyburn (D.C.), Roe Khanna (D-Calif.), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Democratic National Convention Chairman Jaime Harrison. From South Carolina. U.S. Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who is running for the Democratic nomination, also spoke.

As the president took the stage, attendees held up Biden/Harris campaign signs and chanted, “Four more years.”

“If you ever doubt that you have the power to change America in your hands, remember this,” Biden told the crowd as he took the stage. “You proved it! You're the reason I became president.”

Biden said his Attempts to control insulin prices With the Deflation Act, he vows to veto any outright abortion bans and aims to ban assault weapons. Throughout his speech, he called former President Donald Trump a loser for the Republican nomination.

“You're the reason Donald Trump is the defeated former president,” he told the crowd, which greeted him with cheers. “You're the reason Donald Trump lost.”

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Cristale Spain kicked off the evening by telling attendees that the nation's focus is on South Carolina.

“All week, all eyes will be on South Carolina,” Spain said. “Because? The South has something to say, and we're going to say it on February 3rd.”

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Spain said the party is preparing for the primary by visiting voters in several counties from Oconee to Barnwell.

“We're reminding voters that our current presidential race doesn't matter,” Spain said. “The MAGA Republican Party needs to position our candidate in the best possible way to defeat anyone who comes out of that primary.”

Party leaders point to South Carolina's varied history

Incumbent Republican South Carolina Senate in 2020. Harrison, who is challenging Lindsey Graham for his seat, said he saw articles declaring “South Carolina and voters in South Carolina are wrong to be premier, and the state is unqualified. Such an honor.”

In response, Harrison told attendees about his life growing up in the state and the values ​​he learned from his grandparents, which he believes align with the goals of the Democratic Party.

He shared how he was born to a teenage mother and raised by his grandparents. His grandmother was an eighth grader and picked cotton and cleaned houses, while his grandfather was a fourth grader and built roads to support the family.

“You know, society often labels people like my grandparents as simple people. But everybody, they were rich,” Harrison said. “They were rich based on their values: hard work, loyalty, respect — values ​​that affirm who we are as a black community, and we are South Carolinians.”

Further: Biden will visit a Charleston church rocked by the shootings, setting the stage for an emotional rally with black voters.

Harrison reflected on the history of South Carolina, including the state's involvement The historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court caseAnd the story Sarah May FlemingIn 1954, a black woman was assaulted for sitting in the seat of a white woman as she was getting off the bus she was riding. Fleming's case provided the legal framework for the Rosa Parks court case.

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This is the state that launched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House in 2020,” Harrison said. “The voters in South Carolina: the farmers in Bamberg, the longshoremen in Charleston, the teachers in Columbia … we all marched. Polls, we did what we always do, South Carolina.”

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Biden's tenure has been praised for his impact on the state

He thanked Rep. Clyburn and his late wife Emily for their influence on the 2020 campaign. It helped to win the election.

Clyburn praised Biden for his compassion, along with the president's many notable executive actions, including his efforts to mitigate climate change through the American Recovery and Inflation Act. The crowd cheered as they applauded Clyburn's progress “Failure Meeting” That's where I-26 meets I-126, he said Bilateral Infrastructure Agreement.

Clyburn continued to cite economic improvements in both Berkeley and Allendale counties Biden's Chips and Scientific Law.

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“We're now in the midst of the greatest industrial growth in Allendale in decades. Why? Because of Joe Biden,” Clyburn said. “Colleton County – New Battery Plant. Why? Because Joe Biden's Big Bill Chips and Brings Back Science.”

Clyburn also praised Biden's efforts to control the cost of insulin for senior citizens. Although some states have passed insulin caps themselves, South Carolina does notThat is, it defaults to the federal paradigm.

Biden also cited economic improvements.

“Our economy has grown more in the last six months than at any time in Trump's entire four years,” he said.

Data from Pew Research Center While Biden's approval rating is low, it shows that Americans are now more favorable about economic conditions than they have been in recent months.

Under Biden's administration, there have been more than 800,000 new jobs in manufacturing, as well as record low unemployment among black Americans.

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Biden pledged to invest in eight historically black colleges in South Carolina.

“All the progress we've made comes down to one simple proposition: Promises and promises kept,” Biden said.

Promises made and promises kept will become the call-and-response refrain for the rest of Biden's speech.

While the majority of the crowd was enthusiastic about Biden's accomplishments, protesters interrupted his speech three times.

Although hard to hear, one protester talked about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, while another mentioned the climate crisis, saying he feared for his future. All three were immediately evacuated safely. Each time a protester started to speak, the participants chanted “four more years”.

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Preparation for Poll: See who's running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our voter guide

When and how to vote in South Carolina's primaries

South Carolina is an open-primary state, so registered voters can choose any party, regardless of which party they are registered with. They can vote in the Democratic or Republican primary.

The Greenville News has put together a comprehensive guide for voters ahead of the primaries.

In 2020, 536,949 South Carolinians voted in the Democratic primary — about 15% of registered voters. Biden won 48.4% of the primary vote. In the general election, Biden received 43% of the popular vote All nine votes of South Carolina's Electoral College The former president went to Trump.

Democratic primary voting begins Jan. 22 and ends Feb. It will be held till 3rd.

Sarah Swedlik covers climate change and environmental issues for The Greenville News in upstate South Carolina. Reach her at [email protected] or @sarahgswetlik at X.

The Greenville News has a new environment and climate Q&A column. Have a question about sustainability for Sarah? listen Here Or email [email protected].

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