America’s past involved whites only primacy elections. In some ways, they still do.

As we head back to South Carolina, the state that fought to protect the white primary until the 1950s, it’s as if black voters don’t matter – again

In 1896, a moment marked by increased lynchings, violence and disfranchisement, South Carolina added to the woes and created the white primary. The law, which the rest of the one-party south would adopt throughout the Jim Crow era, said only white people could vote in the Democratic primary election.

White people, mostly men, would alone choose who would go on to the general election in November. Then, and only then could African Americans and others, who had managed to squeeze through the array of voter suppression tactics such as the poll tax and the literacy test, cast their meaningless ballots. But make no mistake, the real contest was in the primary, and whites had already determined the ultimate winner.

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