Smith won’t get free ride to nomination after all

After a long period in which it looked like the Democrats might not have anyone running for governor at all, James Smith threw his hat in the other day.

And then, as tends to happen, someone else is jumping in, too:

Charleston businessman Phil Noble becomes the second Democrat to enter the 2018 race for South Carolina governor, joining state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, in vying for the party’s nomination.

Phil Noble

Phil Noble

Noble is president of South Carolina New Democrats, a group founded by former S.C. Gov. Richard Riley, and a longtime Democratic activist.

South Carolina is “an amazing state with terrific potential, but a broken, dysfunctionally corrupt state government is keeping us from having all the things we ought to have,” Noble told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Noble, who has yet to file with the state Election Commission, will make a formal announcement on Wednesday. Smith announced his candidacy on Thursday….

I was going to refer you to the video interview I did with Phil back when he sought his party’s chairmanship in 2011, but the embed code isn’t working. If I get it up and running, I’ll share it so that y’all will know a bit more about him.

In the meantime… he and James might not be the only ones seeking their party’s nod next year. I’ve heard another name or two murmured out there. But so far, there’s nothing like the active, crowded bunch clamoring for the GOP nomination — despite the fact that the incumbent is Republican…

12 thoughts on “Smith won’t get free ride to nomination after all

  1. Doug Ross

    So if a viable candidate for Governor says the state government is dysfunctional and corrupt, should we believe him? How come when I say it I’m a cynic?

    Now if he would just explain who is corrupt ( because it isn’t the system), maybe I’ll vote for him.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug, seriously, what good does that do?

      You know what naming names does? It says “THIS guy is the corrupt one,” implying that the other 169 guys are fine. Get rid of him, and we don’t have a problem.

      And I know that’s not what you think. Rare is the politician you don’t think is a crook of some sort.

      I prefer candidates who see the systemic problems, because they are huge. And what I want to hear is their explanation of the systemic problems, so I can see whether they know what’s really wrong.

      Of course, what we have going on here is a guy who holds no public office, and therefore feels free to blast the system. Running as an outsider is attractive if you’re, you know, an outsider. Like Catherine Templeton over in the GOP contest…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Basically, this is another play out of the standard playbook. It’s the play ex-Harvard quarterback Pug Ravenel called back in 1974, when he called the whole Legislature a “den of thieves.”

        You mocked Smith’s “fight for you” rhetoric, but this approach is just as hackneyed…

        1. Doug Ross

          Absolutely it is hackneyed if he just spouts cliches like Smith did. But the system isn’t designed to be corrupt. It is only the people who are corrupt that make the system corrupt. And that is most often when long tenured politicians abuse the power of their office for personal gain.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, Doug, the system was DESIGNED to be unresponsive to the public will, and to keep power concentrated in the hands of a very few people — the landed gentry in the Legislature.

            This was originally for a couple of outdated reasons. First, to make sure the wealthy men of the colony could override the will of a royal governor. Later, it made sure the chief slaveholders were in control.

            Even though the Constitution of 1895, under which we live today, was promulgated amid some populist sentiment (of the virulently racist sort), that basic structure was maintained.

            I know you like to think of trees instead of forests, but when a system was set up not to work, it tends not to work, whatever the trees do…

        2. Richard

          “Harvard quarterback”… in the SEC that same person would be sitting in the student section.

  2. Doug Ross

    The only chance Democrats have would require one of the following:

    1. Quinn empire taken down and implicating McMaster and other high level Republicans

    2. A black candidate who can get Obama level turnout plus liberal whites to get on board

    3. Running on one or two key issues: Hodges won with his backing of the lottery. How about legalizing casinos? Or actually getting in step with the rest of the country on gay marriage and legalizing pot? Or how about flat income tax that doesn’t kick in until 50k income?

    Trotting out the tired cliches about funding poor schools is a losing strategy. Democrats need to go big on one issue that impacts everyone in the state.

    1. Claus2

      “Or how about flat income tax that doesn’t kick in until 50k income?’

      Yeah, that’s not going to happen… 20K maybe.

      1. Doug Ross

        Everyone would benefit from that and it would reduce the number of people filing significantly.

        1. Claus2

          I hear what you’re saying, but if income taxes don’t kick in until $50,000… what makes up the difference? Either rates above $50,000 will go up substantially or other taxes will go through the roof. I’ve lived in states where income taxes are low, but things like property taxes are 3-4x what we’re paying. Everything comes out even in the end but just raising the minimum income tax limit only tells half the story.

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