TWISC: A Look at the Education Rally and 2020 Democratic Primary

Todd Shaw, professor and chair of the political science department at the University of South Carolina and Gibbs Knotts, professor and chair of the political science department at the College of Charleston sit down with host Gavin Jackson to discuss the 2020 campaign.


  • Biden has officially entered the race and among non-white voters he has 50% support.
  • African American candidates have done better in South Carolina than they do in other states.
  • South Carolina is not only a good predictor of who is going to win the nomination but also who will win in other southern states with similar profiles.
  • Biden has the record of most donations in a single day.


Candidates are taking up local issues and Knotts agrees that we will see more of this in the 2020 campaign. “This is new in South Carolina, we haven’t seen that a lot for presidential candidates getting involved in local issues.” For the most part, presidential candidates stick to big picture national issues.

Both professors talk about how candidates can differentiate themselves in the race. With former Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders most likely to be the front runners how can the other candidates move up?

Shaw thinks there could be a, “parallel to 2008 here; is Biden the Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris or Cory Booker Barack Obama?” He thinks they are both trying to use the Obama play book and use South Carolina as a springboard.

Knotts thinks that candidates will drop out before any votes are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire. This race won’t be like the 2016 Democratic primary race, with two candidates, but look more like the Republican 2016 primary field.

South Carolina has seen a lot of change in its demographics and the midterms proved that. Knotts said there are a lot of people moving here from other areas and more young folks moving to Charleston who seem to be more Democratic.

Looking forward:

Anything can happen in the upcoming election. Things to keep in mind: When will Obama come out on the trail for Biden? Will early leads remain? What will the field look like after additional quarterly fundraising reports come out?