News / USA

Tradition Meets Modern-Day Politics in South Carolina

South Carolina is steeped in traditions that have an impact on present day politics.

In Columbia, South Carolina, stately homes from the 1800s show people's love for preservation and the church steeples stretch toward the sky show the focus on religion.

These sights are as southern as the pitcher of sweetened iced tea and and plates of fried chicken found at The Palmetto Pig barbecue joint. 

Juan Torres, who works in the hospitality, hotel and tourism, industry, says people are drawn to South Carolina because of its sense of tradition. 

"We tend to not want to change," Torres explained. "We like to be old fashioned.  We like things as they are, and I think that's part of, not just myself, but what a lot of people look for. They want it to be straightforward and they want it to be consistent."

He might as well be speaking about what South Carolinians are known to prefer in politics: tradition.

Republican candidates are campaigning heavily in the state. South Carolina has a history of voting Republican, and Republican voters tend to have religious and conservative viewpoints.

“I am a conservative person in every way in my life.  I conservatively had only six children, and they are all Republicans also. So it's kind of in the blood," noted Susanne Hirsch, who attended a Republican rally in Aiken to hear her preferred candidate for president, Newt Gingrich.  

The winner of the state's Republican primary has always gone on to be the party's nominee.  

The past is ever present in South Carolina. A Confederate flag still flies in front of the State House in the capital.  The first shots of the American Civil War rang out in South Carolina in 1861.

"Certainly politics is very important in South Carolina history.  I mean, we're on the sesquicentennial [150th anniversary] of the American Civil War,"explained Fielding Freed, who works to preserve southern history. "And we were the first state to secede.  So states' rights continue to be very important to South Carolina and their political leaders."

Fielding is waiting to be wowed by a candidate.

"I kind of got turned off by the debates.  [There was] a lot of acrimony, a lot of negative conversation and a lot of just sheer boring repetition," he said.

There is a tension between two issues most important to Freed.  

"Of course, the national debt.  But as somebody who was laid off for a year - I was one of five people laid off from a company - I know the hardship that causes, the anxiety," he said.  "I was very thankful that there was a safety net there [unemployment benefits].  It was the first time since I was 16 years old that I didn't work for a year."

Republicans favor less government spending, but that also means reducing social services such as unemployment benefits and grocery subsidies.  

In South Carolina, about one in 10 people are unemployed.  It's a hard fact in this state, which has its own way of incorporating its sense of the past into the present day.  A look at a historic home museum gift shop, where a children's book of civil war uniforms shares a shelf with paper dolls of the first black U.S. president reiterates that fact. 

The past mingling with the present...in the state that could determine the future Republican nominee.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs