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Democratic Civil War In South Carolina




We’ve written a lot about the civil war going on within the “Republican” Party … invariably railing against establishment GOP candidates and supporting pro-freedom, pro-free market candidates.

Do we really care who wins the larger battle for the heart and soul of the party, though? No … the GOP is dead to us. And has been for some time. So while we’re happy to cast votes for the handful of Republicans who actually support the party’s “lower taxes, less government” mantra, we really don’t care what happens to the party itself.

The sooner it goes down, the better …

Anyway … while much of our attention has been focused on GOP infighting it turns out Democrats have a battle going on within their party. In fact my home state of South Carolina features a battle between a Democrat aggressively pushing the party’s core ideals and one viewed as more “GOP-friendly.”

Earlier this week, the S.C. Democratic Party’s executive committee unanimously endorsed one of these candidates … the ostensibly “GOP-friendly” one.

“Unlike Lindsey Graham, Brad Hutto will always put South Carolina first,” SCDP chairman Jaime Harrison said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “Lindsey Graham is more worried about world affairs and national television shows than he is the folks back home. Brad Hutto will make sure South Carolina gets its fair share in education funding and see that our rural infrastructure is strengthened – that’s the kind of leader we need in the Senate representing South Carolina.”

Obviously readers of FITS know Brad Hutto – a State Senator from rural Orangeburg County – is less about ideology and more about lining his own pockets. He’s among the state’s most ethically challenged trial lawyers, and he’s worked hard (and habitually) to make sure state laws governing his profession continue accruing to his personal financial benefit.

Is he ideologically all that much different than Jay Stamper – the unapologetic bleeding heart who is also running in the 2014 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate? Eh … not really. He’s certainly no different on the bread and butter fiscal issues that matter to us. And should matter to you.

Stamper isn’t going down without a fight, though. This week he issued a response to his state party coming out against him – basically accusing the South Carolina Democratic establishment of putting political expediency ahead of its principles.

Sound familiar? That’s the same (compelling) argument made against the GOP establishment by Tea Partiers and other limited government advocates.

“It’s not surprising that South Carolina’s state party establishment would endorse an NRA Democrat with a 100 percent rating from the conservative South Carolina Chamber of Commerce,” Stamper said. “The endorsement is consistent with South Carolina democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison’s belief that we need to act like Republicans to be elected as Democrats.”

We’ll forget for the moment that the NRA is a friendly incumbent organization (and that the S.C. Chamber of Commerce is slightly to the left of Chairman Mao) … and focus on Stamper’s basic point, which is worth considering.

“I’m proud to be a Democrat but I won’t fall in line behind a Democratic standard-bearer who thinks we should be dictating women’s reproductive choices, telling people who they can and can’t marry and siding with the NRA to allow guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol,” Stamper added. “I’ve paid a price for standing up to the party establishment – but it’s worth it. As Democrats, we’re here to stand up for working and middle class families. We’re here to support equal rights for all people, not just a few. But Jaime Harrison wants to stand with Lindsey Graham, Brad Hutto and the same big corporations he represents as a lobbyist for the Podesta Group.”

What’s he saying? That both major party frontrunners in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate race are nothing but tools of the Washington establishment – which is 100 percent accurate. Oh … and that neither major party frontrunner is adequately representing the views their party claims to stand for, which is also 100 percent accurate.

In other words there are fissures in both parties worth keeping an eye on in 2014 and beyond …