It’s a full year from South Carolina’s 2020 presidential primary, generally considered the first major test for the thousand or so Democrats running for president.
Sure, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary come first, but there’s not a dime’s worth of diversity in either of them.
Iowa is a fine state, but its African-American population is only 3.6 percent. New Hampshire? It’s nice, too, but African-Americans make up just 1.6 percent of that population. And south Manchester, N.H., hardly qualifies as The New South.
So South Carolina is where it’s at and I expect each candidate will make dozens of visits in the next year. It’s not too soon for them to begin boning up on the uniqueness of the Palmetto State. Let me offer some tips.
Y’all will want us to believe you’ve been here before, but don’t overdo it. A certain candidate from Utah once told us how much he loved “those cheesy grits” — and we all knew he’d never heard of them before that day.
So be careful. Try to feel comfortable at Waffle House. Don’t gasp when you’re asked if you want your hash browns smothered; act like smothered is the only way.
One candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand, has already come under media fire because she didn’t know that fried chicken is a finger-lickin’ food. She made the horrible mistake of using a fork. No, I don’t think it was the same fork candidate John Kasich used to eat pizza in 2016 — another political faux pas.
But please, Sen. Gillibrand, don’t take that fork to an oyster roast. It would send Twitter into a tizzy.
And, candidates, always remember that our beverage of choice is sweet tea; unsweet is so elite. Ordering unsweet would be like John Kerry, campaigning in Philadelphia, ordering Swiss cheese on his Philly cheese steak sandwich. No, no, Meiseur Kerry.
I also need to remind you about some of the places you’ll visit in the next 12 months. Always good to pronounce their names properly. (And let’s hope if you visit a place called Paradise you don’t call it Pleasure.)
Well, of course, there’s Myrtle Beach’s own Horry County. If you don’t want to hear guffaws galore, make sure you say Orry County, not Hoarry County.
Beaufort is Byou-fort in South Carolina; Beaufort is Bo-fort in North Carolina. It’s a big deal in both states.
Debordieu is simpler than it looks: Debidoo. Almost fun to say.
And don’t ask about the mountains in Mount Pleasant. There are no mountains and, as the joke goes, it’s not that pleasant.
Speaking of Horry County, try your hardest to get an invitation to the 2020 Galivants Ferry Stump. It’s the place to be and be seen in early May. The other must-stop on your agenda: Rep. Jim Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry. Not a bad way to get in good with South Carolina’s ranking Democrat.
So enjoy your campaigning in our fine state. And please don’t get angry if you don’t win. Super Tuesday is just around the corner.
Contact Bob Bestler at firstname.lastname@example.org.