Editorial Roundup: South Carolina

Times and Democrat. September 23, 2023.

Editorial: Good reasons to keep eyes on the tropics

The peak of hurricane season is at hand.

In a typical Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, August through mid-September is the busiest time for tropical storms and hurricanes.

Historically, more than 85% of all major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 and 5) form after Aug. 20, according to the National Hurricane Center.

This season’s third hurricane, Idalia, made landfall in the Big Bend region of Florida as a high-end Category 3 and descended on the Carolinas as a tropical storm.

The average season has 14 named storms, seven becoming hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to WUSF at the University of South Florida.

At this point in 2023, it seems that nearly every day brings a new storm or tropical system. If recent history proves anything, it is that South Carolina faces a significant threat from now until mid-October.

Look at recent history. Tropical-related flooding in 2015. Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Hurricane Irma’s coastal surge and flooding in 2017. Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

And not to be forgotten is Sept 21-22 was the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, the 1989 “Storm of the century,” a huge system that scored a direct hit on Charleston. The result was more than $7 billion in total damages and 26,000 homes destroyed in the Lowcountry.

One has only to look at Hugo and the devastation it caused in Orangeburg County, Sumter and all the way to Charlotte, N.C., to know that hurricanes severely impacting Charleston and other coastal areas are major threats inland as well.

So it pays to be individually prepared.

    1. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multipurpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

    2. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.

    3. Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan and use the South Carolina Hurricane Guide at https://scemd.org/stay-informed/publications/hurricane-guide/ to “Know Your Zone” for evacuations. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.

    4. Download the free American Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

So far in 2023, the impact from tropical systems in South Carolina has been minimal. Don’t count on things staying that way. Be as prepared as you can be.


Post and Courier. September 23, 2023.

Editorial: Here’s what we should all learn from nail-biter Senate 42 runoff

Tuesday’s primary runoff between Democratic S.C. Reps. Deon Tedder and Wendell Gilliard might not seem particularly important to anyone outside Senate District 42, unless you have strong feelings about one of the candidates.

Yes, Mr. Tedder’s victory is tantamount to election, since this district voted 75% for Joe Biden in the 2020 general election. But what makes this important to the rest of the state has little to do with whether Mr. Tedder or Mr. Gilliard would make a better senator. It’s about the crazy notion that an individual vote can’t make a difference.

It’s about how few votes it takes to win an election when such a tiny fraction of the voters show up. In District 42, turnout was just 7.94%. Which means fewer than 4% of the registered voters in the district decided who will represent the 52,721 registered voters who live in the district, which covers parts of Charleston and North Charleston.

No, a single vote didn’t get Mr. Tedder elected. But 11 of them did. Just a dozen more Gilliard supporters would have won a seat in the Senate for him. A dozen people out of the 48,535 who didn’t bother to vote. And that’s not counting the 30,000 or so adults in the district who aren’t even registered to vote.

It’s a reminder of how few votes it takes to win an election when — as happened Tuesday, and as happens in the overwhelming majority of primaries, let alone runoffs — the turnout is so embarrassingly low.

The turnout is especially low in special elections at odd times of the year; lower still for runoffs. It’s also lower in state Senate races than in statewide races.

But the principle is the same for regularly scheduled primaries. And for statewide primaries, which are the elections in South Carolina, since there hasn’t been a Democrat elected to statewide office since Education Superintendent Jim Rex in 2006.

Our point being that just as everyone who wants a say in the identity of their state legislator or county council member has to vote in the primary of the party that controls the district, everyone who wants a say in the identity of their governor, U.S. senator, attorney general, education superintendent or any of those other statewide offices that ought to be appointed instead of elected has to vote in the state Republican primary.

Likewise, anyone who wants to have any influence over who the next president is has to vote in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Feb. 24.

If you can’t stand Joe Biden, you need to vote in the Republican presidential primary.

If you don’t like Mr. Biden but don’t like most Republicans either, you need to vote in the Republican presidential primary.

If you don’t care for Mr. Biden but are terrified about the thought of Donald Trump winning the nomination again, you need to vote in the Republican presidential primary.

And whichever one of those categories you fall in, you need to take the same approach to voting: Assume that the Republican nominee is going to be the next president, and vote for the one you like most — or dislike the least. This goes doubly for people who would be dishonest and stupid enough to vote for the candidate they imagine to be the weakest. Ask Hillary Clinton how such assumptions work out.

Well, one caveat — which we’ll talk about more as we get closer to February: If your main goal is to see to it that Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee, you might need to vote for someone other than your favorite; you need to vote for the Republican most likely to defeat Mr. Trump.

A lot of us made the mistake in 2020 and 2016 of voting for our favorite Republican candidate, even when we knew he probably wasn’t the most likely to come out ahead of Mr. Trump. Our nation has spent seven years regretting that.