South Carolina 2020

Female politicians are struggling, but could succeed with more faith from voters

By Shirin Ali
Medill Reports

In 2020, more women hold positions in U.S. political office than ever before. Survey data reveals that 69% of adults believe female political leaders would improve the quality of life for most Americans. The public sees benefit to female leadership, but struggles to convey that faith in the voting booth.

Despite positive statistics in favor of women, the U.S. political landscape suggests a much bleaker reality of female leadership. Despite voters having more comfort electing females to legislative positions, when it comes to the Oval Office, women time and time again face significant obstacles.

“There’s a comfort level with women as legislators, whether it’s at the federal level or state level. They work well up the aisle, but to be the chief executive to be the place where the buck stops, that’s the next, big hurdle,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Though year-over-year data produced by CAWP shows a steady increase in the number of women choosing to run for office, they still face more struggles in winning votes than their male counterparts. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 48% of Americans say men will continue to hold more high political offices in the future, even as more women run for office.

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Q’s on the Quad: Clemson University

By Samone Blair and Emine Yücel
Medill Reports

When asked if they could name five presidential candidates, the majority of Clemson University students surveyed before the South Carolina primary could only name former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

All the students Medill School’s Q’s on the Quad talked to had questions they wanted to ask President Donald Trump or the Democratic candidates, but most were unable to name five current or former 2020 presidential election candidates.

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Buttigieg’s plan for addressing racial equality draws mixed reactions

By Areeba Shah
Medill Reports

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Before Antoine Brown performed at his first political event — a black art and culture celebration for the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg — he had only performed at local coffee shops and hookah lounges.

But now, he stood before a crowd of about 20 Buttigieg supporters at a black-owned business, surrounded by “African Americans for Pete” signs, after the group had just finished watching a video of the former South Bend mayor’s pitch to black voters, the Douglass Plan.

“We’re in a time right now that’s about making our dreams come true,” Brown said. “Y’all ready to get excited? So when I say I got dreams, I want y’all to say ‘Aye!’” The crowd joined in enthusiastically.

Antoine Brown laughs with the crowd right before his performance. (Areeba Shah/MEDILL)

The Douglass Plan, named for abolitionist former slave Frederick Douglass, is designed to “dismantle racist structures and systems” that have kept African Americans from succeeding in this country by investing in what the plan calls “black America.”

The question for the small gathering at Thee Matriarch Bed & Breakfast remained whether Buttigieg, a 38-year-old politician who has never won state or national office, can win the votes he needs in the black community to make him a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination.

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Climate change has hit Beaufort, South Carolina, but only some vote on the issue

By Anne Snabes and Maura Turcotte
Medill Reports

BEAUFORT, S.C. — The sea along South Carolina’s coast line is growing ravenous.

In this sleepy coastal town at the bottom of the state, Tropical Storm Irma sent waves over the sea wall into a downtown park in 2017. Downtown businesses flooded with waist-high water. Nearly a year after the storm, the federal government reported spending nearly $64 million on South Carolina’s recovery efforts.

The damage from climate change is very likely to grow, scientists predict. The impact threatens areas of the state’s Lowcountry barely skimming above sea level — including Beaufort, South Carolina’s second-oldest city, home to longtime residents and retirees from the North.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that, if sea level rise is modest, the ocean will rise about 1.4 feet in an area south of Beaufort by the year 2100. In an extreme scenario, the ocean would rise by 10.5 feet, swamping much of eastern South Carolina.

South Carolina’s coast is struggling with the effects of climate change. (Maura Turcotte/MEDILL)

Residents recognize the rising sea and worsening storms. And yet there is no consensus among Beaufort residents — or in South Carolina more broadly — about whether action should be taken or even whether climate change should be a major issue in the Democratic primaries.

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Pete Buttigieg’s attempt to win over South Carolina’s African American Voters may not be enough

By Shirin Ali
Medill Reports

Coming off a hot streak of wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign attempted to push its momentum to South Carolina earlier this month by hosting The Douglass Plan Culture, Arts & Hip Hop Celebration, a crossover event of arts and politics.

The event was structured to be an open forum for sharing black art and culture, while also advocating for Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan, which the candidate defined as a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of black America.

“I think we as Americans have done a very poor job telling the story of black people in the United States,” said Tiffany James, Pete for America’s black engagement director.

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No clear home for Yang Gang

Seb Peltekian
Medill Reports

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Venture capitalist Andrew Yang announced the end of his run for the Democratic presidential nomination after mustering minimal support in the first two contests of the year, Iowa and New Hampshire.

So where will his supporters, affectionately known as the Yang Gang, turn?

“My heart’s broken but I’m probably going to have to support Tulsi because she supports UBI also,” said Nate Gallian, 19, a student at the College of Charleston, referring to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Universal basic income, or UBI, was Yang’s proposed “freedom dividend” — $1,000 a month to everybody in the country. Yang said that it would combat economic stagnation caused by automation.

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Medicare for All attracts support for Bernie Sanders

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Corina Pittman, a college student with severe allergies, once bought two EpiPens that were each $200. She called this price “crazy.”

She is passionate about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal, which would end private health insurance and institute a single-payer health insurance system. That means the government would pay for everyone’s health care.

“I think it’s obviously ridiculous how much money we spend on health care,” said Pittman, who grew up in Pennsylvania and attends college in North Carolina. “My parents spend so much money on health care for our family.”
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Q’s on the Quad: University of South Carolina

By Samone Blair and Emine Yücel

Medill Reports

The day after the New Hampshire primary, Medill School’s Q’s on the Quad asked students at the University of South Carolina in Columbia whether what’s happening in other state’s primaries would affect who they will be voting for on Saturday’s South Carolina primary. While some said even though it’s important to pay attention to the results of other state’s primaries, it’s not crucial in their decision making. Others emphasized they will decide who they’re voting for based on the candidates’ performances so far.

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