A very good case can be made that the South Carolina Republican Party is the most detached from its people of all state parties. The First-in-the-South presidential primary makes this state the kingmaker. It’s not just first in the South, it’s the first red state primary. It’s a beacon call to base voters.
If you win here, you win the presidential nomination. Most winners of Iowa and New Hampshire go on to lose the Republican nomination for president. South Carolina has been the firewall in every Republican presidential primary for the last 40 years with the exception of 2012 when Newt Gingrich won but Romney got the nomination.
This creates a unique situation where hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into the South Carolina political economy: consultants, ads, campaign products, lobbyists, and corporate maneuvering. South Carolina doesn’t get publicity proportional to the resources that are expended here. Media networks focus their pre-election coverage on Iowa and New Hampshire—those states are more pozzed—but the grassroots game is several times-over more engaged in Carolina. It permeates everything.
We elect eight statewide constitutional officers. In the final month of an election cycle, 90 percent of TV ads are political. Mailboxes are stuffed daily with handfuls of campaign literature.
Our under-the-radar push polling is legendary, going back to Lee Atwater’s Reagan campaign in 1980. Then there was the 1988 Willie Horton ad. Then there was the 1999 McCain phone survey: “Would it affect your opinion about Senator McCain if you knew he had a black daughter living in South Carolina?” Politics here are more cartoon-like than anywhere. As the antebellum leader James Petigru once said, “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for insane asylum.”
The Southern hothouse of political shenanigans has led to family dynasties. Richard Quinn and his three adult children have been the reigning consultants for the last 20 years. Until recently. They’ve all been investigated, and many indictments have ensued in no small part due to statements from yours truly to the State Law Enforcement Division. High ranking elected office-holders have been removed from state offices, including the Speaker of the House (Rep. Bobby Harrell-R), the House Majority Whip (Rep. Rick Quinn-R), the Senate Majority Leader (Sen. John Courson-R), the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee (Rep. Tracy Edge-R), and the Director of the Labor Board (Rep. Jim Harrison-R).
SC GOP Convention
The South Carolina Republican Party held its 2019 State Convention last Saturday, May 18. It felt like a mob gathering, but the mob boss was missing and all of his lemmings had no leader. Puppets of “the Quinndom” still occupy the most influential offices, but the Quinns themselves wouldn’t dare show their faces. So many accusations against them have been made public that there is general bitterness for anything overtly connected to them.
Attendance was deliberately suppressed. Nothing was done to drive up interest. In fact, it was quite the opposite. All measures were taken to keep grassroots activism at a minimum. Many counties didn’t even seat their allotment of delegates. Delegates were hand-selected by insiders, and almost zero guests were in the gallery.
The Convention opened with a propaganda video to show that Lindsey Graham was the true face of the SC GOP. Eight years ago, he was the target of vociferous derision by the delegates. Quite the opposite today. He is basically Jesus, sacrificing himself for I Like Beer. When the infomercial ended, Lindsey took the stage. His first words: “Who out there liked my biscuits?” It was gay enough that you could hear scattered laughs. He provided breakfast for convention-goers from Chick-Fil-A. Then he gave a gay speech about Israel.
Governor Henry McMaster mentioned in his speech that, “Lindsey is closer to the president than just about anyone. Definitely closer than the First Lady. Monica Lewinsky spent less time in the Oval Office!”
The Convention headed into normal business. Temporary rules of the Convention were adopted. That was the trick. Roberts Rules of Order were tossed right off the bat. In a matter of minutes, the shitshow began.
The president of the Convention moved to accept by acclamation all four resolutions proposed by the Executive Committee. A procedural battle ensued to hold voice votes for each one individually. /Our guys/ won that one. Three resolutions were accepted without question: 1) Support for the Electoral College, 2) Support for Partisan Voter Registration, and 3) Opposition to Fusion Candidacy.
First, the Electoral College thing is a given. It shouldn’t have to be said that the GOP supports it. In fact, for the GOP establishment to say they’re taking the right position is actually probably a sign that they secretly plan to subvert it, as I will explain later.
Second, partisan voter registration is a bad thing, but even our best guys are fooled on that one. Ever since Lindsey Graham pulled a fast one in his 2008 GOP primary, many in the grassroots have voiced support for partisan primaries. The thought is that Dems were voting in the GOP primary to keep electing Lindsey. There’s no evidence of that. Just conjecture stemming from a comment Chuck Shumer made that year: “Why would we run a Democrat in that race when Sen. Graham is the best Democrat we could hope for?”
Fast-forward to 2016. Wherever there were open primaries, Trump won. Trump struggled in closed primaries, caucuses and state conventions, where GOP establishment insiders could put their hand on the scales for NeverTrump. But oh well. Our convention got cucked on that one. The resolution against open primaries won.
