I had a nice surprise this morning. My mobile rang, and it was E.J. Dionne! I hadn’t spoken with him in a while, so assuming he was looking for a quote about S.C. or something, I took another swallow of coffee in a desperate and vain effort to make myself sound intelligent.
But no, he had just called to chat. Turns out he is, like me, obsessive about getting his steps in every day, and this is what he has taken to doing while walking — calling people. (I find myself doing the same — that, and listening to podcasts.) We had a wide-ranging conversation. At one point, we got to talking about yard signs. He mentioned having recently discovered a commonality with Rep. Abigail Spanberger — the former CIA officer who was among the cadre of moderates who gave Democrats their House majority by winning purple districts in 2018. They are both big believers in yard signs.
What a coincidence, I said. This being Labor Day, I’m about to put out my yard signs! And now I have, as you can see above.
This, of course, is only my second time ever. My first was 2018, when I dramatically broke with a lifetime in which I was not allowed to do such things. I put out the signs, and proclaimed, “I refuse to be an ‘idiot.’ I’m joining the ranks of the involved.” Those signs were for James Smith (this was a few weeks before I joined his campaign) and Micah Caskey. This time, my Republican state House member has no opposition, so the two candidates are ones James, too, would enthusiastically support: Joe Biden and Jaime Harrison.
I’m hardly the first in my neighborhood. Others didn’t quite wait for this official start of the general election season. Two of my neighbors already had up signs for Joe and Jaime. They had obtained them from me. A couple of months back, one of them — a retired Methodist minister — stopped me on one of my walks to say he needed some signs, and he figured I knew how to get them. I said I’d try to help.
The Jaime Harrison sign was easy. His finance director had the same job in James’ and Mandy’s campaign, so I reached out to her, and she fixed me up with several. But Biden had shut down his Columbia campaign office immediately after the primary (the resources being needed elsewhere), so I wasn’t sure where to go. As it turned out, another fellow Smith/Norrell veteran — now-college student Noah Barker — drove over and dropped some off in the bed of my truck.
So I gave them to John and Jim, and they put them out, so that’s three of us now in my Republican neighborhood who have signs out for both Joe and Jaime.
And when I took my own walk after talking with E.J., I saw a new Harrison sign on my street, which was great, as this was five minutes after I’d put out my own. And it hadn’t been there yesterday. (Obviously, this neighbor is also strict about following the traditional calendar.)
But no Biden sign. Which reminds me of my brother’s yard in Greenville. We went to see him back in the first week of August, and he already had a Harrison sign out. Which both pleased me and made me feel guilty. I had obtained one for him when I got those from my friend on the campaign, but had forgotten to take it to him. He got this one from a neighbor who had an extra.
And that one, and the new one in my neighborhood, bring up a worry: I think maybe it’s easier to get Jaime Harrison signs than Joe Biden signs here in South Carolina. Jaime has an active, well-funded, energized campaign going here in the state (and I celebrate all of that), but Joe had no reason for a campaign office after Feb. 29. Those resources were needed elsewhere.
So where do you get Biden signs? Well, I suppose you could get some from the state Democratic Party, but I don’t know; I haven’t checked. Having my own sources, I haven’t needed to — but I suppose that’s where I’d have gone next. But if you live in a Republican neighborhood, like mine or my brother’s, do you think in those terms? Probably not.
I’m going to poke around on this a little more. If there are people out there who would put up Biden signs if they had them, they need to be more available than they are now. Because like E.J. and Rep. Spanberger, I think they help…
Whoa. That’s a Biden primary sign. Ya need to get a Biden/Harris general election sign!
Full disclosure: I’m putting out my Biden primary sign out also. : )
Someone took our Biden primary sign. It was the day of the primary. Chalked it up to a Trump supporter or a Bernie Bro. Ever have a “discussion” with a Bernie Bro? I have, but it was more like a lecture about how the Boomers are a “failed generation.” First rule of politics: never alienated a potential ally.
What this message is really about is how come no Adair sign on the lawn? Might have a good chance to get rid of Do Nothing Wilson. Her tv campaign ads are really good. Mark’s already put out ours.
