Bob Bestler | The red, white and blue of voting in a red state

On the LooseOctober 12, 2012 

I try to avoid political talk in my doddering old age, but sometimes, like in the midst of a presidential election, the old impulses arise and I can't quite shut up. Some thoughts:

•  Whatever the pluses and minuses of the Electoral College, I fear that the system has effectively taken my vote away. Again.

South Carolina is among the reddest states in the country, has been since Strom Thurmond moved to the right side of the Senate aisle in protest of Democrat-inspired civil rights legislation.

S.C. had religiously voted Democrat until 1964, when it followed Thurmond's lead and became one of only six states to vote for Republican Barry Goldwater.

Since then, it has broken that thick red line only once, in 1976, when it went with neighboring Southerner Jimmy Carter.

Four years later it turned Reagan Red and has remained that way. Shoot, I think S.C. would vote for Snoopy if he ran as a Republican.

It all makes voting tough for a leftie like me.

I've said in the past that Horry County had only seven Democrats. I was lying about that. There are actually 13. Or so it seems.

There is almost no way my side can win an election in the Palmetto State, even a gubernatorial election like the last one. Democrat Vince Sheehan of Camden was one of the best candidates I've seen in the 20-plus years I've lived here and even he could not beat the big red machine.

OK, Democrat Jim Hodges was elected governor in 1998, but only because Republicans got mad at David Beasley’s epiphany about removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse. They rectified the error as soon as they could.

• Oh, don't worry. I bleed red, white and blue and I would never not vote just because my side is virtually certain to lose.

So on Nov. 6, I'll be heading to my polling place and waiting in line for however long for the chance to punch in my guy.

Then I'll go home and see what happens in states where the votes actually matter, a.k.a. the swing states. Go, North Carolina!

• The one plus in living and voting in South Carolina is that we are not bombarded ad nauseum with campaign ads that are often misleading, out of context and, sometimes, downright distortions.

A lot of them insult our intelligence. And, yes, I'm thinking of one I saw this week, a sophomoric Barack Obama-approved Big Bird ad warning that Mitt Romney will protect Wall Street but not Sesame Street. Puh-leese, Mr. President, let it go. That line only worked the first time you said it.

Tens of millions are being spent hyping the presidential campaigns this year and one can only wish some of that money were going to firefighters or police officers or teachers or nurses -- instead of TV executives and advertising managers.-- Ah, well. Only in America...

• I've always thought of myself as a political groupie, but I am a piker compared to those talking heads on cable TV -- meaning, I guess, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.

How can they talk politics 24 hours a day? How can they dissect a presidential debate for an entire week, going over the same material hour after hour, day after day?

The bride and I watched the same debate and pretty much exhausted the subject after a conversation or two. Life has to go on. And hopefully it will, on Nov. 7.

Contact BOB BESTLER at

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