South Carolina: Denying Its Contradictions


South Carolina mother of seven. 1939. FSA/LOC

The byline lists my hometown, but the real story is the parallels of contrasts the Republican primary exposes. A Trump victory will have little influence on the state’s external image, nor did Obama’s 2008 Democratic victory. Mark Sanford’s Congressional win after his intercontinental disappearance (while stargazing on the Appalachian Trail), the state treasurer’s 2007 indictment on cocaine charges (less than 500 grams–more than a pound!), or the lieutenant governor’s abrupt 2012 resignation to avoid criminal charges for personal use of campaign funds all had little real impact.

The state remains divided. Recently, 10% polled believe whites are a superior race; they won’t go away no matter who wins.

The real story is the how state gets beyond its bias: it has active mosques across the state with international/local membership (a SC Catholic priest refused communion to Obama voters, citing his support for abortion); the name of Strom Thurmond’s interracial child was added to his state house monument; the state concurrently elected to Congress, James Clyburn and Jim DeMint. It may soon vote for Trump, having elected a black senator of the same party!

With the country’s highest murder rate for women and nearly so for infants, it landed BMW, Boeing (the 100th Dreamliner built last week!), Michelin and Volvo; not due to low wages, but the quality of advanced engineering skills taught at Clemson (and GA Tech, NC State). It’s a paradigm of operating contradictions!

A Donald Trump Victory Could Clash With South Carolina’s Self-Image – The New York Times

~~The Dreamliner shuffle was a foreseeable part logistics disaster that initially cost Boeing big-time as the 787 entered the market. Southern engineering grads didn’t figure nearly as much into taking that amount of a risk as did ongoing multiple strikes by Seattle’s unions — influenced largely by higher wages to accommodate an increasing cost of living in the Northwest. As it were, Airbus chose Mobile, AL, for its U.S. plant. There are plenty of bright grads in the Northeast and former aero-state of California. Outside of DARPA-MIT and SpaceX, the industry barely gets a nod in those regions. It’s all about money.

All things equal–Boeing looked at other sites!–the engineering expertise tilted the decision! Please note the concentration of plants near Greenville–BMW, Michelin, et al.–who like other Southern located auto plants–originally used NASA engineers from Huntsville. You are correct about the “push” factors. I have identified the “pull.” You must have the engineers. SC offered the best combination. Otherwise, the plant would have been located elsewhere.


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