By: Laney Sifford
America is in the midst of change and political movements are forcing parties to re-create themselves. Unconventional candidates such as Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are changing the face of traditional politics.
South Carolina is no different, and now in 2010 Nikki Haley could be South Carolina's first female governor since the state became independent in 1790.
Those keeping a close eye on the evolving parties say factors are feeding into this change in the status quo and Nikki Haley's sudden popularity. USC Undergraduate Director, Todd Shaw, says one movement in particular has had a significant impact.
"The Tea Party Movement and this endorsement by Sarah Palin; we haven't in recent history seen an endorsement matter so much," says Todd Shaw. "That's unique in the way in which this movement is moving the establishment party and the establishment leaders. It really does matter."
Todd Shaw says we are in the post era of the recently elected president of the United States, Barack Obama, and the historically prevalent Civil Rights Movement. The Chair for the Southeastern Institute for Women, Donna Dewitt, says outside groups are forcing parties to change and adapt to a new time. However, no matter how progressive America has become there are still people who are unwilling to admit to change and South Carolina natives can be stubborn in their ways as well.
"We're in the South. Women have a different perspective in some cases if they were born and raised here," says Dewitt. "Women in South Carolina will not go and vote without having their husband tell them how to vote. I don't think women have accepted that they have parity with men."
Representative Nikki Haley says she thinks we should focus on political and economic issues rather than gender roles in politics. However she says she does encourage more women to run for political office.
"We are the lowest in the country on women elected, but that's not because it's harder on women," says Haley. "It's because women don't run and that's my biggest focus to women is to let them know that if they run they have just as much chance at winning as anyone else does. But, we are lowest in the country because we continue not to run."
South Carolina, like the rest of the United States, is in the midst of change and South Carolina could see its first woman governor in history.