The Democratic Party in South Carolina might as well be dead … and that’s just fine for the Palmetto State’s entrenched fiscally liberal establishment.

How come? The state’s “Republican” Party has got them covered.

Seriously … after more than a dozen years of GOP rule, big government in the Palmetto State has never had it so good. Of course when it comes to the people paying for all that government growth … things are not so good (here and here).

Anyway …

South Carolina Democrats have yet to figure out their brand of fiscal liberalism has been totally co-opted by the GOP. Compounding matters, the GOP has figured out that South Carolinians are dumb enough to continue electing “Republican” candidates on platforms of less government and lower taxes – even though these candidates flip-flop after assuming office and become far worse on fiscal issues than the Democrats they defeated.

It’s a vicious cycle …

Up in Abbeville, S.C., though, one Democrat has figured out that if paying lip service to lower taxes and less government works for the GOP … it could work for him.

“Tombo” Hite – who announced his candidacy for the S.C. State House this week – says he’s running on a platform of “improving public schools, keeping taxes low, cutting spending, and investing in the children of South Carolina.”

Hmmmmm … don’t get us started on “public schools” and “for the children” rhetoric.

But on the fiscal references, “Tombo” appears to be taking a page out of S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers’ book. Sellers – who is running for lieutenant governor of South Carolina – is a die hard proponent of the state’s government-run school system, but he’s also adopted some sensible centrist positions on fiscal issues.

In fact he’s vowed to block “Republican” plans to raise the state’s gas tax …

Democrats are on life support in South Carolina. Their gubernatorial candidate – Vincent Sheheen – is running perhaps the worst political campaign we’ve ever seen against vulnerable incumbent Nikki Haley. Meanwhile their other statewide candidates are dropping like flies.

No wonder they are so excited about having a “fantastic” candidate for S.C. House District 11 – one of those many regions of the Palmetto State that time forgot.

“Tombo Hite is a man of great integrity and deep faith with an unwavering commitment to both his community and state,” said S.C. House minority leader Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia). “He is a strong supporter of our public schools, will fight to keep taxes low, and make sure the interests of rural South Carolina don’t take a back seat to the interests of Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston. We are very excited about Tombo’s candidacy and believe he has a terrific chance to win in November.”

Wait … the Democratic minority leader is praising a candidate for fighting to “keep taxes low?”

Interesting …

Hite is running against “Republican” incumbent Craig Gagnon – who won the seat in 2012 because Democrats split their votes between the party’s official nominee and a left-leaning petition candidate.

Activists say that won’t happen this time.

“This is a prime pick-up seat for Democrats this year,” party operative Tyler Jones said.

He’s right … assuming you agree there’s a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties (in South Carolina or beyond).

From where we sit, no matter who wins this seat taxpayers are looking at a “status quo hold.”

And sadly, the same goes for most of the other 169 legislative seats …