Micah Caskey,Trump apologist? Screw that jerk
So much for your ProFound BiPartisanship…
I put on my Jamie Harrison car decal on January 1st. I guess I violated some polite norms?
Other than the typical houses / trucks that used to (or still fly) the Confederate flag, I don’t see more than a small handful of Trump signs in the Republican leaning area where I live. But I have begun to notice almost a flurry of Jamie Harrison signs. Is this a good ground game indicator or a display of the general repugnance for Lindsey Graham’s preference to be on all sides of any issue, damn the immoralities? We shall soon see …
I have seen no signs for Trump OR Lindsey, but I expect that will change.
My brother has seen one or two now for Lindsey in Greenville…
No Harrison or Biden signs or bumper stickers sighted yet in this part of the Upcountry.
No Trump signs, either. But there are several Trump flags on poles in the immediate vicinity.
Along with some mobile ones on pickup trucks.
I took mine down after the death threats and all
Lexington County never changes
Rednecks r us
Stupid Idiots Matter
One of my kids has been house-hunting. My wife and I took an hour or two this afternoon and drove across the river and around Columbia through various neighborhoods, looking at houses she’s been looking at.
It was interesting, as I found myself in a lot of places I haven’t seen since before COVID.
And over and over and over again, I saw Jaime Harrison signs — by themselves. At least 20, maybe 30. They were all over town. Which is great. But don’t you think those same folks are probably voting for Biden, too, and would put out signs if they had them?
I know all the reasons why this shouldn’t bother me. They’re related to the reasons why the Biden folks who worked so hard to see that he won the S.C. primary — and therefore the nomination — have been working hard elsewhere since then. As another of my kids put it when she heard me worrying about it, we’ve done our job in SC to put Joe in the White House. We need to move on to other worthwhile things we can do, such as replacing the guys who have been kissing Trump’s feet.
Fair points, most definitely. But I want to see Joe get as many votes as possible right here in SC, even though the odds are against his winning here. I want him to get as many votes as he possibly can everywhere, and I want everyone to see it. With or without electoral effect in every place, I want the rejection of Trumpism to be broad, widespread and something no one misses. Our nation needs that, badly.
And I want people to know that their neighbors are backing Joe, whether he wins here or not. I don’t want it to be something they think they can dismiss as something alien to South Carolina.
A related point: I spoke on the phone today to Noah Barker — in fact, I’ll be posting something he wrote in a few minutes — and he said another thing a lot smart people say: There will be places Joe has to win, but South Carolina isn’t one of them.
True. South Carolina isn’t going to win the election for Joe. But if he did win here, think of what that would mean — it meant he won everywhere, overwhelmingly.
And I think that should be the goal. It’s what the country needs. We have to put Trumpism behind us, and that’s how its done.
Is it a tough goal to reach for? You bet. But it’s as worthwhile a quest as I can imagine at this moment in our history…
What is the vote break away from Trump for Biden to win SC outright? The gap is not as great as people imagine; maybe so in normal political climates, but this isn’t about normalcy.
It is incomprehensible to me how “Christian” voters can vote for the person who comes closest to the very definition of evil and not suffer overwhelming spasms of guilt and shame.
RCP has SC as about a 5% edge for Trump.
In 2016, Trump beat Hillary in SC 55-41, and the difference was almost exactly 300k votes. So, I guess if you’re just talking about switching votes (as opposed to adding new voters) you would have to get 150k people to switch their Trump vote to Biden.
Right, and if the poll you cite is correct, we need 2.6 percent to switch.
Of course, that’s assuming the poll perfectly captured a scientific sample of people who will actually vote, and they all answered honestly.
If Joe managed to get a bunch of votes that aren’t being measured here, he wouldn’t need 2.6 percent of all those measured.
Or something like that.
Frankly, I have less faith in polls than I used to. It’s not the fault of the pollsters; it’s the people being measured. They’re harder to reach, for one thing. When everybody had landlines, and most of those were listed, you were more likely to get an accurate reading.
