The decision has been made. When S.C. Democrats gather for the state party’s annual fundraising dinner next year, the event will no longer bear the names of Jefferson and Jackson. But the debate is likely just beginning.
The party’s executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to drop the names of former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson – long considered the founders of the Democratic Party – from its annual fundraiser, although no replacement name has been proposed and this year’s J-J Dinner will go forward on Sept. 30.
On Facebook, party chairman Jaime Harrison made a lengthy post explaining the committee’s decision that touched on the party’s tangled racial history and the country’s evolving standards.
On his page, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democrats’ candidate for governor in 2010 and 2014, compared the decision to last year’s vote to remove the Confederate Flag from the S.C. State House.
He weighed the two men’s “terrible acts as rightly judged by today's standards,” as well as being “great men who played important roles in making this country a beacon of freedom that blinks brightly around the world.”
But elsewhere, there was concern that the decision was a needless distraction for the party in the midst of an election year, and some wondered who would match the standards needed to have the dinner named after them.
But others were supportive of the decision, seeing it as a way for the party and the country to move forward.