Winners and losers in South Carolina

If we go by the official election results Newt Gingrich won the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina with 40 percent of the vote, and Mitt Romney came in behind him with 27 percent. Pulling up the rear were Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

While Gingrich won, the concerns of the American people were the biggest losers.

The American Federation of Teachers put it this way in a commentary today: “As Republicans continue their efforts to select their nominee, one thing is clear. These leading Republican candidates are out of touch with the concerns of middle-class America, and as president, neither (Gingrich or Romney) would fight for the 99 percent of Americans.”

Gingrich repeated his racist charges that President Obama is a food stamp president, and he repeated his attacks on labor laws, including, outrageously enough, child labor laws. After the primary he called again for the elimination of unionized school janitors and replacing it with a setup that involves one “master” janitor and a team of children working under that person to take care of the school buildings. What could possibly be more out of touch with the concerns of the working-class majority than these ideas?

Billionaire Romney continues to speak about how corporations are people, how he comes from the “American street,” how he has experienced the fear of being fired and he even described the $374,327.62 he earned in speaking fees as “not very much” money. It’s hard to be more out of touch with workers than that.

Paul and Santorum offer no improvement over the front-runners. All the GOP candidates have fallen over one another promising to support anti-worker right-to-work (for less) bills, constitutional amendments to balance budgets (at the expense of vital people-serving programs), attacks on women’s reproductive rights such as laws to define fertilized eggs as human beings, and unlimited spending by corporate PACs on election campaigns.

All have pandered to the right-wing morality police and their political intrusions into the moral behavior and beliefs of Americans. Ironically, Gingrich himself had his personal morality brought up to him in a national debate.

Gingrich also suffered from the $13 million Romney’s PACs spent on anti-Gingrich ads. It’s hard to feel sorry for him about this, however, considering his support for the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows the PACs to spend unlimited amounts.

The real shame is that all the GOP candidates have spent millions to advance a program for the 1 percent, not a platform that benefits the broad majority. And even worst than that, all the Republican presidential primary candidates seem to be working in overdrive to do whatever they can to destroy not just President Obama, but any effort that is under way to bring about economic and social justice.

Photo: Other South Carolinians at a march and rally at The Statehouse, Jan. 16, Columbia S.C., to honor the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and protest the state’s repressive voter identification law. Mary Ann Chastain/AP