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McMaster the Disaster

In his most recent campaign ad South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster makes everything from vague accusations to outright lies. Instead of touting his accomplishments (Did he actually have any?) he spends his 30 second spot making claims about a “broken Washington” and the false assertion that Democrats, presumably including his opponent, Joe Cunningham, want to defund the police.

In another ad, the McMaster campaign uses an attack ad to try to belittle his opponent by labeling him “Frat Boy Joe”. While this ad follows the childish pattern established by Donald Trump, it neglects to mention any positive strides McMaster has made to improving South Carolina.

Oh, and McMaster fails to mention that he was in a frat while in college. Not coincidentally, the frat to which McMaster belonged was all White, which would certainly appeal to his racist base. Yet, he chooses to ignore that fact. Undoubtedly it would have taken away the false impression he was trying to give of his opponent. On top of that, according to this Tweet from Cunningham, he was never in a college fraternity. So, lies on top of distortions. That’s Henry McMaster.

You would think someone running for reelection would find a way to crow about what good they’ve done. Instead, McMaster is using the last few weeks of the campaign to try degrading his opponent, make false accusations and distort facts to make him appear to be the better candidate.

Washington is Broken

McMaster makes this claim several times during one thirty-second spot. The implication here is that it was Democrats, including his opponent, who caused this. Except McMaster is running for a state-wide office; that of governor of his state. So, his reason for making the repeated claim that Washington is broken can only be to appease one Donald J Trump by painting Democrats as the ones who “broke” the federal government.

He later makes the pledge to “fix” Washington, again ignoring the fact he is not running for federal office. While a governor has the power to enact certain legislation in their own state, fixing things at the federal level is a bit out of their range. The promise to fix what is beyond his control is just more empty rhetoric from someone who cannot lay claim to anything of merit.

What’s more important to note is what McMaster fails to say. While he can indeed claim that Washington is broken, he neglects to mention the four years of chaos that was the hallmark of the Trump administration. He ignores that, for the first time in our history, there was not a peaceful transition of power that stood as the beacon for our democracy for over 200 years. He turns a blind eye to the fact that there was an insurrection to attempt to overturn the results of the election.

Yes, Washington is indeed broken. McMaster seems oblivious to who “broke” it.

Defund the Police

In answer to the murder of George Floyd and others, there was an outcry to defund the police in response to what many viewed as systemic racism in law enforcement. Republicans have used this to paint Democrats as the ones who continue to support this. While McMaster doesn’t go as far as to “Back the Blue”, he makes the false implication that Democrats, including his opponent, stand behind this effort.

Another convenient omission in McMaster’s ad is that immediately following the FBI executing a search warrant on Donald Trump’s Mar a Lago residence, Q Anon kook, and fellow Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene called to defund the FBI. This caused an uptick in threats to law enforcement as well as having an armed man attempt to breach the security at the Cincinnati FBI field office.

So perhaps instead of raising the false issue that Democrats want to defund the police, McMaster should look at cleaning his own house first.

Frat Boy Joe

In another ad, the McMaster campaign uses out-of-context images and oversimplification of Joe Cunningham’s proposed policies to characterize him as an immature college student instead of a serious politician who is capable of leading South Carolina. A video snippet of Cunningham opening a beer on the floor of Congress and a brief comment that “Joe likes pot” are deliberately misleading smears of Cunningham aimed at nothing more than creating a false impression among voters.

The video of Cunningham opening a beer on the Congressional floor is from when he was giving his farewell address . He told a story of how his grandfather told him everyone’s problems could be solved by sitting down together and enjoying a beer. His message was one promoting bipartisanship where he encouraged both sides to have a beer together and settle their differences. He then took out the beer from his jacket pocket and toasted both sides of the aisle.

It was a classy gesture, if not perhaps a little out of place, but McMaster has chosen to sully the occasion by mischaracterizing Cunningham’s actions as one of an irresponsible frat boy

MacMaster furthers this distortion by condensing Cunningham’s proposal to legalize marijuana, as many states already have, to the simple “Joe likes pot” instead of explaining his position to focus on violent criminals instead of tying up law enforcement and taking up prison space with those, mostly minorities, who are arrested and convicted for possession.

McMaster’s “Accomplishments”

You would think someone already in office would use precious ad dollars to tout their accomplishments in order to win reelection instead of childishly trashing their opposition with innuendo and falsehoods. Perhaps it’s because McMaster has so little to cite that he’s decided to take the low road?

Exactly what has he done?

Well, there’s his coronavirus response. He opposed vaccine mandates, demanded schools reopen with limited safety restrictions, “empowered” parents to make their own decisions regarding masks allowing parents to claim religious exemptions to ignore mask mandates, and after acting cautiously at the start of the pandemic, ignored CDC guidelines to alleviate the spread of the virus.

His actions likely resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of South Carolinians.

The Fetal Heartbeat Law was initially proposed with no restrictions regarding rape, incest or the life of the mother. McMaster was convinced to sign a less restrictive law, but it still essentially banned almost all abortions in the state.

Prior to recent legislation, South Carolina was one of only six states that didn’t allow early voting. The new law permits two weeks of early, no-excuse voting. Meanwhile, mail in ballots have returned to their pre-pandemic restrictions. So, it’s a win/lose situation when it comes to voter access.

Like many South Carolinians on the right, McMaster supports unrestricted access to firearms by any resident of the state. He opposes President Biden’s efforts to enact gun control measures in response to yet another school shooting. His pro-gun initiatives are at odds with a majority of Americans.

Given the lack of accommodations, it’s understandable that McMaster needs to resort to attack ads and mischaracterizations. If you had so little to go on, what’s left?

It’s time to end the McMaster disaster. Vote Blue!

CJ Waldron, of Conway, is a member of the HCDP Communication Committee and an adjunct English professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
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