Today is the South Carolina primary, which might be a make or break primary for some candidates, if we can believe the pundits and commentators. Or the way forward may continue to seem muddled. After all, Super Tuesday is just days away, and I heard one newscaster say that 30% of the delegates will be assigned after Super Tuesday. Fourteen states vote on Super Tuesday.
Even after Super Tuesday, the way forward may continue to seem muddled. Maybe the way forward is never as clear as we would prefer--that situation has certainly seemed more the norm than the exception to me.
I can see pluses and minuses with each Democratic candidate. I'm still not sure who I would vote for. I know that I would vote for one of the two female candidates if I voted in the South Carolina primary today.
South Carolina has open primaries, which means there might be crossover voting. People might cast votes in hopes of wreaking havoc. That's not a new thing--when I voted in my first South Carolina primary in 1988, people talked about that idea.
In 1988, I voted for Jesse Jackson. I didn't think he had a chance of winning the nomination, although he did very well in the primaries that year. I didn't think I would ever see an African American as a president in my lifetime. I am so happy to have been wrong about that.
I have a memory of voting for a Native American woman (the Green party candidate maybe?) while I was a voter in South Carolina, but I think that vote was during a regular election day. I knew that the state's electoral votes would go to the Republican, so I felt free to vote for people who weren't Democrats. I knew that my vote wouldn't be counted the way I wanted. Still, it felt thrilling to vote for a woman, even as I knew that she didn't have a chance of winning.
I took my duties as a voter in South Carolina much more seriously as a voter in the primaries, even back when the South Carolina primary came later in the season. I wanted to help choose the best Democrat to run against the Republican that would win my state's electoral votes.
Today I live in Florida. Once I thought that my vote was much more important as a Florida voter. Now I can't even be sure my vote will be counted properly (see the 2000 election). Of course, now that's the reality in which most of us find ourselves.
Let us hope that all goes well today in South Carolina. Let us hope that South Carolinians have clarity of mind and that the poll workers don't face any challenges that they can't handle. Let us see what happens.
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