Earlier this month, I wrote about “Operation Chaos: South Carolina Republicans Urge Voters to Cast Dem Primary Vote for Bernie.”  The South Carolina primary takes place on Saturday, February 29th, and it looks like the movement is gaining some steam.

As I noted in that post, the strategy is intended to prove to South Carolina Democrats that open primaries are ripe for abuse by the opposing party’s voters skewing the results.  This “party raiding” accusation is not new in South Carolina (nor elsewhere that open primaries are held).

But there is a growing sense in some right-leaning quarters that socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the ideal candidate to pit against President Trump because socialism is anathema to everything that America is and stands for.

To that end, some right-leaning, pro-Trump Republican and Tea Party groups in South Carolina are urging their supporters to vote for Bernie on Saturday.

The State reports:

More Republican groups hoping to meddle in the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Saturday have decided who will get their vote.

The Greenville Tea Party has chosen to support for Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, as he has risen in the polls and has won the popular vote in the Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada contests.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has consistently led in the South Carolina polls, but the lead over Sanders has shrunk in recent weeks.

Stephen Brown, the former chairman of the Greenville Tea Party, said a few thousand votes may tip the scales of Saturday’s primary in Sanders’ direction.

A Sanders nomination would provide a clear contrast with President Donald Trump in November, supporters of the so-called “Operation Chaos” movement say.

A Trump vs. Bernie, capitalism vs. socialism/communism, showdown is tempting, particularly now when there is still a majority in the country who reject socialism.

The New York Times has more:

By canceling this year’s presidential primary, the Republican Party of South Carolina essentially endorsed a second term for President Trump, who handily won the state’s electoral votes in 2016.

But some conservative activists, eager to unearth any political advantage, are encouraging Republicans to vote this weekend anyway — for a Democrat.

If they can stomach it, backers said, Republicans should take advantage of South Carolina’s open primary system, which allows voters to cast a ballot without registering with a party. Multiple organized efforts are underway, with one going so far as to quote-unquote endorse Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who state polls show is closely trailing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“We’d like to have a hand in helping the President by giving him an avowed socialist to face in November!” the organizers of one of the groups, Trump 2-29, a reference to the date of Saturday’s primary, wrote on its Facebook page. “Haven’t you waited a VERY long time to DO SOMETHING for President Trump??? Here ya go.”

The organizers conceded that they relished the chance to roil Democrats, especially during a moment in the campaign when friction between the party’s candidates has become especially acute.

. . . . Charges of “party raiding,” as the tactic is known, have been leveled repeatedly over the years from both parties, in presidential races as well as down-ballot statewide legislative contests. Still, experts said, evidence of these efforts achieving any sort of significant influence is hard to find.

Organizers acknowledged on Tuesday that it was impossible to tell whether this go-round would be any different. “We’re just three volunteers with a Facebook page,” said Karen Martin, an organizer of the Trump 2-29 group. “It’s hard to gauge the impact other than anecdotally.”

Supporters of the Operation Chaos initiative in South Carolina are confident that Americans will reject socialism at the ballot box in November.

WYFF reports:

“We are calling for specifically for Republicans and Trump supporters all across South Carolina to turn out and vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary on Saturday,” said Stephen Brown, conservative activist, of Operation Chaos 2020,

With wins in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Sanders could possibly win South Carolina.

WYFF4’s Renée Wunderlich asked Brown, the former chairman of the Greenville County Republican Party, about his thoughts should ‘Operation Chaos 2020’s strategy backfire for the conservative activists, and Sen. Sanders beats President Donald Trump in November.

“I believe that our nation will reject socialism – I can’t say there’s no risk, any time you have an election there’s a risk – but I think we’ll have an overwhelming and resounding victory for President Trump. And if we can’t defeat a socialist here in 2020, we wouldn’t deserve the freedoms that we have. I’m confident that Donald Trump will prevail,” said Brown.

“We see things happening behind the scenes to help undo Bernie’s nomination, so we as Republicans think that there’s a very reasonable chance that Democrats might deny the nomination to Bernie Sanders, and if they were to do that, we believe it would enrage the left, cause the Democratic Party to split and only help Donald Trump in his reelection because I want to be clear; all of us are fully supporting Donald Trump in his reelection. We’re excited about that. We can’t wait to vote for Donald Trump in November.”

It’s a gamble, but perhaps one we need to take as a nation.

Writing at the Federalist, Brian Linville makes the case for supporting a Trump vs. Bernie election. Here’s a small snippet, but do read the whole thing.

Like it or not, the socialists are here. The only way to change that is to crush their ideas at the ballot box and thereby convince Democrats it’s in their interest to expel them from mainstream American political discourse. If we let the movement fester, there is no guarantee the next face of the socialist left will be a septuagenarian with a history of celebrating murderous dictators or that they will be making their appeals against the headwinds of economic plenty. Let’s gird for that fight now rather than postponing it for another day when conditions may be less favorable.

There is, of course, a risk here: We could lose. But if we can’t make the case against socialism in such a favorable environment, shame on us. In that case, the music was doomed to stop soon anyway. But more likely, we’ll see one of the most unpopular men in modern politics win in a landslide — and then people will know it was his ideas that carried the day, and those of his opponent will return to the dustbin of history.

It should be noted that the groups supporting Operation Chaos in South Carolina are not the Republican Party itself.

“The Republican Party is not encouraging voters to cross-party vote,” said Nate Leupp, chairman of the Greenville County Republican Party. “We understand some of our affiliates and members and friends are and we understand the logic behind it. But from a party standpoint, we feel that that push is best left to the activists like the Trump 2-29 organization.”

Organizers with both Operation Chaos 2020 and Trump 2-29 say they are separate movements, but they share the same goal.

The Democratic Party in South Carolina and the Sanders campaign have also weighed in on the effort:

The Greenville County Democratic Party released this statement following Operation Chaos 2020’s announcement regarding Sanders, written by Kate Franch, chair of the Greenville County Democratic Party:

In calling for voters to select a specific candidate for the purpose of disrupting Saturday’s primary, Operation Chaos 2020 is engaging in interference in a free and fair election. They are undermining and dishonoring the very right to franchise that they claim to want to protect. Elections are not games. Democrats believe in the right to directly choose our representatives and welcome any voter to participate in the democratic process we champion. Every voter should carefully select the candidate who most closely reflects his or her values with the knowledge that that candidate can ultimately win the seat. Your vote is your voice – it should not be wasted or debased.

The Sanders campaign sent WYFF4 a statement in response to ‘Operation Chaos 2020’ from Bernie 2020 SC State Director Jessica Bright:

Recent reports have made it clear that Donald Trump and the Republican establishment have always been afraid to run against Bernie Sanders going back to 2016 and this is more of the same. The truth is that Sen. Sanders consistently beats Trump in general election matchup polls in battleground states. He’s the only candidate with more individual donations than Trump and the only candidate with the network of grassroots volunteers it takes to win in November.

This is the same thing Sanders and his supporters said in and after 2016:  Only Sanders and socialism/communism can beat pro-America, pro-capitalist Trump.  Maybe it’s time to find out once and for all.

 

 
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