The Night that Nothing Interesting Happened

‘Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’

‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’

‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’

‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.

I capitalized the words in my headline because it seemed like “The Night that Nothing Interesting Happened” could be the title of a Conan Doyle story.

But no one would have read it.

The large headlines this morning in South Carolina newspapers — and on their browser sites — were a bit weird. Because the “big news” they trumpeted wasn’t news to anyone — was it? McMaster wins? Ellen Weaver wins? Did some reader somewhere expect something else?

When I looked for election news this morning, I was trying to find out, for instance, whether the local-option sales tax thing here in Lexington County had passed. I didn’t think it would, and it didn’t, but I wanted to see for sure. (As I mentioned before, I had voted for it, but I didn’t think a majority would).

But as I said yesterday of this election, nothing interesting was happening. In fact, if I look back all the way to when I first voted in 1972, this may have been the least interesting general Election Day I’ve seen.

Oh, something interesting — horrifying, really — is happening to our republic on the grand scale. As one example, when our representative democracy was healthy (which it was for most of my life), we would never have been sitting around wondering whether such a phenomenal, spectacular idiot like Herschel Walker was about to become a U.S. senator. He’s probably not, by the way, although he’s in a runoff. Yet close to half of the voters in Georgia chose him, and all over the country, similar (but not as spectacular) idiots won. You know, election deniers and such. But since 2016, we’ve grown used to that, haven’t we?

Anyway, suspense was entirely missing, here in South Carolina. But here are a few things worth mentioning briefly, here and elsewhere:

Governor — What we knew would happen, happened. Henry will be governor for four more years, which I’m sure makes him happy. He had always wanted to be governor, and now (I think; I haven’t looked it up), he will be governor for longer than anyone in state history. Of course, I voted a write-in. I never wrote the post about the many reasons I wouldn’t vote for his opponent, although I may do so later, just as an illustration of how the Democrats (and the Republicans, although I’m definitely not holding my breath there) need to do better next time.

Superintendent of Education — Another thing we knew would happen in our degraded democracy. A completely unqualified woman who is hostile to public schools and other things that make sense will now be in charge of public schools in our state. So hang on.

Congress — Well, we still don’t know what happened here, do we? Maybe something “interesting,” to put it politely, will happen here, but it hasn’t happened yet. So we’ll see.

Spanberger — I was very pleased to see Abigail Spanberger, the moderate Democrat in Virginia’s 7th U.S. House district, win. I had been concerned for her, but she made it. I’ve never met her, but as I’ve said before, America needs a lot more like her…

Fetterman — It was good to see him win, although in a healthy country, there’d have been little suspense.

SC House District — I was sorry to see Heather Bauer beat Kirkman Finlay, but not because I have any personal animus toward Ms. Bauer — I’ve never met her — or am carrying any brief at all for Kirkman. I’m sorry because of the lesson far too many Democrats will take away from it, which will be bad for them and bad for the country, which is already divided enough. The thing is, Ms. Bauer ran on nothing — nothing — but abortion. Went on and on about it, as one voter in the district (who usually votes Democratic) was complaining to me the other day. Yay, abortion, all day and night. Many Dems will seize upon this as extremely significant, as their path back to dominance. They will ignore that this is a Democratic-leaning swing district in Shandon, of all places, and that it’s a bit remarkable that Kirkman had held onto it this long.

US 2nd Congressional District — As the gerrymanderers predetermined long ago, and have reaffirmed many times since, Joe Wilson easily beat young Judd Larkins. Which we all knew would happen. I need to give him a call and see how he’s doing and thank him for running anyway. Maybe he’ll run for something else. Something other than Congress, preferably.

Signs — That reminds me, I guess I need to take down my Judd Larkins sign. Which in turn reminds me of the signs I saw over in my mother’s neighborhood this morning (see below). I guess they were really disappointed this morning — or maybe not. Of course, Clyburn won, as he was destined to do. The weird thing is, this was in Wilson’s district, so they could have had a Larkins sign up, and didn’t — which is a shame. Anyway, the thing that struck me about these signs when I first saw them, before the vote, was that it was the first Cunningham sign I had seen in anybody’s yard around here. Of course, I haven’t been out walking much lately, and that’s when I usually notice signs…

That’s about all I can think of to mention. I may add some other things later, but right now I need to run to a doctor appointment. See you later….

16 thoughts on “The Night that Nothing Interesting Happened

  1. clark surratt

    Perhaps the most interesting thing on your ballot was the school board races. Do you know who won the three seats yet?

  2. Phillip

    Finlay’s district is not just Shandon, though, it also includes the generally more centrist of Old Woodlands, all the neighborhoods named Hampton etc. I live there now and there were a lot of Bauer signs. I know you have a different view of the issue, but given the result of some of the ballot issues around the country, (not to mention that previous Kansas referendum), hard-line anti-abortion positions are simply not going to fly with a lot of middle-class women who might well be pulling the R lever in other circumstances. It’s not a winning position nationally, though I know of course you will say that should not matter. The reality is that since the recent SCOTUS ruling, this has become issue #1 or right near the top, especially for women. The overturning of Roe v Wade has definitely energized the pro-choice movement.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, as I tried to communicate, the issue for me is that to me, the biggest problem in America is that we are so divided we can’t talk to each other, and as a result our ability to govern ourselves is completely falling apart.

      The most divisive issue in America is abortion. I’m not sure what comes in second — maybe guns.

