SC Politics

Guest Column: Young Constitutionalists Get Involved In South Carolina Elections

“The sovereignty of this government lies not in the pockets of lawyers and lobbyists but in the virtues of the citizenry.”

by ANDRE CHANG

A free government based upon the consent of the governed is not for the faint of heart. Yet, that is the great aspiration of the Founding Fathers in 1776 and the great inheritance of the people of South Carolina in 2024. However, we cannot take this inheritance for granted. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “if a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization it expects what never was and never will be.”    

It is these resounding words that offer insight into the basis upon which our organization, the Young Americans for Constitutionalism, rests. For the past few years, we have been operating as a political philosophy study group made up of undergraduates at the University of South Carolina dedicated to the rediscovery of the principles of the American Revolution. However, as the State House elections grow nearer, we have been compelled to undertake the initiative to join the political fray. Our ambition is simple. We aim to mobilize the best and brightest of South Carolina’s university students and restore the principles of natural right constitutionalism in our state government.

The fact of the matter is there exists a serious problem within the SCGOP. Nihilism, both consciously and unconsciously, has been adopted as the reigning political orthodoxy of South Carolina. This has led to ignorance of the principles of justice. Crony capitalism driven by a government of, by, and for lawyers is inexcusable. State-sponsored vice such as the government’s approval of (and profiteering from) online horse gambling is inexcusable. Career politicians’ treatment of political principles as toppings on a pizza – things that can be added or removed on a whim – is inexcusable. 

The nihilism of the political establishment has left them full of unqualified hubris. Even now, we are shocked and appalled by the loyalty pledge imposed on SCGOP members – and the subsequent expulsion of the Freedom Caucus from the GOP. This is disgraceful behavior and as elections grow nearer, we must remind them that the sovereignty of this government lies not in the pockets of lawyers and lobbyists but in the virtues of the citizenry. For too long, the political establishment has believed that the lack of accountability they have encountered means they are invulnerable. We, the Young Americans for Constitutionalism, aim to prove them wrong.

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University students in South Carolina cannot maintain our self-imposed exile from the politics of our community. As such, we now have students from both the University of South Carolina and Clemson who are joining this initiative as we unite to make the case against the nihilism of our status quo. We are partnering up with State House campaigns as we aim to push for more conservative candidates in the SCGOP. We will be writing a series of op-eds. We will be engaging in grassroots politics to try to change public opinion by introducing our youthful intellectual vigor into the upcoming State House elections. We are proud to say that our first public appearance outside of the University of South Carolina will be at state representative Jay Kilmartin’s kickoff event on January 18th. 

As members of the next generation, the Young Americans for Constitutionalism believe in the following: That constitutionalism must be reclaimed and that this nation still holds these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. We believe that constitutionalism must be revitalized, and that to rise to equality, we must rely upon the consent of the governed and earn the right to call ourselves the Party of Lincoln. We believe that constitutionalism must be restored and that there is a moral necessity to proudly proclaim that justice is the end of government as James Madison did in Federalist 51.

We thus call upon you, the people of South Carolina, to rise to the occasion and secure the blessings of liberty not only for yourselves but also for your posterity in this election year. Let us have faith that right makes might and in doing so, restore the proposition that we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Andre Chang is a Carolina scholar attending the University of South Carolina honors college. He is president of Young Americans for Constitutionalism and an undergraduate researcher in the University of South Carolina college of arts and sciences.

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20 comments

Rob January 14, 2024 at 9:52 pm

LOL

When I read or hear anyone claim to be a “constitutionalist,” I laugh, laugh, and laugh.

Hypocrites.

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The new conservative grift January 16, 2024 at 1:17 am

Of course, Fits”News” got duped by AI. Does it count when you prompt a ChatBot to write your material?

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Rob January 14, 2024 at 9:55 pm

“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. ”

Unless you are gay, trans, liberal, a minority they don’t like, or disagree with their politics. Then to hell with you.

