South Carolina Primary Results, Live Updates, and Trump's Take on IVF; Update: Trump Blowout

AP Photo/Steven Senne

In a couple of hours, we should have the results of the South Carolina GOP primary. As usual, we will embed a live tracker at the end of this post so you can keep tabs on how it plays out. I'm not going to waste anyone's time trying to build some hype about the likely outcome of the contest. Absent a historic, catastrophic failure of nearly every national polling outfit simultaneously or the literal Finger of God poking into the eyes of the state's voters, Nikki Haley is going to be crushed by Donald Trump in her home state. She might overperform to a degree and only lose by a number in the teens, but the smart money suggests that Trump could run up a 30-point lead without breaking a sweat.

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But it's worth noting that the Democrats will not be going down without a fight, nor will Nikki Haley. Trump has been hitting the campaign trail hard and he's saying a lot of things, some of which will be interpreted as being controversial. Will any of that sway the hearts and minds of the Republican base? It doesn't seem likely, but his national lead over Joe Biden remains slim and those numbers could still erode. For one example of an issue where Trump could be treading on shakey ground, take his position on In vitro fertilization (IVF) that he put forward yesterday. (Associated Press)

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF” and called on lawmakers in Alabama to preserve access to the procedure. It was his first comments after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that led some providers to suspend in vitro fertilization treatments and has divided many Republicans nationally over the issue.

Trump, in a post on his Truth Social network, said: “Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder!”

The comments come after a ruling by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law.

The topic of IVF really shouldn't be conflated with abortion, but the Democrats are going to try to portray it that way because they feel like they have to make everything about abortion this year. It's basically all they have to run on that doesn't sound entirely nonsensical, but it's been a winning issue for them in many areas. For anyone examining the subject in a logical fashion, they are almost entirely unrelated. In the vast majority of cases, abortions happen when women encounter unexpected and unwanted pregnancies. Conversely, IVF is typically only chosen by couples or women who are actively attempting to become pregnant but are unable to for one reason or another.

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Still, IVF can be seen as controversial in some circles. Among the faithful, I've read the work of people who express suspicion or skepticism because they believe that only the "natural" way to begin a pregnancy as intended by God is acceptable. Others may feel that infertility could be a sign from God, Mother Nature, or whomever, that the couple was simply not "intended" to conceive and a child wasn't destined to enter their lives. Your mileage may vary. 

Does that mean that Trump's wholehearted embrace of IVF as a way to "make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies" could drive off some conservatives or independents? I can't imagine that the number would be large if such a sentiment exists in measurable amounts. But then, Trump's current lead in some of the critical swing states remains dangerously narrow. It might not take all that many people with an unforeseen key issue to swing the balance against him. I don't see how it could possibly benefit Nikki Haley tonight, but we really do need to be looking past the primaries and toward the final confrontation in November.

We shall see. Perhaps there will be at least some surprises in store for us tonight. You can monitor or check in on the results right here. The polls close at 7 pm Eastern this evening, though anyone who is in line by then will still be allowed to vote. If this plays out as expected, however, I would anticipate the AP calling the race a few minutes after 7.

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Here are the live updates to the primary results.




Update (Ed): No one should be surprised that Trump easily beat Haley in today's primary. At the moment, Trump is up 20 points over Haley in her home state, with about 80% of precincts reporting. If that gap holds up, then it's hardly even a moral victory for Haley; it's only a few points narrower than polling suggested. 

Haley insists she'll stay in the race, but Politico doesn't see any evidence that Haley stands a chance:

Donald Trump stormed to victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday night, cementing his path to the Republican presidential nomination and reaffirming his dominance over the GOP.

The former president’s win — which was so decisive that the AP projected him the victor solely based on a voter survey — came in the home state of his only major Republican rival, Nikki Haley, who served as governor of South Carolina from 2011. Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the U.N., has vowed to continue her fight through Super Tuesday. But there are few visible paths for her to secure the delegates needed to win the nomination.

That's because they don't exist, outside of a Trump withdrawal. And if that happened, DeSantis would simply unsuspend his campaign and present his argument again that he can execute the MAGA agenda in Trump's absence. 

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David Strom 6:40 PM | April 18, 2024
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