Republicans dominate South Carolina, therefore Democrats must fight harder than ever to survive(Part-2)

“You saw it. “I rarely win in the Senate,” Fanning told a trailing reporter. “But today I'll win everywhere.” This wasn't always so. South Carolina's unabashed support of segregation after Reconstruction kept it in the Democratic Party.

At the commencement of the Great Depression in 1932, 98% of South Carolina voters—mostly white in a state where almost half were Black but barred from voting—elected Franklin Roosevelt. The Democrat's landslide included his largest single-state triumph.

Long, steady, and sometimes racist, the Republican conquest. In 1964, former governor and Sen. Strom Thurmond switched parties to obstruct civil rights legislation in Congress, a pivotal time. Recent fuel has been population increase and a drop in African Americans, together with white voters, especially in suburban and rural regions, shifting away from Democrats following years of conservative media framing and identity politics changes.

The state's population has grown 52% since 1990, adding 1.8 million people. Most are newcomers, including seniors worried about taxes, excessive costs, and overregulation.

State Democratic Party Chair Christale Spain said Democrats must rebrand to emphasize local issues. In 2020, U.S. Senate contender Jaime Harrison spent $130 million to defeat Republican incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, who spent $100 million. Harrison dropped 10 percent. Spain, who took over after Republicans won seven statehouse seats in 2022, said national politics may often overwhelm local candidates with excellent ideas aiming to connect communities.

“We need to focus on Main Street issues and point out how extreme these Republicans are in their communities,” Spain added. “We must recruit better candidates. This huge elephant must be eaten one mouthful at a time.” Joe Cunningham, who won a Charleston U.S. House seat for the Democrats for one year before losing to Henry McMaster by 17 percentage points in the 2022 governor's election, criticized the Democrats' tactics.

Cunningham backs No Labels to avoid a Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch. In 2022, 45% of South Carolina House contests had no Democrats, he noted, demonstrating Democrats' lack of candidate development. When he joined No Labels, Cunningham argued in an opinion essay that Democrats are failing to present an option that appeals to the majority of people, who want change and are fed up with both extremes.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Republicans have capitalized on both parties' shifting national agendas. Getting a Democrat to switch parties gave them the South Carolina Senate in 2000. The strategy has helped them expand this century. South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick and his team recruit sheriffs, clerks of court, county council members, and other local officials, making it tougher for Democrats to retake power. I wouldn't call it a political realignment, but a political development, especially in the South. McKissick claimed they gas it everywhere.

McKissick traveled to Darlington County this fall to greet another party switcher. Democratic Coroner Todd Hardee was elected in 2000 in a county that Republican governor and native son David Beasley had lost two years earlier. Hardee claimed the Democratic Party's national values forced him leave. He informed the audience how he resolved gender identity and abortion difficulties with his 8-year-old grandson.