      Anyway, through the years when any candidate or party or campaign has indicated that he, she or it wanted to run on nothing but abortion or guns, my response has been, “Can’t we talk about something else?” You know, something that doesn’t immediately make it impossible for people to deal with each other constructively on anything? Talk about abortion, or guns, if you must, but PLEASE also talk about a couple of dozen other things, so that you can indicate an ability to participate in governing a place in which people hold many different views.

      That was my position when Roe ruled the land, and it’s my position now.

      For instance, I just talked about how glad I am that Abigail Spanberger won. Well, she’s on the same side as Heather Bauer on abortion (so was James Smith, and I was his spokesman), but she’s also interested in talking about, and leading on, OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS.

      I wrote what I did about Ms. Bauer not because she disagrees with me on an issue — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t disagree with me about something important — but because she seems to have a monomania about that issue. I’m basing that, of course, on the coverage I’ve seen. As I made sure to note, I don’t know her. But this single-issue focus would disturb me even if the subject was something harmless like, I don’t know, baseball. I’d love talking baseball with the person, but would look around for someone more well-rounded to be a state rep. And this is, again, the most divisive issue in America.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, and yes, I know — it’s not just Shandon. It runs out Garner’s Ferry, I believe, which is how Kirkman Finlay gets in.

        Along the way, it takes in some of the area behind the VA, I believe.

        And to be fair, Kirkman was preceded in that seat by fellow Republican Jim Harrison. But before that, it was Candy Waites. So let’s split the difference. Note that I called it “a Democratic-leaning swing district,” not a “Democratic district.” And God bless it for that. I wish they were all swing districts.

        I just think of it as the Shandon district, I guess, because that’s the part of it I’m most familiar with, and that’s where I saw signs for this race back before the election…

      2. bud

        Since you made such a big deal out of Ms. Bauer’s campaign issues I had to check out her website. Indeed her top issue was abortion. But she did mention several other things including roads and crime. I think she’ll be a good person to have in the general assembly.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, she mentioned other things, but apparently she was only heard talking about ONE thing — based on what I’ve heard from her district. And from media. The State wrote of her victory this way:

          Democrat Heather Bauer, who ran her campaign solely on the right to abortion access, defeated 10-year Republican incumbent Rep. Kirkman Finlay who represents the sole swing district in Richland County….

          That was written by my old colleague John Monk, who I believe is also a constituent of that district…

  3. bud

    There were 6 abortion referendum measures on the ballot across the nation last night. The pro-choice side went 6-0. Along with the Kansas vote earlier this year that makes a perfect 7 for 7 for the common sense premise that women should have control over their own bodies. The GOP is like the dog that caught the car and they are paying for it at the ballot box. That to me makes last night one of the most important and interesting non-presidential election nights in my lifetime. If the Dems hold on to the Senate that will be a major reason. Americans still value freedom. Isn’t that a good thing?

      1. bud

        Yep. I sent you an email with photos. I guess you didn’t see it (or it got lost). Great trip but we needed more time.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, same here!

          I’m sorry about the email thing. I get way behind on it sometimes, but I think I’ve achieved a record at this point. I’m close to 8,000 unread at the moment.

          Perhaps I should spend the rest of Saturday catching up, but I have other stuff to do, too… I’ll just go find yours — and post about it separately…

  4. Barry


    1) Trump is attacking Ron DeSantis on social media. Two peas in a pod. It’s interesting to watch the car wreck.

    2) 11th Circuit right wing Judge William Pryor attacked numerous liberal commentators by name at a recent speech raising some eyebrows during his overtly partisan speech. In contrast, Judge Michelle Childs spoke at the same event, with no name-calling or partisan shots and delivered a very professional speech.

    3) Right wing tv lawyer Jonathan Turley, who used his social media to attack people like John Fetterman before Tuesday, were suddenly silent after Tuesday. Turley, who has pretended to be liberal for years to get on Conservative tv programs to attack Democrats, has spent his social media time since Tuesday attacking Joe Biden. Turley also attacked NPR for labeling Herschel Walker a questionable candidate (Turley’s words) but many people pointed out that Turley totally ignored Mitch McConnell referring to Walker, and several others, in the same way.

    4) 6 ballot initiatives regarding abortion restrictions all failed on Tuesday across the nation. As even a Fox News right wing commentator pointed out on the air this week- tens of millions of Americans (or more) totally object to the idea that abortion would be almost totally banned. It’s not something the American people, as a whole, accept and Republicans and right wingers are finding that fact out.

    5) Ted Cruz said Tuesday wouldn’t be a red wave—it would be a “Red Tsunami.” He also spent weeks on a bus tour (for his own 2024 bid) campaigning for 8 candidates. All eight of them lost.

    Ted Cruz is not especially good at the stump. Even Republicans (privately) describe him as someone who is impossible to really like, and he’s also impossible to work with behind the scenes. It’s one reason so very little of his proposals get anywhere. For a US Senator who has his name in the media constantly (much like right winger Jim “Gym” Jordan in the House) he has almost no legislative accomplishments. But he’s a favorite of right wing tv and media who often play his comments on a loop.

  5. Barry

    Hopefully it holds- but very pleased to see Democrats hold control of the Senate.

    This is great news for judicial nominees.

    This is remarkable given the state of the economy. Incredible really. Even better to see right wingers in the media, right wing lawyers, and such whining and crying about it.

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