It turns out Clyburn takes a little bit of credit for Harrison’s candidacy.
Clyburn explained to Joy Reid that he met Harrison as an 11th grader and knew even then Graham’s future challenger would make a terrific politician. “He called me and asked would I come and install him the new president of his honor society,” Clyburn recollected. He was so impressed by Harrison’s moxie, “I said this is a young man I'm going to hold on to. And he will make a great candidate.”
During MSNBC’s coverage of the South Carolina primary, Clyburn was part of a discussion about the importance of down-ballot races, particularly Harrison’s. Reid’s other guests, LaTosha Brown and Anton Gunn, noted that it’s important to focus on what black voters care about beyond just beating Donald Trump. Gunn said black women, especially married black women, are “the top barometer” of the election. From what he hears, “health care is critical” to them. Thousands of South Carolinians who would otherwise have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act have none because the state did not expand Medicaid, he said.
“That's why it's important for these down ballot races because you might have a great president, whoever that president may be, but if you don't have a House and a Senate, nothing will get done,” Gunn continued.
Brown agreed. She said that while beating Trump “is really high on the list,” black voters also care about “how fundamentally their conditions in their community are going to change.” She called it “a major mistake” if the Democratic Party only focuses on beating Trump.
That brought Reid back to Harrison. “It’s not just that Lindsey Graham will do whatever Trump says” but “it’s also that he’s ignoring home,” she said. “He actually spends all his time on the golf course with Donald Trump and doesn't spend time here working on the problems that people here have.”
Clyburn added that he has put up billboards around Charleston saying, “Making America’s greatness accessible and affordable for all.” That’s what he works on every day, all day, he said. “It does nobody any good to have all these great systems and they're inaccessible and unaffordable.”
It would be great to see Harrison defeat one of Trump’s top toadies but it would be even better to have a South Carolina senator actually working for its citizens.