West Wing Continuity Guide
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  1. Why would someone seeking the Democratic nomination for President, rush to campaign in South Carolina?
    • Alan Felton wrote us that in the flashback in "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" as Josh and Sam persuade Bartlet to leave New Hampshire to campaign for the South Carolina primary, that they got their politics wrong. He writes, "As a Democrat, this would have been a waste of time since Democrats go to Delaware next in the primary schedule and a host of other Democratic primaries (including New York) are held before the South Carolina Democratic caucuses. The GOP does, however, go to SC after NH." "The primaries are held at different times for the Democrats and the Republicans. This year the Republicans held their primary there in February and the Democrats held their caucuses there in March." And, he continues, ". . .it would have been odd for a Democrat to place much emphasis on SC. . . . California or the Washington primary might be more likely or even some other Southern state that has more votes and power in the Democratic nominating process such as Georgia or Florida."
    • A second opinion comes from Alison Meloy, who writes: "Mr. Felton would have been correct about the significance of SC in a year 2000 democratic primary. This last election cycle the SC democratic party switched to a caucus and scheduled so late that it was insignificant for the race for the democratic nomination.

      "However, remember that the show borrows heavily from 1992/Clinton administration experience (Cadells most recent presidential primary was then for Jerry Brown and Dee Dee Myers for Clinton). In 1992 the SC Democratic party still had a primary system. It was scheduled on the weekend between Junior Tuesday (1st Southern state of Georgia went then) and Super Tuesday (really heavy Southern state primary day). Thus in 1992 South Carolina was a contested state and an important springboard into the critical Super Tuesday slate.

      "So the point is that primary schedules change (each cycle they are more front loaded). In 2000 Super Tuesday was less important ever before (its inception in '88) as the Yankee primary was created and moved before it.. What election cycle history were the writers drawing on. It is true that Barlet might have locked up the nomination quicker in a 2000 primary schedule than a 1992 schedule (based on geography and being from New England)."

  2. How come the approval rating for the President didn't change from late May to early August?
    • Polling results taken in May (at the time of the Georgetown Law School graduation [#21]) are the same as those taken early August (51% in May and 51% just before the shooting [#25]). Quite a coincidence! Possible, but extremely unlikely. Of course, maybe the figures changed in those weeks and just hit the exact figure again at that point. Or, maybe, the writer forgot that there was two months between the two mentions.
    • On this subject, Alison Meloy writes, "here is a thought regarding the 51%. Presidential approval can remain highly consistent over time unless something drastic happens (war, impeachment, economic downturn). I am not saying it would be exactly the same, what five months later, but in the same ball park is expected. I base this on personal experience, as political polling is my field."

  3. If the Vice President "delivered the South" in Bartlet's Presidential election, how come they lost the Vice President's home state of Texas?
    • Maybe their Republican opponent was also from Texas and though they lost his home state, they took the rest of the South. But for the South as a whole to go for a New England Democrat is just about unheard of any time in the last few decades. Sometimes one wonders just how different this world is --- maybe they are just a little ahead of us.
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