Third, the opposition to fusion candidacy was a direct targeting of Phil Black, who is self-described as alt-right and is the perennial primary opponent of Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC). Joe literally wears an Israeli flag lapel pin wherever he goes. In the last midterm cycle, Phil Black won the nomination of five parties, including the Democratic Party (hilarious shitshow at that state convention!) and the US Taxpayers Party in order to get more cumulative votes against Wilson in the general election. It didn’t work, but the party cucked to neocons to make sure it never works.
The big controversy was the fourth resolution in support of a Convention of States (CoS). There is a based core of state representatives who did everything in their power to hold up procedures in an attempt to open debate on the issue of a CoS, which would mean a full-blown Article V constitutional convention. Rep. Josiah Magnuson (R) and Rep. Jonathan Hill (R) tried to open debate, but they failed. They are part of a tiny but growing contingency, including Rep. Stewart Jones (R), who were Ron Paul hard-liners in 2008 and 2012. They feel like the Liberty Movement got screwed and have been leading an alt-lite resurgence via the John Birch Society.
The president of the convention ran the table with them procedurally. The convention hall erupted in boo’s no less than seven times. The convention president contended that /our guys/ did not have points-of-order since the temporary rules for the convention did not allow for debate before a vote. So the president said we’d have to re-open debate on acceptance of the rules. We tried, but the president made a judgement call from the podium that our division vote (show of hands) was in his favor. Delegates erupted and demanded a roll call vote, but the president ruled against it. That was the clincher. There was an attempt to appeal the decision, but the president ordered the Sergeant of Arms to remove any delegates who were not in order.
One lady grabbed a mic and yelled, “You do this every time! It leaves a bad taste in our mouths! Why can’t you just count the votes?” The predominant feeling was that a fair vote was never held, and debate was silenced with a heavy hand from the podium. People were mad and yelling about it.
An attempt was made to draw out debate by proposing a fifth resolution in support of the abortion ban, a la Alabama and others. Gov. McMaster had stated earlier in his speech that he would sign such a bill, but the convention president wouldn’t have it. The intentions of the executive committee and their parliamentarian were clear. Get this shitshow over before 12 noon. No anti-abortion resolution.
Elections were held. Another attempt was made to hold debate. Our based hard-right house members nominated delegates from the floor for every office. When their five minutes were given for campaign speeches, they ranted against the Con Con and in support of the anti-abortion resolution. “This is what happens when you let a convention decide!” they said. Then they each ended their speeches saying, “I just wanted a few minutes up here to speak the truth, and now I withdraw my candidacy.” It was a badass move.
When elections were over, /our guys/ made another attempt to re-open debate on the constitutional convention issue. Again, the president used procedural Talmudry to shut it down from the podium. He stated all of the different procedures that would have to be voted on before we could re-open the floor for debate, and then played it off as though the hard-liners were kooks who just wanted to keep us held up in a meeting all day. Time to go home folks, and it was only 1:05 PM.
The Red Pill
The CoS idea used to be right wing. It’s the idea of holding an actual binding full-scale constitutional convention with the goal of winning the final battle once and for all. In times past, social conservatives have pushed this idea with the goals to overturn Roe v. Wade and enshrine the 2nd Amendment.
In recent times, the CoS issue has been pushed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and company under the auspices of repealing the 2nd Amendment, dismantling the electoral college, expanding the Supreme Court, impeaching Trump, and establishing the Green New Deal. Formerly NeverTrump actors in the GOPe who are now aligned with Trump? Well, they are in support of the CoS and have built a coalition with the Left. They argue that most of the leftist agenda will never happen, and they can enshrine tax cuts. So basically they’re all bullshit.
Why would the GOP want their state parties to beg for a CoS? I don’t know. Maybe they think it will actually happen. Maybe it’s part of an incrementalist agenda.
Now is a good time to volunteer at the most basic level of political activism. Google your county’s Republican Party. Volunteer to be a precinct president. Chances are they have no one. If they do, they could still use a vice president and other officers. Ask your county chairman if they need delegates at your county convention. Go to your county convention and volunteer to be a delegate at your state convention. Then you can be part of the fun at your state’s shitshow.
The average GOP county chairman feels like a lone wolf and will rant endlessly about the problem of apathy. They might not even be afraid to back you up when your power levels start to show. They’re desperate for anyone with institutional knowledge who is still clear-eyed and idealist.
Next year will be an election year for RNC delegates. We all remember how crucial that was in 2016 in both major parties. Now is the time to get in place. It takes almost zero effort. Hell, I know a boomer delegate who stepped up to a mic and just said, “Subscribe to PewDiePie!” This is the year of the Great Signaling.