There’s just no other words to describe the performance of Vincent Sheheen in yesterday’s election. After coming close to beating Nikki Haley in 2010, Sheheen lost to the incumbent governor by a greater margin yesterday than he did in their previous contest, dropping from 47 percent of the vote to an embarrassing 41 percent. To make matters even worse, that 41 percent likely included a good portion of the 10 or so percent of voters who had planned to vote for “independent” Republican Tom Ervin before he dropped out of the race last Tuesday.
So how does a once-promising candidate lose so badly the second time around after nearly winning the first? The answer is simple: Vincent Sheheen is a coward.
I know, strong words. But how else are you to describe a man who publicly pronounced his opposition to same-sex marriage but who behind closed doors told gay leaders that he was actually their ally and that anything he said otherwise was just a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way to woo Republican voters who had turned against Nikki Haley.
Even worse, in the year or so leading up to Election Day 2014, the S.C. Democratic Party let it be known that they were more than willing to try to besmirch their opponents by questioning their sexuality (See, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham.) And that doesn’t even take into account the years of homophobic slurs that former Democratic Party chair Dick Harpooltian was found of flinging.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the SCGOP is all Up with Gay People. They aren’t. Hell, you might even go as far as to say they’re hostile to the LGBT community. Actually, you can.
The point is, and it’s one I’ve been making for years, the S.C. Democratic Party is too concerned with short-term victories. They aren’t playing the long game.
The demos in South Carolina are changing to a more gay-friendly society, and yet the Dems refuse to lead the way. Instead, they either adopt positions that are frighteningly similar to the Republicans or they fail to run qualified candidates in all the races (See, Mark Sanford’s U.S. House seat; how the Dems failed to run a horse in that race is beyond me.)
This would be partially forgivable if they won a statewide race here and there, but they don’t. They sold their souls for a fiddle of gold and all they got in return was the world’s smallest violin playing one sad song after another.
I’d like to think that the S.C. Democratic Party is going to change, but I’ve been following them for long enough to know that they won’t. We’re a one-party state, and apparently the Dems are more than OK with being the more timid, milquetoast wing of the SCGOP.