The Other Candidates In South Carolina’s Special 5th Congressional District
South Carolina’s 5th congressional district holds a special election today to replace Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney left the district to help Donald Trump enact a highly regressive economic policy as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The 5th congressional district is dominated by right wing religious ideology. The Republican candidate, Ralph Norman, has run a heavily religious campaign as a “dedicated Christian”. He promises to use the power of the federal government to give privileges to members of his own religion, declaring that, “I will empower middle class families in South Carolina; those frustrated with government, those who understand the value of personal responsibility, and those who believe in the virtues of faith in God.”
The Democratic candidate in the race, Archie Parnell, supports a more progressive vision of America in which the federal government serves all people. “Our nation is built on the idea that all people are created equal and our Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law,” Parnell says. Nonetheless, Norman is expected to win.
The race isn’t just between Norman and Parnell, however. There are three other candidates in South Carolina’s 5th district election today.
Josh Thornton offers a perspective that is simultaneously unfamiliar and thoroughly precedented. Thornton is unusual in that he is proposing the creation and growth of a new political party. What’s not unusual at all is what Thornton envisions his new political party to be: Something that everyone can agree upon. He calls it the American Party, and the idea seems to be to simply work on a centrist vision that all Americans support. He claims that he can “Bring Unity Back to Congress”, ignoring that Congress was divided from the very beginning of the United States, and pretending that the majority of voters in South Carolina’s 5th congressional district don’t support a highly divisive partisan agenda. Thornton doesn’t seem to grasp the irony in his pledge to end partisan divisions through the creation of a new political party.
Then there’s the Libertarian candidate, Victor Kocher. What does Kocher stand for? Not much. Mostly, Kocher posts cat memes onto his campaign’s Facebook account.
A more serious approach is presented by David Kulma, the district’s Green Party candidate. Kulma proposes that health care, education, and shelter be recognized as human rights that society should provide to all people. He supports action on climate change, pledges to oppose authorizations for further war, supports sanctuary cities, and is running on a platform of economic justice.