It is way too hot to go outside today. It is certainly too hot to listen to politicians blow hot air.
Today, the primary voting booths are indoors in air conditioning. No politicians will be allowed to campaign inside voting precincts.
Good reasons to go vote.
Don't go vote early and often, and if you are dead, please do not vote -- this isn't Chicago -- but go once.
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It is your county council, your Statehouse representative, that you have a chance to select. That person will represent you, either in a November election against a challenger, or in office for years, if there is no opposition in November. It just takes a minute.
Why vote in a political primary when it is too hot to breathe?
The winners in those races will decide what your taxes are, how they spend the money you work so hard for and what gets done or doesn't get done.
Huge political careers can come out of primaries.
In 1982, John Spratt was just another Democrat from York. He had yet to acquire a single flip chart or give a long, dry speech about a budget surplus or deficit. Spratt was in a four-way primary to represent the 5th Congressional District, against three experienced heavy hitters from Chesterfield, Chester and Sumter counties.
If Spratt hadn't come out of that 1982 primary and won the runoff afterward, maybe he never would have helped shape the policies of this country like he has for 26 years.
"You can't get to the finals without competing in the semifinals," said longtime Spratt aide Robert Hopkins, now retired. "I hear all the time, 'Politicians are gonna do what they are gonna do anyway; my vote doesn't count.' Well, every vote counted in that race all those years ago."
In 2002, a virtually unknown former Republican Congressman from the coast -- whose main claim to fame was that he was so cheap he slept on a futon in his office in Washington, D.C. -- ran in a huge six-way Republican primary for governor. That guy faced the sitting lieutenant governor, the sitting attorney general and others. People at Summerfest in York the year before wouldn't take free ice from the guy, as temperatures soared near triple digits.
But that cheap former Congressman named Mark Sanford was the top vote-getter in that June 2002 primary, and he won the runoff two weeks later against then-Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler. Sanford is still your governor, and he's on many short lists to be a vice-presidential candidate for John McCain in the fall.
"It takes effort, work, to get people off the couch to vote in a primary," said Rod Benfield, who ran Sanford's York County campaign. "People are busy. You have to get people motivated. You do that by earning their attention and pointing out why your candidate can make a difference."
And in places like York County, where so many races are unopposed in November, today is important, even though primaries historically have weak voter turnouts.
Live in Lake Wylie or Clover? The Republican primary today will decide who is on the York County Council -- there is no Democrat running in November. Live in southern Rock Hill or southern York County? Same deal. Same for northwestern Rock Hill.
After today, you have no choices.
The politician chooses after today.
Politicians "do what they want to do" when the people don't watch them. When people don't reward good service and leadership with re-election, or show a loser of an incumbent the door.
If you consider yourself a Democrat, you can vote in the Republican primary today. The other way around, too -- perfectly legal and legitimate. Nobody can force an American to go vote.
Yet, I would ask any person who has seen the old TV footage of teens in the civil rights days getting blasted with water hoses or bitten by police dogs to remember: Those young people wanted to vote. The country was theirs, too.
Remember the old spinster teacher who taught you about the revolutionaries who signed the Declaration of Independence? Those guys wanted to vote. Or the York County men who died in wars in other countries? They fought for people here in York County to vote in a free country.
Sure, it is gonna be a hot one today. It will be easier to stay cool and then moan about who gets elected.
But then, you'd be a little bit less of an American than those civil rights-era kids, those patriots and those soldiers.