South Carolina is about as Red as any state in America. However, Columbia — the state’s capital and second largest city — has had a Democratic mayor for the past three decades. In recent years, this probably has much to do with the fact that more than half of Columbia’s population is non-White.
In 2020, Joe Biden carried the city by a margin of nearly 40 points. Thus, the Dems’ stranglehold on Columbia seemed complete.
However, Columbia has just elected a Republican mayor. The Republican, Daniel Rickenmann, defeated Democrat Tameika Isaac Devine in a runoff election last week. The margin was 4 points, 52-48.
Rickenmann, a member of city council, prioritized three issues: public safety, support for small businesses, and repairing infrastructure. Devine focused on “issues of income instability, affordable housing, creating equitable neighborhoods, and embracing the diversity of this city.”
Rickenmann’s platform proved more attractive to voters. Even in Democratic strongholds, voters seem more worried about crime, lack of job opportunities, and deteriorating roads and bridges than about abstractions — especially abstractions like equity and diversity that have come to stand for an erosion of standards and lack of concern for public safety.