Save Our Primary? – How About Save Our State!

February 24, 2013

Written by guest contributor Stephen Brown

SC flagA group of South Carolina Republican Party leaders, under the guise of an effort to “Save our Primary”, are trying to mislead conservatives throughout our state to protect the “good ole boy” political system in Columbia, currently dominated by establishment Republicans. They falsely claim that “a handful of smaller, louder groups … are working on a plan to end primaries (including the ‘First in the South’ Presidential Preference Primary.)” No one is trying to end primaries and certainly no one is attempting to eliminate the South Carolina Presidential Preference Primary. So you might ask, why the intentional false statements by some Republican Party leaders?


The answer is that a coalition of grass-roots conservative activists from around the state are working together to redirect the Republican Party. Those conservative activists committed to defending the Constitution of the United States, avoiding shackling our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt, protecting traditional values including the right to life and the sacred institution of marriage, supporting the rule of law without regard for wealth or political influence, and guaranteeing the safeguards of the Second Amendment to protect all of our other rights, have recognized that now is the time for action. The 2013 Republican Party “reorganization” process, which begins in March, provides what may be the last real opportunity for grass roots conservatives to direct the Republican Party so as to lead South Carolina on the path to becoming the most free state in the nation. The “establishment Republicans” are nervous, and turn to falsehoods like those in the “Save our Primary” website, because many former members and supporters of the GOP have lost confidence in its ability, or desire, to lead our conservative movement effectively. For years the Republican Party establishment has paid lip service to the values of our conservative movement, while simultaneously working against our achievement of critical goals that were within our reach.


Political parties are private groups of individual citizens who voluntarily band together to collectively influence the government and the adoption of laws, at all levels, under which we, as citizens, are expected to live peaceably. Political parties, and their members, are supposed to be free to associate with like-minded citizens, and equally important, not associate with citizens of differing political views, as they select those men and women to represent them in general elections. However, the “good-ole boy” system in South Carolina has successfully limited any real choice in this state by prohibiting registration by party. By adopting, enforcing and maintaining laws that permit any registered voter to vote in any party’s primary, the party nominating system is watered down such that often you can find little difference between the nominees of the major parties between which you can choose in a general election. That is why the Republican Party platform endorses registration by party in South Carolina. However, while the Republican Party pays lip service to that goal, the South Carolina government, dominated by Republicans in both houses of the legislature for years now, makes no meaningful effort to craft the Republican Party platform into law. To the contrary, leading Republican elected officials, including key Republican legislative committee chairmen, actively work against such a stated goal of the South Carolina Republican Party, and have done so for years.


Although there are nine certified political parties in South Carolina, as a practical matter, a candidate cannot win a general election unless he or she is the nominee of either the Republican or the Democrat Party. Because the Republican Party is currently the dominant political party in South Carolina, the “good-ole boy” network is protected so long as “acceptable” Republican Party nominees are produced. The effectiveness and influence of the conservative movement is limited by ensuring that all registered voters, even and especially those with no philosophical ties to the Republican Party, are permitted to vote in the Republican Party primaries to water down the limited choices that are presented in a general election.


Now we are at a most critical time in the history of our country. Many of us are concerned, and simultaneously frustrated, as what have been historic concepts of right, wrong, justice and societal norms are turned on their heads. Who would have ever imagined that we would have to define what constitutes a marriage, or that we would be attacked because we want enforceable borders and oppose amnesty for those who violate our laws, enter the country illegally, steal social security numbers and work in violation of other laws already on the books? Even more, who would have thought that our South Carolina Republican leaders would refuse to protect us from overreaching mandates of the federal government, beyond the enumerated powers delegated to the United States by the sovereign states through the United States Constitution, under the guise that the Supremacy Clause of that Constitution prohibits them from opposing such unconstitutional power grabs? These are precisely the existential threats to our personal liberties that we face today.


If you are reading these political thoughts, whether you agree with them or not, you are already part of a very small percentage of our voting age population that takes the time or expends the energy to consider such questions. Thank God that today we still have the right to such political expression. If you agree with the stated goals of the Republican Party, but are frustrated or even disgusted by the lack of leadership coming from the Republican Party in Columbia, join with us and help change the direction of the South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP.) Delegates to the SCGOP state convention in May, who will be elected at county conventions to be held all across the state in April, will have the raw political power to change the direction of the SCGOP without regard to what the establishment thinks or desires. This is the one avenue in our current political system where the grass roots, consisting of the average conservative activists in South Carolina, can directly influence the Republican Party, and ultimately our state government, without the blessing of the “governing elite.” Such conservative delegates, consistent with current state law, can determine the method for the nomination of the Party’s candidates in each election cycle, whether by convention or open primary. No one’s permission is needed, and very little money is required. It is for precisely this reason that the Republican Party establishment is resorting to false statements on the internet and through any other medium it can, to scare uninformed Republican Party loyalists to oppose this grass-roots effort.


