FEEDBACK:  Two are hopeful about Democrats’ chances in S.C.

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Four ways Dems can do something different in 2018

To the editor:

Brack wonders if S.C. Dems will squander another political opportunity in 2018.  As he mentioned, Dems’ track record is not good and if the same tired, Republican-lite approach is used, the outcome will likely be the same.  So, what needs to be different?

  1. Gerrymandered districts are real, but they exist in both parties.  For some Dems, being in a “safe district,” (which favors the incumbent), keeping their  legislative seats is more important than making key changes that could help their constituents and their party, so playing it safe becomes the mantra. No risk may keep one safe but rarely does it cause real progress.
  2. Money is always an issue and Dems almost always have less of it than their opposition. How can that be overcome?  Remember Bernie Sanders and his campaign supported by thousands of small donors? With independence from huge donors, a candidate can have more freedom to craft his/her own message rather than depending on spinners and pollsters to craft a message that will appeal to large donors or at least one that won’t offend them.  When on the stump, authenticity is probably the most essential element a candidate can have.  How can one be truly authentic when the message does not come from the candidate’s own heart?
  3. In addition to authenticity of the candidate,  the message itself must be authentic.  Bernie’s populist message was authentic, but unfortunately, Trump was allowed to highjack that phrasing and bastardize its meaning.  He got elected largely because of that and Dems still do not seem to understand that.  For too many Dems in this state, the word “grassroots”  is anathema.  Yet it is the grassroots that makes phone calls, knocks doors, makes small donations, and generally puts in the grunt work of a campaign and THEIR needs should be somewhere at the top of the list of a candidate’s reasons to run.
  4. Dems must give voters something worthwhile to vote FOR.   It is always a good idea to register more voters, but when those voters don’t see the benefit of turning out on election day, it doesn’t really matter how many new people have registered.  What matters is how many of them and other voters saw no personal benefit in voting.

In addition to the things that Brack mentions as being real benefits to Dems this election cycle, there are two others that I see.  One is the Dem party chair, Trav Robertson.   He is experienced, dedicated to his job, and tough as nails.  No political grass grows under Trav’s feet.  The other is James Smith.  Though other gubernatorial candidates have been and are commendable, Rep. Smith has a somber, authentic presence about him, wrapped up in an Andy Griffith demeanor of ethical allegiance.  As Brack said, “populist Democrats could have a field day on the election trail.”  May it be so!

— Carol Dodson, Elgin, S.C.

Dems have great chances in 2018

To the editor:

When I think about Democrats these days, I separate them into 1) candidates and 2) party.  On the ground, with the help of the women’s movement and groups like Indivisible, there has been a fearlessness to confront issues and support democratic values that I haven’t seen here in South Carolina in quite a while.  On the other hand, the party continues to be cautious, looking for safe candidates and races, trying not to make waves.

A few months ago, with little support from the Democratic Party, Archie Parnell came just a few points shy of winning the special election in (U.S. House) District 5.  And there are great candidates stepping up to run in 2018, who are running for local, state and national offices, on a platform to fight for all the Americans whose rights are being threatened, as well as good jobs, education and a healthy environment.

So I am going to say that Democrats have a great chance in 2018, and we can do it without tons of money and whether or not the party decides to jump in.

— Agnes Pomata, Wadmalaw Island, S.C.

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