Just when you think partisanship could not boil any hotter, the heat is turned up again.
Now it's school board elections. In only two districts in the state are the elections partisan, Lee and Horry counties, and no authorization in law can be found to require that. In fact, in numerous districts in the state, the enabling legislation actually requires that the elections actually be nonpartisan.
Yet, the Republican Party has posed as an Advisory Question on this year's primary ballot: "Should candidates for local school boards be able to run as a candidate of the political party of their choice, just like candidates for other elected offices?"
The question is so artfully phrased that to answer "no" seems almost un-American.
The anticipated overwhelming affirmative vote on the question posed will be hailed as "proof" that the people want school board elections to be partisan. A candidate's "choice" of political party, as appealing as that may sound, will be enacted into law to be a "requirement" for a candidate to run for school board. Partisan school board races, currently not confirmed by law anywhere in South Carolina, will be the law in every school district in the state.
What's the motivation here?
Two words: "power" and "control." It's no different whether it's Republican or Democrat. A political party weighs power and exercises some measure of control over those who would be its candidates.
How many times have we heard the threat that a primary opponent would be thrown up against one of their own if the candidate should stray from the party line? And how often does a political party dictate an agenda to which all its candidates are expected to adhere?
So, how to vote on the referendum question before us?
A "no" vote would be a clear expression against partisan school board elections, no matter the phrasing of the question on the ballot.
Or, if you don't want to vote "no," just skipping over that question would send a message that the question asked is not really the question at all.
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