Hypocrites.

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Vanessa Patrick Top fan January 15, 2024 at 8:29 am

I respect your willingness to hearken back to the aims of the founding fathers. However, you are certainly barking up the wrong tree if you think you can restore the GOP anywhere near their principles of long ago. They are sadly too far gone. Why not leverage your energies by working with and fine-tuning the Democratic Party? At least you would be starting much closer to the finish line. The Democrats already espouse most of what you are seeking but seriously need help to keep them between the lines and not (as so sadly did the GOP) head off the rails with those on the fringes.

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Andre January 15, 2024 at 3:30 pm

I appreciate your candor amidst of all the (for a lack of better words) “barking” that has proliferated this comment section. To answer your question and constructive criticism, I do agree that the the soul of the GOP is in a concerning state of affairs. However, I would contest your claim that fine tuning the Democratic Party is a viable political strategy in restoring the principles of the American Founding in the state of South Carolina.

For starters, the intellectual/philosophical infrastructure simply is not there. Both historically and in contemporary times, the Democratic Party has always been the voice of historicism implicitly believing in the inevitable forces of progress that renders old ideas obsolete creating a sense of moral relativism. Ie, the validity of political principles are contingent on historical circumstances, not on self evident and universal truths and since historical circumstances change and evolve over time, this way of thinking necessitates the assumption that fundamental political principles must also change and evolve over time. We see this narrative within the Democratic Party even in the writings of John C Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, etc.

So on philosophical grounds, to “fix” the Democratic Party and redirect it’s energies to the restoration of the American Revolution is a dubious proposition in 2024. In contrast, while the GOP has also fallen short of its declared fealty to the principles of 1776, it has at the very least given lip service to it. Hence why I would argue that genuine political change requires working within the GOP and encouraging prudence and statesmanship via appeal to natural right and principle. In short, a vindication of the principles of America requires a proper understanding of equality as a self evident truth via natural right, the Democratic Party’s liberalism has made them allergic to this philosophical concept, the Republican Party’s conservativism while sometimes distracting and often disappointing, offers the possibility for a rediscovery of the virtues of our politeia.

I hope this answers your questions that I am assuming you made in good faith.

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Rob January 15, 2024 at 10:09 pm

Well Andre, that’s certainly the right wing version of the Democrat party. You’ve nailed the talking points.

It’s nonsense, but it’s a fair regurgitation of Sean Hannity/Fox News 101.

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Rob January 15, 2024 at 10:15 pm

Andre

To correct you, no barking from me. I just posted an honest opinion of your column.

Of course, I actually worked in the General Assembly 30 years ago with all these “constitutionalists” and observed how they really were in their offices and behind the scenes. My favorites were the “bible believing Conservative Christians.”

I just had to keep telling the female interns to be careful. Some learned the difficult way.

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The new conservative grift January 16, 2024 at 1:25 am

A kid getting his answers from a AI site is the perfect encapsulation of “conservatives” desperation. Another epic fail from MAGA land.

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Andre January 15, 2024 at 3:39 pm

Also Vanessa Patrick, if you do indeed have the time and possess the intellectual curiosity to verify my claims. I wholeheartedly suggest that you give Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address speech a quick read. He elucidates a beautiful arguement that the opposition to slavery and vindication of republican freedom and equality requires a sense of conservatism as we hearken back to the American Founding. I, for one, believe that this remains relevant especially today.

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Losers gonna lose January 15, 2024 at 9:13 pm

It is 2023, why are Republicans embracing the Confederacy and neo-Nazis now?

Why is today’s Republican Party cozying up to Putin and other authoritarians, while embracing anti-liberty and anti-freedom positions when it comes to women’s rights and others? Why are Republicans suppressing the vote where they have the power to do so? Why are Republican voters saying out-loud that they want a dictator in Trump?

