Trump GOP Primary Vendetta Tour Stalls In South Carolina
The South Carolina GOP primary is tomorrow, and the big question is whether perpetual vengeance machine Donald Trump will successfully retire incumbent Reps. Nancy Mace and Tom Rice.
Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021. He’s hardly a RINO but he’s anti-coup, as he recently told Newsweek: "If anybody tears up our Constitution, shreds our Constitution, as what happened on January 6, I'm going to try to hold them accountable. I don't care if they're a red team or a blue team.”
An internal Rice poll had him up by double digits over Trump-backed challenger Russell Fry, a South Carolina state representative. However, a Trafalgar Group poll showed the exact opposite result. Polling is hardly an exact science, but it seems clear neither candidate will reach the more than 50 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff.
We shouldn’t nominate Rice for sainthood or anything. He was only upholding his oath of office. However, his district voted more heavily for Trump than South Carolina as a whole.
Nancy Mace, though, is no Liz Cheney or even Tom Rice. She did vote to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, but she didn’t vote to impeach Trump, and instead quoted Dr. Martin Luther King when justifying her cowardice. She fully earned Trump’s ire when she was mildly critical of him after the January 6 insurrection, but since then, she’s groveled for Trump’s favor with the best of them, even turning up outside Trump Tower like an obsessed fan. It was so pathetic we can’t resist sharing the video again.
\u201cI\u2019m standing in front of Trump Tower with a message this morning\u2026\n\n#SC01 #LowcountryFirst\u201d— Nancy Mace (@Nancy Mace) 1644510098
Mace is running against previously failed House candidate Katie Arrington, a rightwing wackjob whose stated priorities if she wins include firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, eliminating the Department of Education, filing nuisance impeachments against President Joe Biden, and opening Hunter Biden’s super sexy laptop. That last one will definitely lower the price of gas.
Mace is leading in most polls, and while she’s as appealing as a jar of mayonnaise left out overnight, it’s always a pleasure when Trump loses, even by proxy. He posted this desperate jab at Mace on Truth Social Saturday night:
"Don't forget that Katie Arrington, a wonderful person, is running against the terrible Nancy Mace, who really let us down," the former president wrote. "Nancy fights Republicans all the time and is not at all nice about it. Frankly, she is despised by almost everyone, and who needs that in Congress, or in the Republican Party."
Mace has mixed it up a few times with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but she otherwise gets along fine with other Republicans. Former South Carolina Governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley presumably feels comfortable enough with the polling data to publicly defy Trump and endorse Mace. She spoke on Mace’s behalf at a campaign rally Sunday.
She exchanged knowing smiles with Mace throughout her 10-minute speech, which ended with Haley calling Mace, “the one that will never disappoint you.” Haley took no questions from the media.
As Haley left the event, a man told her, “When you run for president, I’m voting for you.”
“Let’s elect Nancy first,” she replied.
Trump's social media shitposts are apparently the extent of his efforts for Arrington. He’s not traveling to South Carolina to campaign in person, as he’d previously promised. Of course, anyone actually shocked that Trump wouldn’t keep his word probably believes the 2020 election was stolen.
Mace is a party-line Republican, but she has occasionally voted with Democrats on environmental issues and veteran benefits. We’d prefer that former Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham still held that seat, but if we’re stuck with Mace for another term, we guess that’s better than the Trumped-up alternative.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."