I just got this from Katon Dawson. I have no idea why he didn’t send it earlier so we could have published it as a letter to the editor before the election. (As we told readers, the cutoff for primary-related letters was 10 a.m. Friday, and we ran the last of them Sunday. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Tuesday’s page was gone by the time I saw this message, which was sent at 11:55 a.m. Monday.):
June 12, 2006
To Mr. Brad Warthen,
You have never hidden your dislike for political parties, but in your column from June 4 your request to voters went over the line. You asked Democrats to vote in the Republican Party.
This is an affront to both Democrat and Republican voters in South Carolina.
Now The State newspaper can endorse whomever they like, however for a journalist to call for voters of one party to vote in another party’s primary is irresponsible.
Primaries are ways voters choose their party’s nominees. I take it very seriously and I know thousands of other Republican voters take it very seriously. My guess is that Democrat voters also take choosing their nominees very seriously.
As much as you would like to turn elections into meaningless dribble, they are not.
Deciding who runs our state is a very important task, one for the citizens of South Carolina to decide.
You ask Democrats to vote in the Republican Primary for a specific Superintendent of Education candidate rather than “wasting your vote” in the Democrat Primary for Governor. What does that say to Tommy Moore, Frank Willis, or Dennis Aughtry? What does that say to their campaign volunteers, many of whom have been working across the state for the past year? And what does that say to Democrat voters who plan to faithfully cast their vote on June 13th?
I question your ethical judgment when you call for the voters of one party to influence the election of another party.
Even though you have distain for the electoral process, please do not diminish it for the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians who wish to do their part in choosing their leaders.
I just hope the readers of The State pay little attention to your disillusioned view of the electoral process.
You know what I take seriously? The future of education in South Carolina. And that is probably going to be determined in the Republican primary tomorrow. Why Katon wouldn’t want anyone and everyone to have a say in that is beyond me.
I just can’t follow partisan thinking. For years, the GOP begs everybody in South Carolina to come vote in their primaries (even inserting irresponsible gimmicks onto their ballots to draw voters, such as the bogus Confederate Flag "referendum" of 1994), holds press conferences to run it in Democrats’ faces when one of their politicians switches sides, and makes a huge deal about how many more people voted in the latest GOP primary than ever before.
Now, all of a sudden, it’s a members-only proposition. Sheesh. I believe, as someone once said, that "Deciding who runs our state is a very important task, one for the citizens of South Carolina to decide." That means all of them, not just the people who identify with the party that happens to have the only contested primary for the office.
Also, I curious as to why parties are still relevant at a time when thousands of untrackable dollars are spent by groups such as this one and this one on behalf of some Republicans in an effort to purge the Legislature and other state offices of certain other Republicans?
By the way, "Democrat" is a noun. the adjective form is "Democratic."