With just over two weeks before voters in South Carolina cast votes in their state’s primary, freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) declared that South Carolinians are not in favor of socialism.
As Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign gains steam after the first two primary contests, moderates in the Democratic Party are banking on South Carolina — which holds its primary on Feb. 29 — to blunt his momentum.
In a statement to The Post and Courier, Cunningham — one of two Democratic congressmen from South Carolina — said that voters in his state do not want socialism.
“South Carolinians don’t want socialism. We want to know how you are going to get things done and how you are going to pay for them. Bernie’s proposals to raise taxes on almost everyone is not something the Lowcountry wants and not something I’d ever support.”
Additionally, Cunningham vowed that Sanders “will not be the nominee,” and promised to “defend our Lowcountry values of opportunity, pragmatism and common sense.”
While Cunningham said he would not make an endorsement before the primary, it was clear from his statement that he did not want Sanders — who has labeled himself a democratic socialist — to win the nomination.
For much of the campaign South Carolina, with its diverse electorate, has been seen as former Vice President Joe Biden’s firewall.
Biden has polled the highest among African American voters for much of the campaign, something he has touted as proof that he can win over minority voters, which he says any candidate would need to do to win the nomination.
Cunningham’s statement comes at a critical point in Biden’s campaign as a recent poll found that Biden’s poll numbers among African Americans have dropped just over 20% — from 49% to 27% — since the Iowa caucuses.
As Biden’s poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire have raised doubts about his ability to stop the bleeding and win the nomination, more Democrats have begun to voice their concern about the potential danger to the party’s electoral prospects if Sanders won the nomination.