I think. I can’t say I’m made a close study of it in recent years (it’s been a long time since The State had money for polling and I was in charge of it — and back then, nobody had cell phones). The poll that matters to me is the one on Election Day — and I mean that in two ways: the actual vote, and exit polling. I think exit polling — people who actually voted telling you WHY they voted that way — can be pretty valuable. But everybody wants predictions…
Joe and the DNC outreach to minority voters in South Carolina needs to be strong as that will cut into Trump’s votes.
I know the NAACP is working hard to register voters and that can only help Biden. They had a registration drive over the Labor Day weekend in the midlands.
Trump will win in South Carolina – a State ran by Republicans who falsely pride themselves on being self-reliant but heavily depend on the federal government.
Surprisingly, i am seeing many Harrison signs in my neck of the woods: Forest Acres.
Th Harrison campaign ads are terrific. Graham’s are surprisingly bad. He must be going to cheap route.
I doubt Lindsey’s going “the cheap route.” He’ll spend every dime he can scrape up to save himself.
He’s in a real box, though. If he does ads that make sense to a reasonable person, he loses the Trump base. And he’s bet everything, including his own character, on that…
Well, the one ad I saw from Lindsey criticizes Harrison for once being a lobbyist. Nothing positive about Lindsey.
Now I realize the average conservative doesn’t know this – or care- but such ads actually making fun of conservative intelligence given that Trump’s cabinet is made up almost exclusively of former lobbyists, including the defense secretary.
So that’s a terrible ad.
Let’s be real folks. The tipping point state will NOT be SC. So it is utterly pointless to vote for POTUS. It just won’t make any difference. The only reason I will vote in this election is to help elect Jamie Harrison.
So let’s do some electoral college math in places where your vote actually could matter. Start with the 2016 map. Biden needs to hold the Hillary states for starters. Then he needs to accumulate 38 additional electors. MI with 16 looks increasing likely for team blue. Surprisingly so does AZ with 11. Oddly PA is looking shaky. WI seems like the next best state. With 10 the good guys are up to 269, a tie. Assuming no faithless electors that send the “election” to the new House where each state gets one vote. Liz Cheney will therefore have as much power as the entire CA delegation. Currently there are 23 states with Dem majorities, 26 with GOP and in PA it’s tied. It’s easy to see a 25-25 tie after the election. In that case the constitution says the house must convene until a decision is made. Until then the VP is in POTUS. The VP is chosen by the senate in case of a tie. Again, a 50-50 split is possible. Then the presidency passes to the speaker of the house. Which is where it would likely remain.
Our founding fathers got this whole presidential selection process badly wrong. Time to fix it.
FYI, folks, it is never, ever pointless to vote for president. Ever.
One day, the Democrat will win in South Carolina. Unless, of course, everyone in that election is thinking like Bud, in which case he’s right — it will never happen…
We’re only talking about 5 percent here, people. And things happen all the time that can shift a political situation by 5 percent.
But let’s say it doesn’t shift. It’s still better for Joe to lose SC by 5 percent than by 90 percent — which is what you get if everyone thinks like Bud.
The world needs to see that at least 40-something percent — roughly half — of people in South Carolina are normal, rational people who will turn out to vote against Donald Trump…
I am far more optimistic. This isn’t an election about political parties, it’s an election about whether insanity can hoodwink a majority with empty, malignant pandering. Food for thought…
A vote doesn’t matter only if it is squandered. Jill Stein brought us Trump 2016 – let’s never forget that. It’s why Bernie is all-in on Biden. He get’s the existential risk here. I hope Bud does as well.
Have you seen Florida? Trump is cutting into Democrats’ margins among blacks and younger voters while Biden is cutting into Trump’s margins with whites and seniors. Whoever carves off more of the other guy’s base is likely the next president.
Surprisingly enough, it’s with Latino voters. Four years ago Trump lost Latinos in Florida to Clinton by 27 points. Today? He’s up four.
A 31-point turnaround.
Today, Trump holds the narrow edge over Biden among likely Latino voters, 50 percent to 46 percent
They ain’t Latino. Either that, or they’re confusing Trump with somebody else.
OR… if it’s the right-wing Cubans breaking for Trump anyway, maybe Joe should have picked Karen Bass in spite of her saying nice things about Castro…
Cubans are voting trump.
Non Cuban Latinos favor Biden strongly in Florida (and see polling in Texas where Biden is doing great with Latinos.
