- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
For many decades, the South was completely dominated by the Democratic Party. Originally the party of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow, the Democratic Party began attracting Southern African American voters in the 1930s with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The allegiance of black voters was further cemented in the Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations.
The region would remain solidly Democratic until a backlash against the civil rights movement of the 1960s drove many white Southerners, ironically enough, into the party of Lincoln, the Republicans. This added racial element, so confounding to Americans from other parts of the country, remains just as potent today.
The default mode in the South is that white voters are massively Republican, and black voters massively Democratic. Since South Carolina is 69 percent white, doing the math translates to an overwhelming Republican dominance. The GOP currently controls the governor’s mansion and both houses of the state legislature.
However, the coastal areas and parts of the Midlands, with their large, predominantly Democratic African American populations, function somewhat separately from this realignment. For instance, in 2008 John McCain easily won South Carolina’s eight electoral votes with 54 percent of the vote. But in Charleston County, however, it was Barack Obama who received 54 percent of the vote. In Orangeburg County, Obama received nearly 70 percent.
But don’t make the mistake of assuming that local African Americans are particularly liberal because of their voting habits. Deeply religious and traditional in background and upbringing, African Americans in South Carolina are among the most socially conservative people in the region, even if their choice of political party does not always reflect that.
South Carolina’s presidential primary is the first in the South, and as such carries more than its share of influence. The brutal 2000 Republican primary made the career of George W. Bush as he bested John McCain and went on to the nomination.
In 2008, Barack Obama’s massive victory in the state Democratic primary ended all hopes for Hillary Clinton in capturing a decent-sized share of the African American vote in her quest for the party’s nomination.
In addition to its constitutionally-mandated pair of U.S. Senators, South Carolina currently sends six representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, though that number could change with the 2010 census.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition