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Outcomes less important than the proof that elections work

June 21, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

As South Carolina primary results trickled in Tuesday night, those hoping for a definitive answer about Donald Trump's continued hold over the Republican Party were bound to be disappointed. But that's not what should be our most important takeaway. Instead, it's that our electoral system continues to work well.

Dozens of state and local races were up for grabs, but the most media attention, particularly nationally, focused on two congressional races in which incumbents who had been critical of Mr. Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol faced Trump-backed challengers.

The challenger backed by the former president in the 7th District, state Rep. Russell Fry, upended five-term incumbent Tom Rice, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump following the Capitol riots. But 1st District incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace prevailed in a close contest against another Trump-backed challenger, Katie Arrington. The results were not unlike other primary results across the country, where some Trump-backed candidates have prevailed and others have not.

"Every district is different," Ms. Mace said Tuesday night, and we agree. "This district marches to the beat of its own drum, and we really have an independent voice." Ms. Arrington graciously conceded and told her supporters that Ms. Mace won "fair and square." South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick congratulated both, adding, "We're all on the same team."

We did not want GOP primary voters punish two incumbents for putting our Constitution ahead of the desires of one man. It's important to note Ms. Mace essentially was criticized for voting not to certify the election results that the states sent to Washington, even though the Constitution clearly says it's the job of the Congress to accept the results from the states.

But we hope even those who disagree with us accept the results of Tuesday's primary and can appreciate how protecting and preserving our democratic system is of greater consequence than the more ephemeral issues that often determine election outcomes.

We're pleased to note that there didn't seem to be major problems during Tuesday's voting, and that the state's new early voting procedure worked well. More than 100,000 South Carolinians cast ballots during the state's first-ever 10-day early voting period.

Our leaders need to tone down the political rhetoric so we can all appreciate that, despite our differences, we are all ultimately on the same team. Our nation would be stronger for it.

Much is at stake. Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former leader of the Joint Special Operations Command and Afghanistan War commander, is one of the group's founders. In an interview with "CBS Mornings," he correctly noted: "Our enemies would like nothing more than to find us not unified, to find us fragmented and unable to be the kind of America that they have faced before or relied on if they're allies."

It's crucial that Americans have faith in the integrity of our elections, so it's heartening that our system has passed the stress test forced on it in recent years. People of goodwill also can disagree about how serious a threat to democracy has been posed by the former president's mendacity regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. But as long as our political disagreements are settled at the polls, and we guard ourselves against those who seek to corrode our faith in the American system, our election process and our nation will remain strong.

-- The Post and Courier, June 15

Print Headline: Outcomes less important than the proof that elections work

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