South Carolina is viewed around the nation as one of the “reddest” states in America – and from a purely partisan perspective this chromatic assessment is accurate. The Palmetto State’s nine electoral votes are a virtual lock for Republicans to capture every election cycle – as the last Democrat to win the presidential vote in South Carolina was Jimmy Carter way back in 1976. Both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats are controlled by the GOP, as are all eight of its statewide offices and six of its seven congressional districts.
The only congressional seat currently held by Democrats? One which was specifically drawn as a “majority-minority” district.
Democrats have not won a statewide election in South Carolina in fifteen years – and the elected official who won that race (former state superintendent of education Jim Rex) is no longer a member of the Democratic party.
In the state legislature – which dominates policymaking in the Palmetto State – Republicans are on the cusp of supermajorities in both the S.C. House of Representatives and the S.C. Senate. As of this writing, the GOP controls 81 of 124 seats in the House (65.3 percent) and 30 of 46 seats in the Senate (65.2 percent).
So yeah … South Carolina is red. Bright red. In fact, the GOP cemented its hold over the state in last fall’s elections when a “red storm” driven by national polarization swept over the ballot.
What has “Republican rule” meant for South Carolina’s citizens and taxpayers, though? Republicans claim to be for limited government and more personal freedom. They claim to support free markets and oppose government intervention.
But do they?
Since taking control of both chambers of the state legislature two decades ago, “Republicans” have grown government at obscene levels (yet still managed to shortchange its core functions). They have regressively raised taxes. They have given billions of dollars to corporate cronies at the expense of small businesses. And they have presided over disastrous government meddling in the private sector … on multiple fronts.
Making matters worse, they have rejected reforms aimed at bringing about some long overdue market-based accountability to South Carolina’s failed institutions – choosing instead to pay lip service to these necessary changes.
Not surprisingly, the outcomes produced by this government have been atrocious. South Carolina’s workforce remains one of the nation’s smallest – and poorest. Its government-run schools remain among the worst in the nation. Its roads remain the nation’s deadliest. And crime is steadily rising.
Is that really what “Republicans” stand for?
My news outlet has spent the better part of the past decade-and-a-half advocating on behalf of freedom and free markets at all levels of government – challenging politicians of both parties to adopt reforms that materially advance what I believe to be the twin pillars of a just, safe and prosperous society.
They have utterly failed to do so …
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In recent years, others have begun to take notice of the expanding disconnect between what South Carolina Republicans say they believe and what they actually do once they are in office. According to state ratings compiled last spring by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), the Palmetto State “has the most liberal lawmakers of any state in the country where Republicans control both the legislature and governor’s office.”
“It is especially sad to see how some Republicans of the South Carolina General Assembly appear to have lost their way and become enamored with the Left’s misguided ideas about government control of economic opportunities,” the group’s chairman Matt Schlapp said.
Sad indeed …
“Republican rule has done little good for the Palmetto State – as fiscally liberal, anti-free market policies have remained order of the day,” I wrote last fall, calling out “former” Democrats like Senate finance committee chairman Hugh Leatherman and judiciary chairman Luke Rankin for their starring roles in perpetuating the failed status quo.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, my news outlet published an editorial speculating as to whether Republicans would “finally act like Republicans” in light of their near supermajorities in both chambers.
Sadly, no … GOP lawmakers are still clinging to outdated models. They are still blowing billions of taxpayer dollars with no accountability. They are still kowtowing to big corporations at the expense of taxpayers and small businesses. They are still subsidizing the left-wing indoctrination of future generations by subsidizing non-essential higher education programs (and reelecting the liberal leaders of these institutions).
What has the “Republican” majority done so far this year?
It has passed a new abortion law that has no chance of ever being implemented. It has passed a duplicative “hate crime” bill that raises serious constitutional concerns regarding the criminalization of thought (ostensibly because the “business community” demanded it). It has maintained a malignant, debt-addled utility as a cancer on the body politic. It has doubled down on corporate cronyism. It has put even more liberals in charge of higher education.
Has it cut taxes? No. Has it cut spending? No. Has it expanded liberty? No. Has it expanded parental choice in education? No. Has it reformed its antiquated government structure? No. Has it strengthened ethics laws (and penalties) to crack down on corruption? No.
In other words, as a libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative I can say without fear of contraction that South Carolina’s “Republican” majority has done absolutely nothing for me – nor has it done anything for my businesses or my family.
I am just one voice, though. In the coming weeks and months, I plan on offering my microphone to anyone in the Palmetto State who wants to answer a very simple question: What has “Republican” rule in South Carolina done for me? You can email me your answer (text or video) here. Just be sure to reference the “Republican” rule subject in the headline of your email and include your name and hometown.
I will be featuring responses to this question in a revived version of our old “Voter Voice” segment – which allowed Palmetto State residents to sound off on the issues that matter to them.
Obviously, I have strong opinions on what two decades of GOP rule has accomplished (or rather failed to accomplish) for the Palmetto State. I look forward to hearing what you think, though … and sharing your perspectives with other FITSNews readers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading.
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