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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid