By Jaime Harrison
Our nation stands at a crossroads like no other we have encountered for well over a century. At no time since the 19th century have the two political parties presented such starkly different visions for our country.
The Republican Party of Donald Trump presents a dark vision of a nation in decline. In Trump’s America, we are forced to wall ourselves off from the principles that have made us an exceptional nation.
The Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton offers a vision of a nation that tackles our challenges with confidence, unity, and openness. These qualities have always been America’s source of strength.
For the past 14 years, South Carolina has experienced full Republican control of our state government, with nothing to show for it but lagging schools, crumbling roads, low wages, poor health, and staggering rates of violence against women. To fix these problems, we must elect Democrats to the General Assembly tomorrow and a Democratic governor in 2018.
With our state’s experiences over the past 14 years, we know how dangerous it would be to give the Republican Party full control over the federal government, especially under a President Trump and a Congress run by the ideological extremists who currently dominate the Republican caucuses.
Donald Trump’s bigotry represents the culmination of the Republican Party’s regrettable evolution that began in 1948 with Strom Thurmond’s split with President Truman over civil rights and accelerated during the Civil Rights Movement.
But make no mistake: Donald Trump’s Republican Party is not the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan, who supported comprehensive immigration policies and an America that supported our democratic allies, not authoritarian rulers. It is not the party of George H.W. Bush, who reportedly will vote for Hillary Clinton, or even the party of George W. Bush, who reportedly might.
Closer to home, Donald Trump’s Republican Party is not the Republican Party of our late governors Jim Edwards and Carroll Campbell, conservative pragmatists who worked across the aisle. It is not the party of Strom Thurmond, who believed that South Carolina’s representatives in Congress should look out for the interests of South Carolinians. Senator Thurmond, unlike most of our state’s current Republicans in Congress, would have voted to provide relief for South Carolina families and farmers devastated by last year’s flood.
Rather, Donald Trump’s Republican Party would cut pathways to opportunity from programs like Head Start to Pell Grants to job training. Democrats will expand opportunity so every American can succeed in the 21st century economy.
Donald Trump’s Republican Party would kick 20 million people off their health insurance plans, reversing the progress that has reduced the uninsured rate to its lowest level ever, and has refused to expand Medicaid, causing nearly 200 South Carolinians to die prematurely every year. Democrats will fix and improve Obamacare.
Donald Trump’s Republican Party would leave the minimum wage at poverty levels, harming not only those who earn it but also harming businesses deprived of a strong customer base. Democrats will raise it so that no one who works lives in poverty but rather can be an integral part of our economy.
Donald Trump’s Republican Party would cut taxes on the wealthiest, exploding the national debt by trillions of dollars. Democrats will cut taxes on the middle class and those striving to enter the middle class in a fiscally responsible way, because we know our economy can only grow from the middle out, not the top down.
Donald Trump’s Republican Party would toe the NRA line against any reasonable gun safety measures that have been shown to work. Democrats, consistent with Justice Scalia’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, will demand completed universal background checks with no exceptions and no loopholes.
Donald Trump’s Republican Party would reverse all of the progress we have made on safeguarding the future of our planet against the threat of climate change (which they deny), threatening the existence of low-lying cities like Charleston and increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters like last year’s flood and the ongoing refugee crisis. Democrats will build on the global progress we have made.
The majority of South Carolinians agree with Democrats, not Republicans, on each of these issues. If you are one of these South Carolinians, you should vote for Democrats up and down the ballot tomorrow.