Republican activists in South Carolina are promoting an actual plan to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary on Saturday.
The unusual effort is aimed at exposing what the activists see as flaws in the Southern state’s open primary system – and at boosting the candidate many Republicans view as the easiest rival for Republican President Donald Trump to beat in November.
Sanders enters the Saturday primary as the front-runner but is facing a tough challenge from Joe Biden, whose support from African Americans in South Carolina is drawing attention.
“Bernie is a socialist and the most egregious of all the candidates. He is also the weakest against Trump,” said Pressley Stutts, a Tea Party activist and one of the organizers behind an interference effort dubbed “Operation Chaos.”
Democrats and Republicans previously have threatened to interfere with the other party’s primary process in South Carolina and elsewhere, generally without success. In Iowa, however, Republicans boasted they clogged Democratic Party telephone lines, exacerbating embarrassing delays in reporting caucus results.
South Carolina State Democratic Party Chairman calls the effort nonsense. He says the high voter turnout expected is not due to Republican gamesmanship, but with the outrage against the “immoral, anti-Christian” person occupying the White House.
Trump activists see it as payback for Democrats allegedly participating in the same activities in Republican primaries. Stutts says Republicans appear eager to participate in the chaos. Polls agree, finding a significant number of Republicans saying they will vote in the Democratic primary. The survey said there is diversity among several candidates and those votes may not be a factor.
State Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick has stated he does not support the effort, nor has called for a stop to the movement. “I am not sure exactly how much this will move the needle,” he said. “I do know that I’m having fun watching the Democratic circus and that Bernie Sanders, a socialist, would provide the ultimate contrast between the two parties.”
See this story at Reuters.