Photo: Roberto Schmidt Agence France-Presse US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden greet activists during an appearance at the Democrat's campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday.
Aurélia End – Agence France-Presse and Danny Kemp – Agence France-Presse in Wilmington and Charleston respectively
February 3, 2024
- United States
President Joe Biden handily won his first electoral test in his quest for a second term in the White House in the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday, according to official results.
Mr. Biden, who counted on a large black electorate in this conservative southern state of the United States, won the primary with more than 96.4% of the vote against two other candidates almost unknown to the general public, according to these results taken from counting of more than half of the votes.
The American president, who was himself in California on Saturday evening before going to Nevada on Sunday for the next vote on Tuesday, immediately estimated that he would beat his probable Republican opponent in November , former President Donald Trump.
“In 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again and I have no doubt that you have put us on the path to winning the presidency again and losing Donald again Trump,” he said in a statement.
“The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher. “Extreme and dangerous voices are at work in the country, led by Donald Trump,” he said.
During this first official vote in his race for the Democratic nomination, which Mr. Biden is almost guaranteed to win, it is above all the participation rate, particularly in the African-American electorate, which had to be scrutinized.
In 2020, African-Americans in South Carolina, numerous in proportion to the population of this former slave state in the southeast, allowed Joe Biden to save his campaign during the primary, helping him open up a path to the White House.
Facing the 81-year-old president was a little-known elected official from Minnesota, Dean Phillips, heir to a wealthy ice cream company, and Marianne Williamson, author of best-selling books on personal development.
The two barely exceeded 2% of the vote on Saturday.
On Saturday, Joe Biden made an appearance at his campaign headquarters in Wilmington, in his home state of Delaware, assuring that he was “on a mission”, before leaving to campaign in California and Nevada .
“It’s not just a campaign. It’s more of a mission. For the good of this country, we must not lose. […] And I say it from the bottom of my heart. It’s not about me, it goes way beyond me,” he insisted.
If the black electorate in the United States traditionally leans Democratic, several recent polls show that their support for Joe Biden is crumbling, particularly among young people, who feel they have not been heard enough during his mandate.
Even though South Carolina is expected to remain in Republican hands in the November presidential election, as it has since 1980, the president has made it clear that he views the state as an important test . He has already been there twice since the start of the year.
“I think he did his best,” Annette Hamilton, 63, said Saturday as she voted in a church hall in north Charleston.
Asked about the possibility of a Joe Biden victory in November, she replied: “I pray to God that he wins.”
“You must win”
Mr. Biden is focusing his strategy on the threat to democracy that he believes the American billionaire poses.
“As an aside, foreign leaders tell me one after the other: ‘You have to win,’” the president said in Wilmington on Saturday.
According to a New York Times/Siena poll conducted in November, 71% of black voters in six key states support Mr. Biden – up from 91 % in the 2020 election – and 22% would vote for Mr. Trump.
“I was a Democrat for 20 years. I even participated in the Obama campaign,” said Regina Sidik, 56, a black health care aide who attended a news conference of the former president’s supporters in Columbia, the state capital , this week.
“But today, after seeing what this world will become, I opt for Trump,” she confided.
In South Carolina, the Republican primary, at the end of February, promises to be more spectacular than that of the Democrats because Mr. Trump will try to deal a fatal blow to the former governor of this state, Nikki Haley.