Something interesting is occurring in Columbia. Though the 2023 legislative session is barely one month old, a significant change appears to be underway. It’s happening slowly and by degrees, but it appears to be happening nonetheless.
We may be witnessing the birth of the most conservative GOP-led South Carolina House of Representatives ever.
Consider what transpired on the House floor last Wednesday when H. 3728 – the “Transparency and Integrity in Education Act” – was taken up. A key component of this bill is a ban on race-based instruction including critical race theory (CRT) – which promotes the belief that certain groups of people are inherently racist and that racism is deeply ingrained in the fabric of American society.
Several states around the country are slamming the brakes on this divisive doctrine being taught within government-run classrooms. The measure debated last week would add South Carolina to their ranks. So far, so good.
The problem was the original version of H. 3728 had some flaws. Chief among them, the original version of the legislation contained a so-called “Parental Pledge of Responsibility.” Pause for a moment and let that sink in: This would have required law-abiding moms and dads to adhere to a pledge of government-sanctioned conduct in raising their children.
The pledge and other onerous items were removed via a series of amendments, and the bill proceeded to win approval via an 83-34 vote.
Predictably, the education bureaucracy and its water-bearers in the S.C. Democratic Party (SCDP) howled in outrage. What was unusual, however, was the chamber’s GOP party bosses were likewise fuming at the outcome. Though harder to spot and less publicly vocal, their anger still bubbled under the surface. Because they recognize a shift to the right is occurring on their watch. And it could signal more trouble ahead for the Establishment in the very near future.
Driving this sudden shift is the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservatives who say they are dedicated to legislating in accordance with the principles upon which they campaigned – and were elected.
“Having a group of legislators willing to keep their colleagues accountable is forcing the greater Republican Caucus to the right,” explained Adam Morgan, chairman of the caucus. “They have no choice but to bring our legislative agenda items to the floor. If they don’t, it puts members of the Moderate Caucus in a bad position having to defend a super majority that fails to pass conservative legislation.”
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Tellingly, the Freedom Caucus is also picking up support from House members it describes as “allies,” those who are not actual Caucus members but who are ideologically compatible with its guiding conservative principles.
That has GOP party bosses in the House increasingly alarmed. “They’re concerned their members are sensing a change in the prevailing political winds,” one observer said, “and they are afraid more defections are in store soon.”
Having successfully flexed its new-found muscle on the floor last week on the CRT issue, opportunities to inject more conservative approaches into high-profile legislation are right around the corner. Abortion, concealed carry, certificate of need repeal, and a parental bill of rights are just a few of the hot-button issues on deck awaiting lawmakers’ consideration.
Could the most conservative House since the GOP won control of the legislature a generation ago be shaping up? It’s too early to tell. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.
But if the Freedom Caucus continues gaining traction within the chamber, it is a distinct possibility.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at [email protected].
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The CRT bill solved a problem that never existed. Good job doing busy work that further divides us.
More accurate hed–
Conservative South Carolina Lawmakers shout at clouds.
I hope they wrap this up so the Easter Bunny legislation doesn’t get delayed.
It is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Except in this case it does exhibit the alarming growth of open racism within the Republican Party. Not that it was not there before. It has been the lifeblood of the SC GOP for two decades. But now it is open and it is ugly. You can’t say racism is deeply ingrained in American Society? Really? Anyone who grew up in this state and does not know that racism is deeply ingrained in SC is either stupid or lying (hint they are lying). But of course, the GOP does not want anyone saying that because the Republican Party in SC would be Exhibit A of racism ingrained in American Society. Hell, less than a decade ago the SC Chair of the Republican party, said the main reason he got into politics, was the federal government desegregated the schools and forced him to go to school with black kids. Thats what the whole school choice thing is about.
The ‘Freedom Caucus’ is never going to grow a hold in the South Carolina House. They are paper tigers, they held a press conference decrying how judges are elected in South Carolina. In the lobby of the statehouse they banged on about the process being secretive and undemocratic. Lobbyists were chuckling at their promises to reform the process.
The most egregious of the judicial elections was the Supreme Court seat where two candidates were forced to drop out to clear the way for Justice Hill.
The cackling hyenas in the lobby made fun of them when Rep. Alan Morgan and Rep. Ashley Trantham promised to fight for an improved process. Yet, instead of voting against Hill those two voted for him. Of the eight votes against Hill, only Reps. Beach, Harris and Magnuson of the ‘Freedom Caucus’ voted on their principles. Republican Sen. Senn and five Democrats voted no on their principles.
If a group is to take hold the leaders holding a press conference need to go in to the chamber and vote in line with their rants at a press conference.
Finally, Rs are taking a stand against the Left’s woke agenda. CRT defines people based on skin color, not content of character as Dr.Martin Luther King believed. Indoctrinating kids (& professionals) to believe our society discriminates against Blacks in education, corporate, athletics, etc. is a lie designed to foment racial antagonism while organizations such as BLM destroy cities and Patrisse Cullors buys ~4 million in real estate.
SC is taking measures to purge aspects of the woke agenda from its state. Good.
I’m pretty sure you are a prime example of ingrained racism in SC. You are so racist you don’t even know everything you just said indicates you despise black people.
“How are we gonna get reelected if we can’t distract people and make them focus on “wokeness” instead of the fact that we’re picking their pockets?!?!?”
-the politicians that conned this clown posing as a journalist