The Misplaced Focus Of Our Politics
Newsflash: The Republican candidate for President will win South Carolina in November.
Other than the election if 1976 when we helped catapult fellow southerner Jimmy Carter to the White House, South Carolina has voted for the Republican nominee for President ever since Barry Goldwater in 1964. This year won’t be a Jimmy Carter election year – South Carolina will be red in November, count on it.
Now, we are not encouraging you to discount the 2016 election, just to refocus your energy on a different aspect of it: local politics. Before you stop me, I know, there is no star quality or rush of excitement surrounding your local mayoral race or the county council, none. But please, don’t discount their importance.
Gracy Olmstead, a conservative writer whose articles appear in various publications, recently wrote an article titled “Why America Needs to Revitalize its Local Politics.” She deftly argues both that the rise of Donald Trump is a consequence of an out of touch political class in Washington and a false hope for those who catapulted him to becoming the presumptive Republican nominee. After all, a still more powerful president, seemingly unconcerned with the limits of presidential power, is not what American’s really need – even if he (or she!) is stretching the limits of presidential power on behalf of a conservative agenda (ahem, Mr. Trump, as far as we can tell).
No, Americans who feel out of touch with their elected officials need to actually get in touch with them. Olmstead writes:
“The deleterious idea that what happens in Washington matters more than anything happening in the rest of the country is the root of our problem. French political scientist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville believed America’s highly unique government worked because its citizens were active in the political sphere. They voted and attended town meetings, involved themselves in private associations, and went to church.
But all these things have added in popularity as our news and politics have become more centralized. Many of us don’t take time to talk to our neighbors, let alone go to a town hall meeting. And when no one shows concern for the local sphere, its easy to feel unimportant and helpless, which results either in apathy or bitter anger.”
She goes on to say:
“What we need is a revitalization of local politics. We need Americans who are willing to invest themselves locally by getting involved on school boards and city councils, voting in mayoral and gubernatorial elections.”
So, for those of you disillusioned with Washington, recognize that you have much power to wield on a local level. Just ask Charlotte, NC how much power a city council has – they have turned the issue of transgender bathroom rights into part of the national conversation!
And, for those of you quite interested in national politics, stay that way, but recognize that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not be the only two names on the ballot in November. Some of the names down the ballot will actually have far more of an effect on your daily life. Your involvement in that aspect of the political sphere can change the culture of South Carolina town by town.
So don’t discount local South Carolina elections. After all, real conservatives love federalism!
(source: Olmstead, Gracy. “Why America Needs to Revitalize Its Local Politics.” Why America Needs to Revitalize Its Local Politics. The Week Magazine, 06 May 2016. Web. 27 June 2016.)