Alvin Greene and the Strange Politics of South Carolina
So a black unknown candidate grabs the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. In a state where the current Republican governor took Argentine love trips and an Indian-American candidate to replace him won after fending off accusations of infidelity, nothing is surprising.
Maybe because of the allegations, state representative Nikki Haley, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate, was not able to close the deal with Republican voters on Tuesday night and must face a runoff on June 22 against Congressman Gresham Barrett for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. It is now an absolute certainty that we will not be able to ignore South Carolina politics for the next few months, which even by historical standards is taking the craziness to new levels.
When the delegates to the South Carolina Secessionist Convention gathered in a church in Charleston in December 1860, beginning a sequence of events that would lead to the Civil War, a famous South Carolinian at the time, Judge James Louis Petigru, pointed to the church and observed, ''It looks like a church, but it is a lunatic asylum.'' Petigru refused to join the secessionists, because, he said, ''South Carolina is too small to be a republic but too large to be a lunatic asylum.''
Maybe then, but the scale and scope of lunatic asylums have changed over the years. They are now the size of ... South Carolina.
Terence Samuel is The Root's editor-at-large. His first book, The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, was released last month. Follow him on Twitter.