Photos by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Just when you think the grand old Republican Party has gone completely off the rails, something even crazier happens.

Case in point: Twenty of the state’s most conservative House Republicans wrote in a new letter that if they don’t get their way on a total abortion ban being considered this week, they could balk on a bill under consideration, paving the way potentially to partner with Democrats to kill or slow down the bill.

Likelihood these folks would actually team with Democrats on anything dealing with abortion: Well, there’s some swampland we could sell you. Ain’t gonna happen. 

These officials are bluster babies — true believers who are doing everything they can to get a total ban to satisfy an insatiable base. But their right-wing political tentacles are tingling with the realization they might have pushed things too far to the right. They’re now worried that somewhere in the House Republican caucus there are enough courageous individuals who truly want to slow things down and not have the kind of total ban that is forcing women in medical crises to have babies in states where there are no exceptions.

Aiken GOP Rep. Bill Taylor admitted the abortion debate has become a Republican minefield. He wrote in a recent constitutent newsletter: “The impact of ideologues on this week’s abortion debate is evident. Those seeking to ban abortions in South Carolina hold bedrock beliefs and stand firmly on their religious, political or ideological views. I pray that common sense and compromise will descend on our debate and that legislators will fully consider the voices of all citizens, not just those yelling the loudest.”

Taylor, who co-sponsored and voted for the state’s current six-week “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban with some exceptions, described this week’s House debate as premature. “We would better serve citizens by determining our heartbeat law’s full ramifications and the potential problems it creates [when it’s reinstated]. That will take time. We also need to examine what happens in other states that have enacted laws restricting abortions. There is much to learn.”

We hope South Carolina lawmakers will learn. And that extends to Washington, where Republicans and Democrats vilify each other daily with explosive, unhelpful rhetoric. Just look at what our own GOP U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday — that there would be “riots in the streets” if his pal, former President Donald Trump, is prosecuted for having secret documents in his Florida home that he wasn’t supposed to have. 

Graham said Sunday, “If they try to prosecute President Trump for mishandling classified information after Hillary Clinton set up a server in her basement, there literally will be riots in the street. I worry about our country.”

The Washington Post opined that what Graham said sounded like a threat. But there’s a difference here. With Clinton and emails, investigations concluded there wasn’t any “systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.” Contrast that to Trump, who is reveling in keeping top secret information just because he considered it his, not the nation’s, as outlined in law.

Back off all of the vitriol, folks. Let’s have some courage to put our country and state before political parties. For a change. 

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