James Clyburn, MAGA, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

As Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, James Clyburn Concerned About ‘MAGA’ Disinformation Campaign

Clyburn’s concern is that another massive disinformation campaign spread primarily through memes would make it impossible for actual news about Biden's policy wins to get through.

Though Joe Biden handily won South Carolina’s Democratic primary thanks in no small part to the efforts of veteran Congressman James Clyburn and the Biden campaign’s nonstop blitz of appearances in the state, Clyburn recently expressed doubts that Biden’s campaign would be able to get through the “MAGA wall.”

As Reuters reported, Clyburn’s concern is that another massive disinformation campaign spread primarily through memes would make it impossible for actual news about Biden’s policy wins to get through. 

Clyburn told Reuters, “If we are going to be successful in this campaign, we are going to have to have what I call hand-to-hand combat, boots on the ground. We are going to have to do what is necessary to circumvent, or smash through that MAGA wall that is being built on sound bites.”

He continued, “So when people tell me what a bad communicator Joe Biden has been, I say to them, don’t confuse goodness with weakness. These are people who basically want to hear a sound bite that makes for a good headline, but that sound bite seldom makes good headway. And Joe Biden is all about making headway.”

Like former President Barack Obama, Clyburn believes Biden needs to go on the offensive — and based on his post-primary messaging, it seems Biden has taken that message to heart. Shortly following his win, the Biden campaign released a statement. “In 2020, it was the voters of South Carolina who proved the pundits wrong, breathed new life into our campaign, and set us on the path to winning the Presidency,” it read. “Now in 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the Presidency again — and making Donald Trump a loser — again.”

Granted, the mood this time around, as Politico reported, was different. Biden’s win was expected, as he faced the political version of Alabama’s football non-conference schedule, Marianne Williamson, a self-help author and occasional conspiracy theorist, and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips. Further complicating the mood was a question from Clyburn posed to the Biden campaign via speakerphone about turnout, which, based on the estimates available, was about 131,286 voters, compared to the 2020 primary, which saw 540,000 people cast their votes.

Typically, voter turnout is lower in the primaries than in the general election, but low voter turnout can also signal dissatisfaction with the candidates themselves or the political process in general. Biden’s flagging support among various groups, particularly Black voters, has been well documented. The looming contest between himself and Donald Trump is one that voters are not enthusiastic about, even if both men will cruise to their party’s nominations. A January 2024 poll showed approximately 60% of respondents indicating they were not enthusiastic about a 2020 rematch between Biden and Trump. However, 43% of those surveyed also said they believed Trump would win the election, indicating that Clyburn and other Democratic power players are right to be concerned about both Biden’s campaign and the “MAGA wall.”

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