Lexington County, SC – Donald J. Trump took first Lexington County, then South Carolina, and finally the United Sates to become the 45th President of the United States of America last night. The race was called by most large news sources when Trump passed the 270-electoral vote majority and steadily climbed to points north of 280 later in the night. It has been reported that Hillary Clinton conceded in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In Lexington County, Trump claimed more than 65% of the votes cast. This reflected the staunchly conservative makeup of our electorate that returns only one Democrat to office with any frequency each cycle. That Democrat is SC State Senator Nikki Setzler who was reelected again for an eleventh term last night with almost 59% of the vote.
Throughout the race, voters made it known that they felt they weren’t being listened to by their elected officials and they were more than fed up, they were steaming mad, at the politics as usual that takes place in both the legislative and the executive branches of our government in Washington.
Many of the voters we spoke with in Lexington County were angry about what they saw as a deterioration of some of our country’s basic principles; hard work, family values, faith, and fairness. They said that the government was too quick to coddle the lazy and needed to learn a little tough love.
The middle class, mostly white voters said they were becoming the minority and felt they had lost their voices. They were tired of politics as usual and proved it with their ballots on Tuesday. They felt Trump, a businessman and anti-politics candidate, was the best man to bring us up and out of the quagmire we seem to have landed in.
It was clear that the Lexington County voters blamed the Democrats for our country’s ills. This was proven again as they voted to show their allegiance to many long and short serving Republican incumbents like Congressman Joe Wilson. He has served us in the US House’s SC Second Congressional District for many years.
Wilson easily turned away Democratic Socialist Arik Bjorn who ran both as a Democrat and a Green Party candidate. Wilson claimed almost 68% of the vote over Bjorn, who seemed woefully out of tune with Lexington County voters.
Bjorn immediately sounded like an experienced politician after winning the Democratic primary in June. He denied that we had any more than a minuscule problem with able bodied people who were perfectly satisfied to live on the government’s dole without bothering themselves with pesky details like work or personal responsibilities.
Bjorn proved how out of touch he was with the voters of southern Lexington County when he showed up to walk in the 2016 Pelion P-Nut Party’s parade wearing a dress shirt and tie. The people who enjoy the parade, which takes place in the oppressive heat of the first week of August in SC, are more attuned to friends in shorts, t-shirts, floppy hats, and flip-flops. Most politicians who show up to shake hands and make their case wear cotton slacks and golf shirts, attire more in line with the working-class people of the area.
Our neighbors also showed that color or race wasn’t an issue any longer if we felt the incumbent candidate was doing a good job. County voters supported Republican first term incumbent US Senator Tim Scott with more than 85,000 votes over his challengers. He was finishing out the term of former senator Jim DeMint, who resigned from government service to take a job in the private sector before his term was finished.
Scott is an African American from the low country who was raised in a working-class home by a single parent; a story that thousands of Lexington County citizens can relate to. He is seen as an intelligent, hardworking servant that has the best interest of South Carolinians at heart.
It remains to be seen if President- elect Trump will be the agent of change that most here think he will be. There are high hopes that he will undo boondoggles like Obamacare and repair or replace flawed policies like NAFTA and CAFTA, agreements that many blame for the destruction of the textile industry in South Carolina.
President Trump will have a leg up on presidents from our recent past. It looks as if he will be working with both a Senate and House that are both controlled by Republicans; something that has only happened 16 out of the last 100 years of our country’s history.
On Wednesday morning, most Lexington County residents who came into their regular morning stop at Shealy’s PDQ on Main Street in South Congaree talked excitedly about Trump’s win and the outcome of the elections. It remains to be seen if their excitement is warranted and a positive change is on the way or if we are doomed to live with more politics as usual. One thing is abundantly clear; voters here and across the country are willing to make radical, unpredictable, wholesale changes to the elected government if they aren’t satisfied with the job that the officials they elect are doing!