One of the biggest obstacles we face is to convince conservative stalwarts, many of whom have been faithful members of the Republican Party in the past, but disillusioned by its recent failures, to even engage in the reorganization of the Republican Party in 2013. Many such conservatives see little reason to freely associate with the Republican Party at this point in time because they do not believe that the actions of the Republican Party coincide with their own views for reasserting the founding principles of individual liberty in a society with a limited government — especially one where the federal government is limited to those specifically delegated powers set forth in the United States Constitution and all other powers are expressly reserved to the States and to the People. To those like-minded conservative allies, I ask that you join with us because the SCGOP provides the vehicle most likely to permit us to accomplish our goals. No third party is currently viable. The SCGOP is like a gassed-up sports car with the keys in the ignition and the driver’s door open. All we have to do is get behind the wheel and drive! Of course, the Republican Establishment is trying to close the door and roll up the windows to prevent us, as conservative activists, from truly directing the agenda and the future of the GOP. I ask you to join with us in this battle for the GOP, not because the Republican Party deserves your efforts, but rather because the Republican Party provides the best avenue for us to be victorious in the fight for individual liberty and the protection of our God-given rights that we as South Carolinians cherish.


If you agree with these goals, please attend your Republican Party precinct meeting in March, attend your Republican Party County Convention in April, and seek election as a delegate to the State Republican Party convention. You can view the video on the Save Our Primary web site, set up by the establishment to oppose our efforts, for further detailed information about the reorganization process. You may also contact me via e-mail at Many South Carolinians have already self-identified with our objectives by having freely chosen in the past to associate with the Republican Party, TEA parties, 9/12 groups, the Republican Liberty Caucus or various other liberty minded organizations. We do not have to convince those patriots of the merits of our cause. We need only rally them to the site of the battle, which in this case will be the Republican Precinct Reorganization meetings occurring in the next few weeks and the Republican Party County Conventions to be held in April.


Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown

Rarely do I post such statements on facebook or other social media/blog sites, or otherwise inundate your inbox. But now, our very ability to govern ourselves is at stake. The South Carolina General Assembly is considering taking away from political parties in South Carolina the last few rights and responsibilities political parties have for self-determination. The “good ole boy” network is still alive and well in South Carolina, but it is fearful of the one weak spot left in its underbelly. If we grass-roots conservative activists coalesce to take control of the SCGOP through the reorganization process, we have one last chance to make the Republican Party the vehicle for the conservative movement to oppress the tyranny of government in our state and nation. I do not overstate the conflict in which we are currently engaged! Please stand with us in this critical fight.

Stephen H. Brown —


Editor’s note: Over the past two plus years I have had the honor to get to know Stephen Brown closely and have worked beside him on various efforts to advance the conservative movement both in our state, as well as nationally.  I count Stephen among my most trusted friends and political allies.  If I am ever unsure of something involving politics I often consult with Stephen and have confidence in deferring to his judgment.  I am proud to be a part of the group of grass-roots activists from across the state including Stephen who have been working very hard to try and reform the state GOP back to its stated platform.  Our efforts have greatly been misrepresented by the GOP establishment in their effort to try and besmirch our movement towards reform.

I fully endorse what Stephen has stated above, and I stand with him and the thousands of grass-roots South Carolinians who are desperately seeking to reform the GOP and save the conservative movement.  I stand in utter opposition to those GOP party “leaders” who are trying to squash any and all efforts to reform the party and primary voting system.  We can no longer allow the good ole boys (and girls) in our state “leadership” to force us to allow non-conservatives to vote in our primaries and control our party nominees.  I urge every true conservative to attend their precinct reorganization meetings coming up next month, and to help elect like-minded delegates to our next state convention. We must take back our party and state, and we must do it now!

~Javan Browder

Follow Javan on Twitter


Stephen Brown is a conservative GOP leader from Greenville who has been involved as a grass-roots activist for many years through the GOP, Tea Party, and many various other organizations and movements across the state. A Navy veteran, Stephen is a former Greenville County GOP Party Chair, former delegate to the RNC, and former candidate for us Senate.  Stephen works as an attorney and currently serves as main legal advisor for the Greenville County GOP.



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