BEATING LADY G
Can Lindsey Graham be beaten in November?
Lindsey Graham was once a moderate Republican, if you can believe it. His colleagues were known to refer to him as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) after he back ed President Obama's Supreme Court nominees and immigration reform bill. But as Trump has continued to stoke racial animus amongst his base, losing voters on the independent fringes of his support while attempting to churn out only his most firebrand loyalists, Graham has taken to swimming with the tide, fearing electoral consequences associated with breaking with Trump, an act proven to be the silver bullet for Republican politicians across the country. Graham's loyal support of the President has gained him national prominence, for better or for worse...
WATCH: Lindsey Graham's meltdown during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings should act as a nice refresher as to how far gone the Senator from South Carolina really is...
But this morning, after Trump rolled out his plan for restricting work visas for certain workers through the end of the year, Graham seemed to briefly remember where he came from, and started to doggy paddle back, tweeting in support of legal immigration, saying that the order would have a "chilling effect on the economy." And it's no wonder. As more Republican politicians gear up for the years that will follow November 2020, and yes, there will be years to follow, they are beginning to see the writing on the wall. If Trump does not win another term, he will not be viewed as a success: the botched response to the spread of COVID-19, the trouncing he got in the midterms, and joining the elite group of presidents to only serve one term, a club with only four members since 1900. Aligning with him will make life difficult for Republicans looking to get elected in this rising age of accountability.
And no one would be happier than Jaime Harrison.
Running against Graham for U.S. Senate in South Carolina, Jaime Harrison knows his constituents. Recently he has taken to the airwaves to discuss the response to COVID-19, which has been dismal in South Carolina, much due to the dilapidated health care system in rural areas and communities of color. As a black man, Harrison represents a rethinking of electoral politics in the South, leading the way with politicians like Stacey Abrams who took up the mantle of fair elections with her Fair Fight initiative after a very unfair fight in the Georgia governor's race to reimagine the South and give the agency and weight to Black voters that they deserve for propping up a loosely built Democratic political apparatus there. In the words of the State Democratic Party Chair in South Carolina said to The Atlantic, "We're an independent state that trends Republican because Democrats run shitty campaigns."
But not Harrison. Surging In polls and fundraising, Harrison has connected rural communities with internet so that he can effectively reach them to campaign. He is charming, understanding, and a moderate Democrat who will fall in line with Biden and not alienate those independent voters that Trump has shooed away in service of his ego. And it's working. The Washington Post notes that non-white voters have registered to vote in the millions already, a record for the state, and that in the blackest precincts, there was a 26% increase in turnout for the Democratic Primary. In the whitest neighborhoods, Democrats turned out at even more than 130%, suggesting that many have either switched affiliation or are energized for the change of leadership we want to see.
In any case, Graham's immigration comments, after supporting the Muslim Ban and defending Trump's treatment of immigrants in cages at the border, are transparent as ever, but are they enough? With the country awakening to the racial injustices that have steered the politics of the South since before the Civil War, an African American Democrat who's willing to listen and hear the concerns of his constituents, with a blue wave at his back, might be what we need to start to wash away those stains.
And Lindsey Graham is a big one.