(Columbia, SC) – The historical origins of the South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) are known to have involved a connection with a racially discriminatory past. Furthermore, there is a recognized history of efforts within the party to impede Black South Carolinians from exercising their voting rights and leveraging those votes for meaningful impact.
This article aims to explore the current situation within the Greenville Democratic Party, examining its past history of discriminatory behavior, specifically the suppression of black voter influence. This involves the removal of an outspoken African-American community activist from his position as an executive committeeman within the Greenville Democratic Party, prompting the question: Has the Party changed?
There is a Bible quote that most of us have heard and that seems appropriate here. It asks “Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:23.
Now some people believe that SCDP has changed and that there is a new SCDP. After all, it now has a Black female Chair and the Democratic electorate in South Carolina is now overwhelmingly Black.
My grandmother used to say “Let me make the rules and I’ll win the game every time.” I say the party is the same because the leopard does not change its spots and it still makes the rules by which the game of politics in South Carolina is played. And we are still not free.
I could cite multiple examples to prove the point but will only mention two. Some time ago I reported on what I called the political lynching of the then Florence County Democratic Party Chair, an outspoken Black female. The Political Lynching of Mattie Thomas. In that case, Sister Thomas was required to run for her position several times after intervention of the State Party Chair. She finally gave up. The leopard does not change its spots.
Last week a duly elected SCDP Executive Committeeman was removed from his position for an alleged violation of the state party rules. This act was yet another example of the South Carolina Democratic Party leadership’s continued attempts to prevent the overwhelming Black majority of the party from exercising political power proportionate to their numbers. For the record, the Democratic electorate in South Carolina is nearly 70% Black.
The party strategy is, as it has been since the 1940s, to prevent the majority Black Democratic electorate from gaining control and thereby prevent their issues from being heard.
The most effective way to accomplish this goal is to remove any persons, male or female, who would champion issues (i.e., a Black agenda) other than those approved by the party elite – whose only interest is apparently in losing.
For this reason, I was not surprised when another outspoken member of the party became the latest casualty in the continuing battle for political power proportionality in South Carolina. It appears that because this person championed a Black Agenda and generally advocated for Greenville’s Black community he was seen as a threat to those who want to silence anyone who would dare stand up for the Black community.
Here’s how they did it: Rule V.6. of the SCDP Rules as amended Rules as amended June 12, 2022. The Rule is entitled RESIGNATION AND/OR VACATION OF POSITION BY COUNTY PARTY OFFICERS. The Rule provides as follows:
1. ALL LEVELS Any state, county, or precinct official of the party who
publicly supports, endorses, or works for a candidate for public office
who opposes a candidate nominated in the primary of the Democratic
Party shall be considered to have vacated his/her position as a Party
official. The person being replaced may not be re-elected or appointed
until the next regular election for such said office. (Italics added).
The operative words in the Rule are ”publicly supports”, “endorses” or “works for a candidate”. This Rule was used to remove a duly elected Greenville County Democratic Party Executive Committeeman Kwadjo Campbell.
The argument advanced and upon which his removal turned was that he violated the Rule. This is odd, to say the least, because there was no allegation that Mr. Campbell publicly supported, endorsed, or worked for a candidate who opposes a candidate nominated in the primary of the Democratic Party. These of course are the only reasons that the rule can be legally invoked. It should come as no surprise that the question addressed was not any one, of the violations enumerated in the Rule but “[w]hether Campbell providing resources would be seen as a violation of the Rule.” Greenville Democrats oust local leader, say he supported GOP candidate (greenvilleonline.com)
Clearly, when the Greenville County Executive Committee chose to determine whether any act other than those enumerated in the Rule amounted to a violation of the Rule any action taken was without authority. The Rule does not authorize a witch hunt.
But because the party in keeping with its well-documented history of doing everything it can to control the Black vote and silence those who do not tow the party line I am not surprised. The leopard does not change its spots.
In my latest book entitled “The Power We Possess”, I address the fact that our support for the Democratic Party is and has always been taken for granted. And that the main beneficiary of our vote has been the Democratic Party. It is high time that we recognize that our vote is valuable leverage and that it must be used to our advantage. I mean that we must declare independence from blind allegiance to political parties starting with the Democratic Party. In short, we must declare ourselves independent en masse.” The Power We Possess: Understanding the Power of Your Vote and the Need for the Political Evolution of the Black Electorate: Cordero, Johnnie: 9780998504162: Amazon.com: Books