Biden’s campaign has started to focus on Latinos strongly in the last few weeks enlisting the help and support of Latino entertainment icons.
In my neighborhood, there was one Trump sign and no Biden signs on display this morning. There are Harrison and Rhodes Bailey signs; none for their competitors. Both Rhodes and Finlay live in this neighborhood, so it will be interesting to see if that trend holds. In the almost 30 years I have lived here, this is the most signs for Democratic candidates I have seen. A Democratic Party official just told me that this neighborhood is about 50/50 now, even thought the perception is it is mostly Republican. Certainly that has been my perception, from listening to my mostly GOP-leaning neighbors over the years and only knowing a handful of Democrats. He expects Biden signs to come in next week, so interested parties can contact the state Democratic Party. We are not a priority; the campaign is directing most of its energy to states where the election will be decided, as is sensible given our senseless electoral system. Rick Wilson was talking this morning about how meaningless national polls are; it’s only the swing states that matter. But we know this.
The way we conduct elections is absurd. Abolish the Electoral College and start acting like a democratic country. Then every vote would count, and we wouldn’t have a country on the brink of collapse.
Sorry to hear about that Trump sign. But it doesn’t surprise me that you have Harrison signs, but no Biden signs.
As I said, I visited several neighborhoods across Columbia yesterday, and saw at least a couple of dozen signs for Jaime and none for Joe. I guess the main reason my neighborhood has signs for Joe is, well, me. Every Joe sign I know of was obtained by me, from Noah. And I think Noah had them in his garage in Lugoff, left over from the primary.
Back to your Trump sign — I’ve probably told this story here before, but I’ll tell it again. I’m not proud…
Before the 2016 election, there was exactly one Trump sign in my neighborhood. But he won.
Which led me to understand that there were far more people who would vote for him than there were people who were willing to have other people know that about them.
That probably had some impact on polls before that election — people who were going to vote for him, but didn’t want to admit it to a pollster.
Which makes me wonder: Who goes to a Trump rally (or rather, who went to them back when they existed)? Who shows up at a Trump boat parade (other than pathetic landlubbers who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near water)?
And where do THOSE people come from?
A trump rally seems to be middle age white people who have a lot of grievances with society at large, especially with the diversity of the country, with a few younger folks mixed in.
I spend A LOT of time on the lake. The boat parades are largely the same crowd. If you notice, there are few to no minorities at a boat parade. It’s mostly middle age white folks- the “don’t tread on me” crowd.
So, how come no Adair for Congress signs. Have you seen her tv commercials. She might have a decent chance against Do Nothing Joe.
Hey, Sally. I meant to answer you when you asked that before, but hadn’t gotten to it. And right now, I’m kind of busy with paying work. And a full answer to that would be fairly long.
But let me give you the short one. And if I haven’t come back with the long one in the next 24 hours, ask me again.
Here’s the short one: I’m still new to this sign thing. I still feel like my support for a candidate needs to be VERY strong for me to put such an unambiguous emblem of support in my yard — one that says, I’m completely supporting this candidate, no further explanation needed.
I plan to vote for Adair. I’ve said supportive things here on the blog. But my commitment on that isn’t as full-bore as on the other two.
I’ve known Jaime several years and long ago formed a positive impression of him. And my knowledge of, and deep respect for, Joe Biden goes back way, WAY farther than that. I’d be pretty enthusiastic about either of them against even pretty good opponents. If you’ll recall, from the very start, I was clear that Joe was the ONLY person fully qualified for the job out of more than two dozen people running. Some of them were pretty good, but there was no question in my mind: It HAD to be Joe.
But now, both of these good guys are up against people who absolutely HAVE TO go. This is a ones and zeroes thing. One of them because he’s Donald Trump and could not be trusted with any public office, especially not POTUS. The other because he’s intelligent enough to know better, but has willingly enslaved himself to that creature, in a self-abasing manner that is stunningly disgusting and alarming.
So my support for Joe and Jaime is just as unambiguous as a yard sign is. In their cases, I’m not bothered by the inadequacy of a yard sign as a means of expression. It’s a case of super-good guys against super-bad guys.
