MEET THE MAN BEHIND THIS SPECIAL INTEREST “MOVEMENT”
We’ve written extensively about the battle between “Big Liquor” and, well … anything that gets in its way in South Carolina (including our state’s existing laws).
(For the latest status report on this ongoing legislative battle, click here).
This special interest effort has been backed by “conservative” lobbyists like former S.C. Speaker David Wilkins and former S.C. Speaker Pro Tempore Harry Cato. It’s also been endorsed by the center-right advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, the group subsidized by billionaire industrialists Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch.
The goal of this well-heeled assemblage of power brokers? To give Big Liquor – a.k.a. Maryland-based Total Wine and More – a gift-wrapped competitive advantage at the expense of true competition, thus creating decreased selection and higher prices for South Carolina consumers.
Not to mention shuttering dozens of stores and doing away with hundreds of jobs …
Does that sound like “free market liquor reform?” Of course not … but this is South Carolina, where anti-competitive, anti-jobs special interest handouts are routinely disguised using such labels. Usually with “Republican” politicians and “conservative” organizations leading the charge to pass the harmful measures.
We’ve consistently opposed such charades. We’ve also consistently opposed this special interest sop … arguing that if lawmakers are going to change the state’s liquor laws, they ought to do away with all regulations on production, sale and distribution.
“If a law on the books is being ignored in such a manner as to artificially raise prices on consumers – and if existing laws are being ‘reformed’ in such a way as to jack those prices even higher, then we’ve got a big problem with that,” we wrote last fall.
What hasn’t been discussed much over the course of this battle, though? The man behind the movement to create an effective “liquor monopoly” in the Palmetto State.
He’s the answer to the question: Cui Bono? Which is to say, “who benefits.”
His name? David Trone. His position? Co-owner of Total Wine and More.
We probably wouldn’t have known much about Trone were it not for his recent decision to run for the U.S. Congress – Maryland’s eighth congressional district, to be precise.
Naturally Trone – who has co-opted the Palmetto State’s “Republican” establishment and has “conservative” activists advancing his crony capitalist handout – is running as a “Republican,” right?
He’s a raging liberal.
“The only people we need to deport are politicians like Donald Trump,” he said.
The last time we checked, Trump was the runaway favorite of GOP voters in the very state Trone is seeking to shove his special interest sop through a “Republican-controlled” legislature.
On education, Trone supports universal government-subsidized pre-Kindergarten, federal Common Core standards and massive new taxpayer investments. On health care, he supports Obamacare. In fact he wants to expand Medicaid spending – and is criticizing “Republican” politicians who refuse to do so.
“In too many states, Republican governors and legislators have chosen politics over people, and refused to expand Medicaid,” he said.
For those of you keeping score at home, Trone just attacked the S.C. General Assembly – which rejected this very expansion in 2013.
Last November, Trone hosted U.S. president Barack Obama at his home in Maryland for one of the largest Democratic National Committee fundraisers of the year. The price of admission? A whopping $20,000 per couple.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Trone is currently using footage of Obama’s remarks from this event in one of his campaign commercials – implying that he has Obama’s endorsement. His liberal opponents are apoplectic, but Obama’s flattering words about Trone – including the remark “we could run him for something” – speak for themselves.
Pay attention, South Carolina lawmakers … is this really the sort of person our GOP legislature is going to allow to steamroll small and medium-sized liquor stores?
Seriously … lawmakers shouldn’t erode competition, decrease choices, raise prices and eliminate jobs on behalf of anyone, no matter what they believe. But they sure as hell shouldn’t do so on behalf of someone like David Trone.