Republicans have been openly anti-liberty AND anti-freedom for years now. How do you reconcile that with your views on liberty and freedom?

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JustCallMeAva Top fan January 15, 2024 at 10:02 am

You mean like that “young constitutionalist” who got busted in a bar in MYB along with her Mama in a barroom brawl? The SC GOP’s Political Director? Oh yeah, the future looks very promising for the GOP with these kinds of young people involved. Meanwhile, you got the GOP front runner declaring he’s a king who can never be brought up on charges ever, for anything, for all time and the Gov of Texas dropping off immigrants any and everywhere and allowing 3 to drown, all the while proclaiming he’s a KKKhristian. Keep it classy GOPers!

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VERITAS Top fan January 15, 2024 at 1:56 pm

Andre Chang, please do not be discouraged by the ignorant and indoctrinated leftist mumbo jumbo as evidenced in some comments here. You certainly have your work cut out for you. The current GOP is a dead soul. The Democrats/marxists want to have your head. Stay focused. Be brave. Be bold. Always tell the truth and remain faithful to your aim. There are plenty of us with you.

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Losers gonna lose January 15, 2024 at 2:45 pm

The voters for the party that is financially supported by the ex-head of the KGB is worried about “Marxists”?

Why does self-awareness flee at maximum speed away from you dolts?

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Rob January 15, 2024 at 10:12 pm

VERITAS

There is a reason Vladimir Putin has been reported by Russian media to be waiting for Donald Trump to win the Presidency. It’s not because of concern.

You sound like a snowflake.

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The new conservative grift January 16, 2024 at 1:22 am

VERITAS is gonna be sad when he finds out his new hero is a bad AI.

Tired of #winning yet?

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Losers gonna lose January 15, 2024 at 2:42 pm

How long before one of these kids is outed as one of those nazi loving “freedom and Liberty” types?

Don’t tell me….It’s already happened, right?

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VERITAS Top fan January 15, 2024 at 6:40 pm

“Nazi” and “freedom and liberty” is an oxymoron . . . bucket of water with a 1,000 holes.

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Losers gonna lose January 15, 2024 at 9:06 pm

And yet, Republicans embrace nazis, while crying about “Liberty and freedom”.

Who is that?

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The new conservative grift January 16, 2024 at 1:30 am

Welp, the future of the Republican Party is here. Kids tricking the olds that using AI to make their arguments will win elections.

Y’all need to work some major kinks out.

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Tom January 18, 2024 at 11:51 am

Andre, You are young and inexperienced. I was once as well, but as I grew older and lived in the real world, outside of academia; I realized, that modern politicians are not enlightened gentlemen with a classical liberal education. In fact, they will not even understand what I mean by a classical liberal education. While we still have a few who can understand Constitutional Law and philosophy, they are few and far between. For the large part, politicians break not along liberal and conservative lines, they break along the lines of politicians who think money and power are more important than doing what is right for the people and politicians who think doing what is right for the people is more important than money and power. Sadly that now seems to fall along party lines as well. This is why you see the Republican Party under Trump increasingly embracing Russian-style autocracy, which is just thinly veiled fascism.

In the end, I can assure you people like you will not want to live in a country dominated by today’s Republican Party. They do not believe there is a place for you in our system; because (regardless of what they say to your face) in their world you are not a real American. Nikki Haley is experiencing that right now as Trump turns his attack on her using words designed to remind the MAGA base that “Nimrada” (sp) is not a real American.

My advice for you, if you don’t think you can work with Democrats for the good of the people become an independent. I happen to think that a big tent party that has brought us a record stock market, record low unemployment, a soaring GDP, and the rapid return of manufacturing to America, is a party that I can get behind and help shape for the good of the country. But don’t think you can fix the Republican Party from within. Unless they are defeated soundly over and over at the polls, they will never change from what Trump has made them; a neo-fascist organization dominated by strong men who are supported by spineless cowards who hope proximity will bring them money and power.

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