All eyes are on South Carolina today as the six remaining Republican candidates face off in the primaries. The Democrats are also squaring off as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton compete in the Nevada caucuses. Voting in South Carolina opened at 7 a.m. EST and will close at 7 p.m. The caucuses in Nevada began around 11 a.m. PST.
Donald Trump faces his next challenge in the Republican nomination fight as he confronted both Apple and Boeing with issues. The real estate mogul called for a boycott of Apple following the company’s refusal to cooperate with a judge’s order to assist law enforcement in unlocking the iPhone of a California suspect in the San Bernardino shooting rampage that killed 14 people in December.
Trump also suggested that Boeing, one of the state’s top employers with its fairly new manufacturing plant in North Charleston, could lose jobs if he isn’t elected president because of his negotiation skills with the Chinese, in reference to Boeing’s industrial investment in China unveiled last year, a new plant to finish work on planes before they are delivered to local carriers. “Boeing is building massive plants in China,” Trump said at a rally in Myrtle Beach. “You have a beautiful plant. Be careful because when they cut the value of their currency, in two years after their plants are built, and you find out you’re losing – not going to happen if Trump is president, that I can tell you – but be careful.”
Trump holds a “commanding” lead in South Carolina polls. He went after his nearest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, calling him “the biggest liar I have ever seen” and noting even Marco Rubio is branding Cruz for dishonesty.
Cruz launched a counterattack on Trump and suggested he couldn’t be trusted to pick a conservative Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia on Nov. 13.
Voter turnout across South Carolina has been strong and steady, with the total number of absentee ballots returned so far at 77,288, more than double the previous record.
“The absentee turnout is certainly indicative of high excitement and voter interest,” said S.C. Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire. “There’s been nothing today to indicate otherwise, as far as what we’ve heard from the polls. I wouldn’t be surprised if we set a record turnout for a Republican presidential primary.”
The State reports in Red Bank, Dawn Hoover, a 40-year-old construction office manager, said she voted for real estate mogul Donald Trump because America could benefit from having a businessman in the White House.
“We need more of a business person with a business mind,” Hoover said. “I don’t agree with everything he says or does, but I don’t agree with any of the others.”
Josh Johnson, an unemployed 29-year-old, said he voted for Ben Carson because he likes the retired neurosurgeon’s demeanor.
“He seems to be well-spoken, he seems to be more humble about his approach to things,” Johnson said. “He’s obviously a smart guy, too.”
On Friday, Trump led polls in the South Carolina primary by five points, down from his 16-point lead in the state a month ago. Trump gets support from 28 percent of likely Republican primary voters in the state, while Ted Cruz gets 23 percent. They’re followed by Marco Rubio at 15 percent, Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and John Kasich and Ben Carson at 9 percent each.
Following the New Hampshire primaries, a A CNN exit poll Tuesday found about 75 percent of GOP voters said they were very worried about the U.S. economy, 60 percent said they were very worried about terrorism, and 90 percent said they were dissatisfied with the federal government.
An ABC News exit poll found two-thirds of Republican voters said they favor a temporary ban on U.S. entry for Muslims who are not U.S. citizens, an idea that originated with Trump in December. Also, nearly half of GOP voters said they want a candidate from “outside the political establishment.”
Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council President Chris Crane provided Breitbart News with details on how Marco Rubio betrayed them during a 2013 Gang of Eight immigration fight. Crane represents approximately 5,800 front-line ICE officers, agents and personnel who are responsible for enforcing America’s immigration laws in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
In the Breitbart interview, Crane said, “Violent street gangs were literally able to lobby Sen. Rubio and the Gang of Eight more effectively than law enforcement, they had more influence on the bill than we did. Gangs were able to get provisions in the law to protect themselves. It’s absolutely insane. What on earth are our lawmakers thinking? I think it’s this type of utterly stupid lawmaking that has caused most Americans to lose faith in Congress.”
In Nevada, Democratic caucuses are underway, and polling suggests Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight race. Following New Hampshire, Fox News asked New Hampshire Democrats which candidate is more honest and trustworthy. A full 93 percent of Democrats chose Sanders, while only 5 percent said Clinton.
In Nevada, CNN is reporting with 7% of the vote in, the race couldn’t be much tighter: Clinton has 50% and Sanders has 49.6%.
Nevada was supposed to be the state where Hillary Clinton exposed the limits of Bernie Sanders’ appeal, claiming his popularity was limited to largely white states like Iowa and New Hampshire but unable to compete with states having large minority populations. Instead, she will be scrambling to eke out a victory.
“I don’t wake up mad at anybody, though I will say in the last few days that premise has been challenged just a little,” a frustrated Bill Clinton told a crowd of about 2,000 supporters at the final campaign rally Friday night in Las Vegas.
WND reported, Hillary’s health is also causing concern among voters.
Her refusal to answer questions about her recent coughing fits or to explain why she is wearing eyeglasses fitted with Fresnel prisms supports the conclusion of several qualified physicians that her presidential campaign is still keeping key health records hidden from the American public.