Adair seems fine, but I don’t see her the same way I do Joe and Jaime. I’d like to see Joe Wilson out of office, but he’s just not in the same category as Trump and Graham.
So the stakes are very different to me here.
Yeah, that was the short answer. I’ll give you the long answer later…
Sally, I’m finally writing to finish answering your questions about Adair.
First, I haven’t definitely decided not to display any of her signs. If I were to add a third candidate, she’d be the one.
But here’s why I haven’t decided yet to do so, aside from what I said earlier on the subject. My reasons basically fit into two categories.
The first you may dismiss as silly, but I don’t think I’m the only one to think this way, and I think it’s well-grounded.
I don’t want to put up signs for two candidates, which I think waters down the effect of the signage. When I reminded one of my daughters on Monday that it was sign time, she went in and brought out the sign for a friend of hers who is running for the state House. She didn’t want to diminish the effect by putting out others, which I though made some sense.
But more than that, I don’t want to put out three signs and have them all be members of the same party. That’s because I want a passerby to think, hey, I wonder why that neighbor of mine is voting for THAT guy. I’m being optimistic here, but maybe it would get the neighbor to thinking, and maybe he’d think some positive thoughts. But if the neighbor sees three signs, and the candidates are all Democrats, he’ll think, Huh, I guess the guy who lives there is a Democrat. Period. End of thought pattern.
I know people think that way because I think that way. I see a car with five different bumper stickers on it, and they’re all members of the same party — some of them pretty good, some of them major idiots — I dismiss it completely. I think, There’s someone who has surrendered his ability to think to a party. And that’s it for me. I don’t much care what else that person thinks — because I don’t think it’s him doing the thinking.
This is why the whole time I was working for James and Mandy, I drove a vehicle with a Smith sticker, and also one for my Republican House member. This puzzled a lot of people. But in my book, a car with a Smith/Norrell sticker and a sticker for a Republican is worth twice as much as a car with a Smith/Norrell sticker alone, in terms of potential for winning a vote. It increases the chance that the uncommitted voter will think, Hey, I like that Republican, too. Maybe I should take a closer look at Smith and Norrell. Again, I’m being optimistic. But what on Earth is the point of having the bumper sticker if you don’t have hope of having some kind of positive impact on the world? I certainly don’t do it to declare things about my personal views (my blog is a superior platform for that) or to cause some tribe out there to have warm and fuzzy feelings about me (There does one of us!) Some people might be motivated that way. I am not.
Anyway, this year I’m in an uncomfortable place, for me. I don’t plan to vote for any Republicans. (I’ve been meaning to write a post on this subject, but it gets really involved, and I haven’t finished it yet.) They’ve made it impossible, by surrendering their party to Trump. I mean, even Republicans I’ve respected for more than 40 years, like Lamar Alexander, have caved completely. I’m not a Democrat, but this year I’ll only be voting for Democrats.
So any signs I put out will be for Democrats. But not just because they’re not Republicans. They’re going to be Democrats I have a strong positive impression of.
And while I haven’t had much exposure to her, I’ve formed a positive impression of Adair. Generally. I certainly prefer her to Joe Wilson.
But beyond that… I’m kind of neutral. And there are some things about her I’m not crazy about. Not negative, really, but not highly positive, either.
She keeps promising to limit her terms. Now, that’s way better than promising to limit everybody ELSE’S terms, which I would passionately oppose. I think that stuff is very wrong-headed. But I’m not crazy about her saying she’ll limit her own terms, either. First, it plays to the wrong-headed and often harmful populist prejudice against “career politicians.” Also, here in the real world, it’s a way of saying You, my constituents will never benefit from me staying long enough to learn the system and accumulate some influence. That doesn’t appeal to me, either.
Adair actually uses that language, and says something else I don’t like: “Washington is full of career politicians who only serve themselves and put their corporate campaign donors ahead of the people they work for.” Aside from the “career politicians” (which gives the finger to my main man Joe Biden) jibe, it also buys into the Elizabeth Warren, or perhaps Bernie Sanders, worldview. (The system is rigged! By billionayuhs!) Or at least into the populist notion that everybody in Washington is bought and paid for and that’s why they don’t do what I want.
