Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… By Wednesday, two presidential candidates will have made history by winning the Republican and Democratic caucuses in Nevada, thus joining the tiny minority of Americans who have ever departed Las Vegas feeling good about the choices they made there.
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'16 from 30,000
If you're like us, you know that nothing says "Saturday night" like impressing your friends with granular knowledge about primary state counties. But seriously, if you're watching the returns in tomorrow's South Carolina GOP contest, here's a tip: Keep your eye on the counties around Greenville.
Our colleague Dante Chinni points out that one of Ted Cruz's most important strengths in both Iowa and New Hampshire was his support among college-educated evangelicals. That means he should perform very well in Greenville and probably Pickens counties, which are rich with that kind of voter. But a big question will be how he does in other upstate counties -- like Spartanburg, Greenwood, and Laurens, to name a few --- which are above the state average for evangelicals but below the state average for income. The question Dante says to watch: Do voters in these counties vote as evangelicals or as blue collar folks? If they do the former, Cruz may have a good shot in the state to at least finish a close second. If they do the latter, Donald Trump is probably winning big.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- South Carolina is living up to its' reputation for rough-and-tumble politics, NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell.
- Will South Carolina be Jeb Bush's last stand? Jordan Frasier reports from the Palmetto State.
- Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she doesn't believe she has ever told a lie, MSNBC's Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
- South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the top ranking African-American in Congress, endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign on Friday, one of us wrote.
- From NBC's Alex Jaffe: Marco Rubio's been making the case to South Carolina's voters that he's the most conservative candidate in the race, but missed one of his last opportunities to do so on Thursday night.
- Is Charles Koch feeling 'The Bern'?
- From our NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls: Trump is now leading Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary by 5 points — down from his 16-point lead in the state a month ago.
- From today's "Tails from the Trail:" John Kasich explains the Trump phenomenon.
- And from First Read: Is South Carolina Getting Closer?
FOR THE RECORD…
"I like the chili enchiladas, they nailed the meat substitute stuff."
Bill Clinton, eating at a vegan restaurant in Las Vegas on Thursday
On Saturday: The GOP primary in South Carolina and the Democratic caucuses in Nevada.