Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006
needs real two-party system
SC Statehouse Report
5 , 2007 - - South Carolina needs a real two-party political
system. Otherwise, the state's political process becomes one-sided,
which isn't healthy for any democracy.
Unless something big changes, it looks like a virtual one-party
system could be coming on Election Day. Republicans are poised
to pick up all of the state's constitutional officers for
the first time and to continue control of the Statehouse.
In effect, the state could be completely run by Republicans,
even though Gov. Mark Sanford often bickers and battles with
the General Assembly.
Brack, publisher of S.C. Statehouse Report, will
provide analysis and commentary of the 2006 elections
on election night.
While a complete shift in power to the GOP might be hailed
as great by many, it's really not in the best interest of
the state. For a democracy to be truly healthy, it needs broad
and full debates and arguments over the big issues - - jobs,
health care, education, environment and more.
But with one party completely controlling the agenda, debate
can be muted. Opposition is often steamrollered. The majority
is able to push things through without much of a peep from
the minority opposition. What may be in the best interest
of the whole state - - the common good - - becomes subjugated
to the political ideology of one party.
Republican domination of South Carolina has been two generations
in the making. Before the 1960s, Republicans were almost scarce
species in the state. Then when the late U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence
switched to the GOP in 1962, followed by the late U.S. Sen.
Strom Thurmond two years later, the state's Republican Party
started picking up steam.
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
A decade of building and networking led to the party getting
its first Republican governor in modern times with the 1974
election of Jim Edwards. With more party-building and the
hard-knuckled politics of people like Lee Atwater, Republicans
regained the top job in 1986 with Carroll A. Campbell Jr.
With Campbell, a master party-builder, in power, Democrats
started defecting into the GOP in droves. But also during
the legislative sessions during Campbell's tenure in the late
1980s and early 1990s, South Carolina became a true two-party
state. Debates were rollicking. Arm-twisting and politicking
reached interesting new levels. But even though Campbell had
a Democratic-controlled General Assembly and partisanship
was high, both parties worked together to craft generally
good policy for the state as a whole.
In other words, all of the raucous debate forced people with
vastly different opinions to talk and compromise. Important
issues weren't ramrodded through, as they often are today.
In the long run, the democracy was healthier because of the
divergence of opinions that existed.
Since the Campbell era, the GOP has continued to grow in
power as state and national Democrats imploded.
These days while South Carolina Democrats continue to stumble
and falter, Democrats nationally appear to be on the rise
again. One of the chambers of the U.S. Congress may become
controlled by Democrats after several years of GOP control.
Many analysts say this will restore balance to the system.
And while it may also cause change to become hung up due to
politics, that's not necessarily a bad thing in the long run.
Why? Because it means change will be better considered over
In South Carolina, the near-term political reality is that
Republicans will largely be in control as the state continues
to struggle with education, health care, poverty, obesity
and a list of issues that seems endless. It may take a few
years of political monopoly for people to realize a vigorous
two-party system is really better for the state.
A fundamental foundation of American democracy is the system
of checks and balances. While these structures don't erode
with one party in power, if those doing the checking or balancing
have the same political ideas as the ones being checked or
balanced, then true checks and balances lose their power.
A two-party system (or even a multi-party system) keeps checks
and balances healthy. You might want to consider this any
time you vote.
Send your comments to Andy Brack at email@example.com.
His book of commentary, Bugging
the Palmettos, is available for
here for more.
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
10/30: Great column
Just wanted to let you know that I read your column on a
weekly/daily basis and your latest one, "Look
at job before deciding how it should be filled",
was excellent! Keep up the good work!
-- Michael Reese, Spartanburg, S.C.
Appoint all Constitutional offices and allow Lt Gov to run
with Gov as a 'ticket'.
-- Tom Marchant, Greenville, S.C.
needs inspector general, Jock Stender, Charleston,
needs to pay attention to state boards, Patti Bucher,
criticism is unfair, Jon Heckerman, Garden City Beach,
surprised by Sanford's remark, Lynn Bailey, Columbia,
on Brack trying to control thought, Lew Richards,
Manning , S.C.
aback by Sanford's remark, Jimmy Mackey, Beaufort,
handheld cell use while driving, Bob Logan, Little
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get:
- Hot issue
-- an early peek at weekly commentary on something really
big. Last year, we continually beat other news organizations
in finding major trends in issues, from teacher and budget
cuts to wetlands proposals.
- Agenda -- a weekly forecast of
the coming week's floor agenda
- Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes
look at what's really going on in the General Assembly
- McLemore's World -- an early view
of our respected cartoonist Bill McLemore.
- Tally Sheet -- a weekly review
of all of the new bills introduced in the legislature in
- Blogroll -- a weekly summary of
the best of South Carolina political blogs.
- Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs
Down of major political/policy events for the week.
- Calendar -- a weekly list of major
meetings for the House, Senate and state agencies.
- Megaphone -- a quote of the week
that you'll find illuminating.
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at:
South Carolina Statehouse Report
Publisher: Andy Brack
Emeritus: Jerry Ausband
Editor: Betsy Brack
Phone: 843.670.3996 · Fax: 843.722.9887
Subscription or sponsorship Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an event for the SC Statehouse Report calendar?
E-mail details to: email@example.com
or fax to above number.