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McMaster vs. Cunningham: Archie Bunker vs. Progress, Fresh Ideas

The choice for governor between Democrat Joe Cunningham and Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is a choice between light and dark, the future and the past, and whether South Carolina will recognize and address the many failings that we have as a state.

  • Highest income tax rate in the southeast.
  • #42 in Education
  • Worst roads in the nation
  • Seventh highest crime rate in America
  • 11th from the bottom in health insurance

Keep going…

That became abundantly clear in the Oct. 26 televised debate during which McMaster made abundantly clear his determination to interfere with freedoms involving the most personal of decisions, to oppose expanding healthcare for those in need, to replace the state’s burdensome income tax with other 21st century solutions that would address the state’s serious education deficits, including a growing shortage of qualified teachers.

Close your eyes and you would have thought you were listening to southern Archie Bunker as he told Cunningham he opposes same-sex marriage (“I don’t care who you love… but marriage is a special institution and out to be reserved for a man and a woman”, and that he opposes legalizing marijuana, even for veterans suffering from PTSD because of injuries suffered in combat.

Abortion? Archie the Gov acknowledged that he opposes that procedure in virtually every instance, even rape, and incest, while Cunningham said he trusts women to make their own decisions.

Cunningham told the story of a 12-year-old girl who was raped. “She was scared,” he said. “He (McMaster) will sign a bill with no exceptions. I would veto it.”

Then came the answer McMaster gave—or didn’t give—when asked which Donald Trump actions he opposed.

“I agreed with him on cutting taxes. Our friends were confident (in the US) and our enemies were petrified. I disagreed with Trump on offshore drilling and testing.”

Not a word about The Big Lie, about inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection to overturn the election, about supporting the hanging of Vice President Pence by a crazed mob incited by Trump.

Not a word about that.

Not a word about Trump taking top secret documents home from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his defeat, some of which related to nuclear weapons.

Not a word.

Meanwhile, Cunningham said he opposed President Biden seeking reelection and opposed the election of Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker. That, he said, illustrates his independence from party pressure.

And he looked to the future. He advocated legalizing pot and online sports betting to replace revenue from the state income tax, which he would abolish. He spoke of immediately giving South Carolina teachers a $10,000 raise and increase their annual salary to at least $50,000 by the end of his term. He spoke of taking advantage of the economic opportunity that exists with electric vehicles and solar energy.

McMaster? Asked about climate change causing the increasing intensity of storms hitting South Carolina, he said, well, the storms are sure increasing, but he doesn’t really know why, so he set up a task force to find out.

He said he had an electric vehicle “summit” meeting a few weeks ago. “We’re on the cutting edge,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons people are coming to South Carolina.”

Cunningham called for South Carolina expanding Medicaid as provided under Obamacare, an action that McMaster and the GOP leadership has opposed, noting that it would expand 40,000 new jobs and provide healthcare to thousands of people. That, he said, is what he would do on Day One.

McMaster: “Expanding Medicaid means more federal entanglement.” So no, people who need help with healthcare, don’t look to McMaster for that any time soon.

What about guns?

Said Cunningham, “I reject this notion that we have to choose between respecting the 2nd Amendment and improving background checks.” He said he sponsored a bill to close the Charleston loophole when he was in Congress and that once a background check is started, it should not be stopped. Currently, that loophole allows the gun purchaser to obtain his weapon if the background check is not completed within three days.

“There is no excuse (in this day and age with computers and all) why background checks can’t be done almost instantaneously,” said McMaster, adding that the problem is the “revolving door” with magistrates setting low bonds and letting criminals walk away.

Cunningham reminded him that those judges who were letting people out on the street were appointed by McMaster. “They are his judges,” he said.

The difference between the two candidates was like night and day. Old ideas vs. new, progressive ideas. State interference and control vs. personal freedom. Good ole boy vs. a new generation.

Those were the days

Do you want to return the Archie Bunker governor to Columbia? Or do you want a new, 21st Century approach that will take our state into the future, while respecting the fundamental human rights of every South Carolina resident?

You decide.

Bob Gatty is co-chair of the HCDP Communications Committee.
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