US primary kicks off Democrats’ race to White House

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 The Democratic race to the White House is slated to officially kick off Saturday, with President Joe Biden expected to easily grab his party’s nomination.

   “Biden will do well and coast to the nomination,” Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua, noting that Biden “doesn’t face too many problems in the upcoming primaries.”

   The event in South Carolina is the first primary for which candidates will compete for delegates and will offer some insights into how the party’s base views him.

   The state will award 55 delegates to the Democratic Party convention, which is just a small slice of the nearly 2,000 necessary to win the party’s nomination.


   Biden’s campaign is optimistic about securing a significant triumph in South Carolina, despite challenges related to concerns about his age, diminished approval ratings, and voters’ dissatisfaction with the prevailing inflation, which is currently at its highest in decades.

   At 81, Biden is the oldest US president, seeking re-election against former President Donald Trump, 77, the likely GOP candidate.

   At the same time, unemployment has been at or near all-time lows during much of the Biden presidency.

   The United States added 353,000 jobs in January, beating economists’ forecasts, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number was significantly higher than the consensus expectation. The jobless rate held steady at 3.7%.

   West sees Biden’s “biggest problem” in the surge of refugees at the southern border, urging the president to take decisive action to secure the borders.

   In a recent White House statement, Biden admitted the overdue need to address border issues. He mentioned initiating negotiations with a bipartisan group of Senators two months ago to actively tackle the ongoing border crisis.

   Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, mentioned to Xinhua that a key test is whether Biden’s overall performance surpasses his results in New Hampshire.

   In New Hampshire, Biden secured 67% of the vote. Ramsay suggested that if the president receives around 75%, it would indicate substantial and robust support.

   Biden didn’t appear on the ballot in New Hampshire last month because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gave South Carolina the first primary. New Hampshire refused to comply and hosted its own Democratic primary, the results of which were not recognized by the DNC.

   “Another test is simply turnout,” Ramsay said.

   The president’s challengers are Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson.

   In New Hampshire, Phillips received roughly 20 percent of the vote and Williamson took roughly 4%.


   Four in ten South Carolina voters named the economy as their most pressing issue, with immigration coming in second, at 14%, and “threats to democracy” at 9%, according to a recent Emerson College poll.

   Twenty-eight per cent of Democrats said the economy was the nation’s most crucial issue, with healthcare taking second place at 16%. Twelve per cent billed “threats to democracy” as the No. 1 challenge, and 9% said access to abortion, the poll found.

   For independent voters, 37% named the economy as the most important issue. Coming in second was “threats to democracy” at 12% and immigration at 10%, the poll found.

   Forty-four per cent of the state’s voters stand against the state’s law that bans most abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy, with 38% backing the law.

   Sixty-two per cent of Democrats and 48% of independents oppose the law.

   West said the issues that are of concern to Democratic voters are the economy, the war in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, and border security.

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