In the social media era, what are formal endorsements still worth in general? That’s a topic that’s ripe for debate. But every once in awhile, we see an endorsement that we know carries major weight. For instance, if President Obama endorsed someone in the Democratic primary right now, it would shake up the entire race nationwide. That’s not likely to happen any time soon. But Joe Biden just picked up an endorsement that has roughly that much influence in a specific state, and could end up tilting the balance of the remainder of the primary race.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is about to endorse Joe Biden in the South Carolina 2020 Democratic primary race, according to Politico. It’s widely agreed that Clyburn has significant influence over African American voters across the nation, and huge influence in his home state of South Carolina. Why is this so important?
The latest polling averages suggest that Biden is set to win South Carolina by three to five points. This would help him greatly. The media would start talking about him suddenly having “momentum” (even though he was always favored to win the state), and it would send a signal to Biden fans in upcoming Super Tuesday states that he’s still in contention. So if Clyburn’s endorsement seals South Carolina for Biden, it’s a big deal. Now imagine if Clyburn’s endorsement hands Biden a more definitive win in South Carolina than expected, by something like five to ten points. Then the national narrative shifts significantly in his direction heading into Super Tuesday.
Joe Biden was never going to do well in nearly all-white states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Nor was he ever going to do well in states that use a caucus format like Iowa and Nevada. He’s always been counting on performing well in South Carolina, as a springboard for Super Tuesday. If Jim Clyburn’s endorsement is worth what we think it’s worth in South Carolina, this could change the entire trajectory of the primary race going forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report