Apparently the electoral process is a little ambiguous for some folks in South Carolina.
If you don't like a candidate - say, for instance, Lindsey Graham - you are perfectly within your legal rights to vote for someone else.
You don't have to run against him.
But so far six Republicans, one Libertarian, one independent, a Democrat and a partridge in a pear tree have announced their intentions to challenge South Carolina's senior senator this year.
What, this is the 1st congressional district now?
It's pretty obvious that some people want Graham gone. Just this week Berkeley County Republicans joined the long list of county parties to consider censuring the senator for not representing their views. Graham gets slapped around more than Curly in a Three Stooges movie.
The senator's numerous detractors say he's out of touch with the state, too liberal, and doesn't say the word "Benghazi" quite often enough. One even called him "ambiguously gay," a term that is unambiguously homophobic.
But hey, sometimes crazy plays pretty well in the GOP primary.
The problem here is that all these egomaniacal knuckleheads think they can run a successful statewide campaign for $34.50 and a Starbucks gift card.
"I don't know what they think they see," says Neal Thigpen, the dean of South Carolina political scientists. "The more people who get in the race, the more they divide the anti-Lindsey vote."
There's nothing ambiguous about that.
Check your math
It is the height of arrogance and ego to think that you can come out of nowhere and win a statewide election.
Sure, every now and then some nobody from nowhere can get elected governor. But that kind of beginner's luck usually works only when there isn't an incumbent running for re-election.
Lindsey Graham is a high-profile Republican and, for all the people who don't like him, others think he's doing just fine. He's on TV all the time, after all - usually blaming some new malady on Benghazi. This tack to the right, which is what this Benghazi baloney is, was meant to deter competition.
Sorry, it hasn't worked.
Still, Graham is doing just fine. A recent Winthrop University poll of Republican voters showed him with 45 percent support going into the June primary.
Most of the people running against him were polling in the 3 percent range, which suggests that not even all their friends will vote for them.
The challenger with the most support right now is state Sen. Lee Bright. That's because he has the advantage of being in the Legislature, where he can get free publicity by trying to outlaw abortion or make it legal for kindergartners to carry AR-15s into Chuck E. Cheese.
Those publicity stunts - and stealing Mark Sanford's "cheap" campaign signs gimmick - have earned him a whopping 8.5 percent of the vote, according to the poll. Thanks for playing, Lee.
Even if you divide the 35 percent of primary voters who remain undecided by 7, Graham gets enough support to win the nomination without a runoff.
And that doesn't even factor in the Democrats who will cross over and vote for the lesser of all evils.
Need some strategery
There is always a chance, as Thigpen says, that one of these candidates who isn't Graham will get lucky.
"If they got all of them in a room and all but one, maybe two, dropped out, they would do better," Thigpen says.
But that would require some folks to bid farewell to their delusions of grandeur, to check their egos at the door.
Yeah, that's going to happen. It's about as likely that one of them will hit the Mega Millions jackpot and be able to afford a credible campaign.
The problem is that all these people are just anti-Graham, and little else. As Thigpen says, most successful candidates have a vision or a plan - they are for something, not merely against something. These candidates aren't even all that different.
At one tea party forum last year, Graham challenger Richard Cash got up and made his pitch. He was followed by Nancy Mace who said, basically, "What he said."
Of course it's a free country, and anyone who wants to can run for office. In the next week and a half, we may see even more people join the race. Heck, Graham may even recruit a few.
It's going to be a long three months, but at least we have something to look forward to.
By mid-June we will no longer have to listen to Graham blame Crimea, the war on Christmas and daylight saving time on Benghazi.
Reach Brian Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org
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