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The futility of the Deep South Democrat

There was a certain futility to Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s congressional campaign, one that had nothing to do with her and everything to do with the state and region she calls home.

When a poll a few weeks ago put her ahead of former Governor Mark Sanford by nine points in South Carolina’s 1st District special election, Democrats perked up at the prospect of an unlikely victory in the heart of Dixie. But there was reason to be skeptical of that poll, and when the votes were tallied Tuesday night reality asserted itself quickly, with Sanford posting a relatively easy 54-45 percent win.

In hindsight, no one should be surprised. There’s plenty of chatter this morning about supposed turning points in the race, dramatic moments when Sanford snatched the momentum from his Democratic opponent and won over reluctant swing voters. But who knows if Sanford was ever really trailing by that much in the first place? More likely, the SC-1 special election is simply the latest example of white voters in the South – and particularly the Deep South – doing what they almost always do these days: vote Republican.

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