Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) used to be a dynamic duo. After the American hero died from cancer, Donald Trump was specifically disinvited from attending McCain’s funeral. Imagine people’s surprise at what Graham did next.
The South Carolina Republican joined Donald Trump at the hip. There could not have been a greater contrast. The president avoided the draft by claiming bone spurs and urging a doctor to write his excuse. McCain was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, and then he crashed, was captured, and spent five years in a prison camp.
If McCain’s motto was “honor,” Trump’s motto could have been “ill repute.” During the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate hearings, Graham showed his basest instincts. He defended Trump’s choice with all the fervor of a rabid ferret. Now, Graham’s seat is no longer assured.
The Cook Political Report surprised Americans when it announced that Graham’s seat had become more competitive:
‘[O]n Monday, [it] shifted its outlook for the South Carolina Senate race toward Democrat Jaime Harrison, bringing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) reelection bid into more competitive territory.’
Until now, the report was solidly behind Graham, who has held his seat since 2003. In 2019 the 65-year-old senator moved up to chair the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Among other reasons, the senator’s attachment to the president moved Graham voters from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”
A fundraising dynamo, Jaime Harrison has proven himself to be a strong contender as Donald Trump’s popularity plummeted among Republican voters. Should Harrison win, that would mark the first time the state had two Black senators. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is also Black.
South Carolina Black voters made the difference in Biden’s primary win. That was the turning point in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
When Biden selected Kamala Harris as his vice presidential nominee, his choice only built more fire under his campaign among Black voters. His choice could well ignite other voters to turn out for Harris.
However, Graham may still be the favorite, Axios reported:
‘Graham is still definitively the favorite. South Carolina hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in over 20 years.’
Senate and Governors’ Editor for The Cook Political Report Jessica Taylor wrote in her analysis of the South Carolina election, according to MSN:
‘[I]t’s clear this race is becoming more competitive, and Graham faces an incredibly strong challenge.’
Thus far, Harrison has matched Graham in fundraising, $29 million to $30.9 million. The former chair of his state’s Democratic Party was the first Black citizen to hold that position:
‘Racial injustice protests that swept the nation in early June also give Harrison, who is Black, further motivation for turning out African-American voters in the state. Were Harrison to upset Graham, South Carolina – the first state to secede from the Union in 1860 – would become the first state in history to have two Black senators serving at the same time, joining Republican Sen. Tim Scott.’
FiveThirtyEight averaged polls throughout election cycles. It showed Trump leading the presumptive Democratic contender Joe Biden in South Carolina. However, Biden has chased on POTUS’ heels by a narrow 6.5 percentage point gap. House Whip Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) almost single-handedly resuscitated Biden’s campaign in the state.
Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), whose father was Black and mother was Indian, further ensured a high Black voter turnout. Depending upon what Donald Trump does to the US Postal Service (USPS), those votes will be either mail-in ballots or in person.
Twitter world lit up after The Cook Political Report came out downgrading Graham. Take a look at what Americans had to say in response below:
— Republicans for Joe Biden (@RepsForBiden) August 16, 2020
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.