Voter registration, minimum wage stagnation and gubernatorial goobers

For Weekly SurgeMay 7, 2014 

In Under the Outhouse this week, we take a look at the deadline to register to vote in the June primaries, how not raising the minimum wage can help Myrtle Beach and how the S.C. governor’s race is making us dumber.

Voter Registration Deadline for Primaries is Saturday

If there is one maxim of Under the Outhouse, it would be: “It’s the primaries, stupid.” It is hard enough to unseat an incumbent politician, and in a state like South Carolina where Republicans are as untouchable as a golden calf, this is especially true -- with one exception: primaries.

The primaries are the voters’ chance to determine which Republican/Democrat is on the ticket in the general election, and is a time when even incumbents are vulnerable to the opposition. The Tea Party figured out the power of primaries in 2010 when it was able to unseat many entrenched Republicans with Tea Party-favored candidates.

If you aren’t currently registered to vote, or have moved since the last election, be sure to register or update your voter registration by Saturday (May 10) in order to vote in the South Carolina primaries. You can do this in three easy ways: Online at www.scVOTES.org (requires SC Driver’s License or DMV ID Card); at any library, Chamber of Commerce, Department of Motor Vehicle office, DSS, Mental Health, health department, or the Horry County Voter Registration Office in Conway; or, by downloading a voter registration form at www.scVOTES.org.

To find all the Horry County candidates who will be on the primary ballot, visit http://manage.scvotes.org/candidate_lists and select the “Candidate Tracking System” link to start searching for candidates. Do your research. This is the best chance you have to get the candidate elected who best represents your personal political values.

Myrtle Beach Area Benefits from Failure to Raise Minimum Wage

In an election year defined by the abysmal failure of Obamacare, in addition to the Obama administration’s involvement in a now-too-long-to-list list of scandals, Democrats in Congress put raising the federal minimum wage at the top of the legislative priorities. A raise to the federal minimum wage has broad support from the general public; however, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill last week that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

While the GOP’s actions may seem like cold-hearted bitch-slap to the working class, increasing the minimum wage will put thousands of unskilled workers out of jobs. Sound backwards? It’s not. For many small business owners where labor is a fixed cost because of high competition or tight margins, increasing the minimum wage forces them to either cut jobs, or find other ways to save costs (like replacing cashiers at grocery stores with self checkout stations).

In Myrtle Beach, that would mean fewer jobs for unskilled, seasonal workers such as students or migrant workers. “Young people across the country look to restaurants for their first jobs,” reads the Web site for the National Restaurant Association. “A mandatory wage increase could further restrict opportunities for young and less-skilled individuals.”

Governor’s Race is Making us Dumber

Last week, Will Folks, the rather notorious editor of South Carolina political site www.FITSNews.com, and I exchanged thoughts on the Republican Governor Association’s attack ads on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen. The ads, which crucified Sheheen for his work as a defense attorney, immediately faced backlash from a broad range of political (and nonpolitical) organizations. In fact, only the RGA, the South Carolina Republican Party, and Nikki Haley (by her silence on the issue) supported the ads. Folks suggested Haley’s lack of objection to the grotesque ads is because, quite simply, they are working in her favor. Folks added that rather than just Haley condemn the ads, “We need to ALL condemn a political establishment that keeps voters this fucking stupid.”

In 1920, American political essayist H.L. Mencken, famous for his biting satire of the U.S. political process, described voters as “a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental.” Mencken suggested that as this process evolved, eventually the White House (or, in this case, the Governor’s Mansion), “will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Folks’ point about the RGA’s pro-Haley ads in South Carolina mirrors Mencken’s point made nearly a century ago. By feeding voters dumbed-down sound bytes created to intentionally stoke their emotions, voters are turned into a mob that eventually becomes unable to differentiate between truth and propaganda. Without question, the RGA’s ads are propaganda, even if technically true. But even more offensive than the tactics employed by the RGA in attacking the basic constitutional right to legal representation is what Folks highlighted in his comments: keeping voters stupid.

Andrew Davis is a Myrtle Beach native and former Director of Communications for the national Libertarian Party. Contact him at SCPundit@gmail.com, or follow on Twitter at @SCPundit.

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