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The Focus of the South Carolina Democratic Primary Centers on Preparedness for 2028

The Focus of the South Carolina Democratic Primary Centers on Preparedness for 2028
Credits: Politico

In the lead-up to South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Saturday, the state has become an unexpected battleground for potential 2028 presidential candidates within the Democratic Party.

High-profile Democratic figures with national aspirations have been actively engaging with the state’s political landscape, ostensibly in support of the Biden agenda and the 2024 campaign, but local officials recognize this as groundwork for potential future bids.

Eminent Democratic politicians like California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, and Sen. Cory Booker have made appearances in South Carolina over recent months.

The Focus of the South Carolina Democratic Primary Centers on Preparedness for 2028

South Carolina Democratic Primary Centers on Preparedness (Credits: Vox)

While officially serving as surrogates for the Biden campaign, their presence also hints at broader ambitions for the 2028 Democratic presidential nomination.

The state has become a focal point for these potential 2028 candidates, offering an opportunity to build relationships, establish connections, and familiarize themselves with the political landscape.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Christale Spain notes that being present in the state now could be strategically advantageous for anyone eyeing the 2028 nomination.

The primary on Saturday is particularly significant for South Carolina as it aims to solidify its influential position as the first-in-the-nation primary, showcasing a diverse electorate and elevating Black voters earlier in the process.

The Democratic National Committee, following a Biden-backed plan, elevated South Carolina over New Hampshire and excluded Iowa from the early window in 2024. South Carolina Democrats hope to maintain this status in the future.

Leading Democratic figures like Rep. Jim Clyburn, who played a crucial role in reviving Biden’s 2020 primary campaign with his endorsement, suggest that the groundwork for the 2028 race is already underway in the state. Clyburn mentions potential candidates for 2028, including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock.

The interest from potential 2028 candidates extends beyond campaign stops for the Biden agenda. Political contributions from figures like Newsom and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to local campaigns and the state party indicate a broader engagement with South Carolina’s political landscape.

Engaging early in primary states is seen as crucial for potential candidates to establish relationships, garner local support, and navigate the unique dynamics of each state. Building connections in states like South Carolina also provides exposure to the most important constituency in the Democratic Party – Black voters.

The heightened attention on South Carolina is a consequence of its newfound status at the forefront of the primary calendar. Previously, Iowa and New Hampshire were the sole focus of such attention. South Carolina lawmakers are now experiencing a level of political engagement and scrutiny reminiscent of those early-primary states.

While South Carolina’s primary is officially about the 2024 campaign, the active involvement of potential 2028 candidates showcases the state’s evolving significance in shaping the Democratic Party’s future. As the primary season progresses, the groundwork laid in South Carolina may prove pivotal for those eyeing the 2028 Democratic presidential nomination.

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