I don’t know who the next chairman of the South Carolina Republican party (SCGOP) will be – and frankly I don’t care. The party has been “tits on a bull” as far as I am concerned – which is to say utterly worthless. What has “GOP rule” in South Carolina done for me? For my family? For my businesses? For my community? For my state?
Not much. In fact the last time I checked, “Republican rule” was moving the Palmetto State in the wrong direction … on multiple fronts.
Anyway, as the increasingly caustic campaign for the leadership of this party approaches a point of critical mass, I felt obligated to weigh in not on the merits or demerits of either of the two candidates currently campaigning – two-term incumbent Drew McKissick and challenger Lin Wood – but rather on an issue of fundamental fairness.
One that all participants in this tent-shrinking exercise should be able to agree on …
In recent weeks, numerous allegations have been leveled at the current leadership of the SCGOP regarding “rigged” delegate counts. In fact, Wood backers believe the ostensibly insurmountable delegate advantage asserted by McKissick supporters is the result of rigged voting at the county level.
They further assert these alleged shenanigans at the county level portend a rigged vote at a “virtual” state convention scheduled for next month in Columbia, S.C.
Do I believe these allegations? Eh … not necessarily. Wood and his supporters have made some pretty outlandish claims over the course of this election. Which is why I view these “rigged vote” allegations cum oceanum salis.
Having said that, as I noted in a post earlier this week the delegate count touted by McKissick and his backers is not consistent with results I have been provided by sources at the county level. I am not saying McKissick is losing to Wood – but I do believe the race is much closer than the GOP establishment thinks.
Who is telling the truth regarding the delegate count?
Again, I do not know. And to be perfectly blunt: When it comes to the outcome of this particular partisan race, I’m rooting for chaos. Cacophonies. And most of all, clicks.
Bring me il furore, as the Italians say. La passione.
But for those who are invested in the outcome one way or the other (or who share my love of mayhem), there is a foolproof way of finding out for sure where things stand next month when the ballots are counted. Ready? Count the ballots.
A novel concept, right?
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A total of 870 delegates will vote next month to determine the next SCGOP party chairman. To win, a candidate needs to capture 436 of these delegates (assuming all delegates turn in ballots in a two-person race). As of this writing, voting for SCGOP chair is scheduled to be conducted electronically at a “virtual” SCGOP convention – which party officials insist is necessary due to the lingering coronavirus pandemic.
Wait … has South Carolina not reopened its doors for business? Is Covid-19 not in retreat? And wasn’t the GOP the anti-mask party already, anyway?
I mean, party officials are certainly well within their rights to require convention attendees to wear masks and maintain social distance, but beyond that is a virtual convention really necessary at this point? And is electronic voting really required?
Again, I have zero interest in who wins this race … and I believe the Republican party is headed toward an unavoidable implosion irrespective of its outcome.
More than at any point prior, the GOP’s “big tent” is being ripped apart – with fiscal “moderates,” #NeverTrumpers, neoconservatives, libertarian-leaners, social conservatives and MAGA warriors all seemingly at odds with each other depending on the day. In fact, the spat between McKissick and Wood pits two hardcore Trump supporters against each other – although McKissick has enraged conservative activists by meddling on behalf of fiscally liberal GOP candidates in recent primary elections.
Still …. shouldn’t a vote of party delegates be conducted out in the open?
And more importantly … shouldn’t that vote have a paper trail? One preserved in perpetuity in the event its legitimacy is called into question?
I certainly think so …
That’s why South Carolina Republicans should insist on holding an in-person convention next month. It’s also why they should require the use of paper ballots by delegates who vote in the chairman’s race (same goes for South Carolina Democrats, who are also staring down a contested race for their party’s top leadership post).
SCGOP officials should embrace this suggestion. After all, If their delegate counts are accurate then McKissick is gong to crush Wood next week by a 3-to-1 margin (at least). That’s an outcome they should be doing everything within their power to legitimize – not undermine.
Bottom line? If the SCGOP holds an electronic vote at a virtual convention next month and McKissick prevails – by any margin – Wood supporters are going to raise hell and burn that mother down. To the ground. The vote will forever be considered to have been “rigged” – and no one will ever be able to convince Wood’s allies (or many who are watching this race from the sidelines) that it was legitimate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children (including baby Matty, pictured above).
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