Which completely misses the point. Things don’t get done in Washington because elected representative are TERRIFIED of the folks back home — or a least, a certain subset of them, the extreme partisans who will turn out for a more extreme member of their party in the next primary. Thanks to gerrymandering, among other problems.
Anyway, that sounds more negative than I intend. I generally like Adair, and I’ll be happy to vote for her over Joe Wilson (whose unforgivable sin in my book is not voting for impeachment — yep, his party would have ridden him on a rail if he had, but he completely loses me because he didn’t).
But you’ve asked me, so I’ve tried to explain why, as an Adair voter, I’m not quite at the putting-up-a-sign stage. Maybe I’ll get there later…
Oh, another thing about number of signs…
I already worry that my Harrison sign waters down the effect of my Biden sign, or vice versa. That tempts me to take down the Jaime one, since electing Joe is about saving the soul of the country.
But a sort of corollary of the need to remove Trump is that someone who has abased himself the way Lindsey has must also leave office. You don’t end Trumpism just by getting rid of Trump. And there is no more debased acolyte in the church of Trump than Lindsey, a man I once greatly respected…
And they both have very fine people running against them…
One final thing…
That conversation with E.J. Dionne about signs… He said Rep. Spanberger told him she was convinced of the value of signs for Democrats in Republican neighborhoods. (As a moderate Democrat who turned a Republican district, she understands such things.) He agreed with her, and I agree with both of them.
Hence my signs. And I’m going to worry and strategize about deploying them to maximum effect. Hence a lot of the overthinking you see above…
I’m not really a yard sign person. As much time as I spend on lakes, it has never occurred to me (before the Trump parades that shove it in everyone’s face) to have a sign promoting a politician or a political party with me while I enjoy time on the water. Must be a conservative thing.
I’m also not a bumper sticker person. I’ve always seen signs and stickers and such as tools to be nothing but divisive. Who is influenced by a yard sign or bumper sticker? I’m not. Maybe (a big maybe) some folks that haven’t decided who to vote for see a yard sign and feel like it’s ok to support that same politician. But that’s unlikely.
In real life, I actually go out of my way to never be divisive toward neighbors or someone that would simply visit my home. For example, I went to USC for undergrad. When my wife has a friend over that went to Clemson, we both intentionally don’t wear USC shirts or such things because we know some people take that stuff very seriously. We just don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. (I realize 99% of people wouldn’t care, but there are a few out there that would). I do the same when I visit a customer. I don’t put stickers on my car or wear shirts with school names, etc- because some things can be divisive to some people.
I realize that’s sort of crazy but it’s just what I’ve done for years now. FWIW- my neighborhood has between 30-40 homes. It’s rather small. I’ve never seen a political sign in anyone’s yard in over 12+ years living here. I don’t want to be the first.
I never do bumper stickers or yard signs. I put a Jamie Harrison decal on my car because I think it is important for people to see a middle age white guy stand up for Harrison in his bid to oust Graham. This isn’t a normal year by any means. So I took a stand of sorts. Publicly.
Understandable. I don’t look down on folks that do by any means. My oldest had a bernie bumper sticker for a year.
Currently SC is given a 12% chance of voting for Biden FiveThirtyEight. Several polls have Biden within 5%. But what is important is the odds of being the tipping point state. That is less than 1%. The top candidates for this honor are PA, FL, WI, NC and AZ. The system we have disrespects voters in most states. I will vote for the Democrats as a straight ticket. I refuse to participate in a system that disrespects my vote by selecting an individual for POTUS.
“The system we have disrespects voters in most states.”
Bud, I know you’re passionate about the Electoral College, but that makes no sense. When you have a 12 Percent chance of a good thing happening, you should pour every ounce of strength into making it happen. You should certainly do the very LEAST you can, and VOTE…
I’m voting straight party. That counts just the same. Frankly I have little enthusiasm for Biden. I fear we’ll be in a new war somewhere in his first year. Even so he’s a bit better than Trump.
I’ll also vote democratic straight ticket for the first time in my life.
I also think the electoral college is an awful system (like trump said when Obama won) but it’s not changing anytime soon.
Eventually it will change but that will take another 2-3 decades.