Why is the Republican Party taking its cues from China?
If you are a Republican in South Carolina you should be more than bothered by the South Carolina Republican Party’s Executive Committee’s recent decision to cancel the South Carolina primary. This means that your voice in the 2020 political process was just knocked-out.
In Trump’s campaign, he promised to “drain the swamp” but if this isn’t a display of “politics as usual” I don’t know what is. What it is, is pure law of the jungle and brute force politics. Shutting down elections is always good for the incumbent and accordingly this benefits the President. I understand the strategy, but the question for the rest of us as South Carolinians is whether it benefits us?
The answer is no, for three reasons.
First, each of us loses our voice and our right to vote. The idea of taking electioneering tactics from China and North Korea is in itself troubling, but the more practical question for each one of us rests in South Carolina’s historically unique status as the “First in the South” presidential primary. This has meant that candidates have criss-crossed our state many times over as they attempt to connect with Palmetto State voters. They don’t bother to go to many other states with populations of the same size or greater, but doing so means that South Carolinians could go to town hall meetings and actually talk to candidates and the national press corps. As one who has run his share of races over the years, I can say first-hand that those conversations matter. Those opportunities will now be lost with the Executive Committee’s decision to deny South Carolinians the chance to express their beliefs and views on the national stage. Sadly this chance comes only once every four years.
Second, we lose collectively as a state. We are certainly a great people…but there are many talented individuals in different states across this country. Yet over and over again, our state has seen South Carolinians elevated to plum political assignments because of our “First in the South” primary. Just to name a few, former governor Jim Edwards became Secretary of Energy under Ronald Reagan because of our early primary. Former governor Dick Riley became Secretary of Education under President Clinton because of our early primary. Former Speaker of the S.C. House David Wilkins became Ambassador to Canada because of our early primary. In just the last election cycle, former governor Nikki Haley became the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, and Ed McMullin the Ambassador to Switzerland for the same reason. Certainly each of these individuals were talented in his or her own right, but the question of talent lies in whether or not it has the chance to be recognized. Our early primary status gave us this opportunity. What this has in turn meant is that we have had profound influence in the decisions that get made in Washington based on the people that we sent there. This matters in money for the Port in Charleston, a federal pilot program in Marion County or a vendor selection in Anderson.
Third and finally, there are issues at play in this election cycle that need our deliberation, discussion, and focus. I’m running as a Republican for the office of President of the United States to try and raise awareness on the enormity of the financial disaster our country faces and its impact on each one of us. We are walking our way toward the most predictable financial storm in the history of our nation. Our debt has seen the fastest increase in our nation’s history under this president, and his proposals on domestic discretionary spending put his budget about 20% above President Obama’s. We will now run more than a trillion dollar financial deficit this year, and we have never done that before under benign economic conditions. This president declared and promised to eliminate the debt over the eight years that he might have in office, and yet his own budgets propose raising the national debt by nine trillion dollars over the next 10 years. If these empty promises aren’t things worthy of a debate, I don’t know what is.
If you agree on these points, I’d ask that you pick up the phone and call Drew McKissick, the South Carolina GOP Chairman at (803) 988-8440. His email is email@example.com.
What’s transpired here is not only error in judgement it is wrongful neglect of their responsibilities to present all interested Republicans with a choice of candidates. They are breaking their own party rules to do this and it’s never been about money, a point well editorialized on by the Post and Courier paper in Charleston. It is my hope that the Executive Committee will take it upon themselves to amend and correct their decisions.
Mark Sanford is a 2020 Republican presidential candidate, former Governor of South Carolina, and former U. S. Congressman for South Carolina’s First District.