Amid North American supply chain woes and multiple convoys, truckers are making waves in politics and a pair of them are running for office in South Carolina, including "Trucker Bob," as the GOP gubernatorial primary ballot will list him.
"Truck drivers are of course absolutely essential to the functioning of the modern economy," University of York professor Shane Hamilton, author of "Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy," told Charleston, South Carolina's "The Post and Courier." "They are in many ways the glue that holds global supply chains together.
"Certainly truck drivers have a loud political voice when they block traffic and blare their horns, though a key question is who is listening?"
Harrison Musselwhite, aka "Trucker Bob," is running against incumbent GOP Gov. Henry McMaster in the primary this June, and he is trying to make some noise with a loud horn.
"I'm gonna have my body armor on," he told a recent rally. "I'm going to have my fully stocked AR-15 on, locked and loaded.
"I'm going to have my Smith and Wesson .40 locked and loaded at my side. And I'm gonna look 'em dead in the eye for us, we the people, and say 'Gates of hell, no!'"
Democrat statehouse hopeful Daniel Duncan has a similar trucker career, but dissimilar politics as a self-described progressive.
"I find the economic populism angle to be a smoke screen," Duncan told the Post and Courier. "While some of the convoy members are downtrodden workers, even owning your equipment is a level of economic success that is out of reach for most workers.
"I think this is just another example of well-funded right-wing groups using working-class language to smuggle in their ideology."
The independence of thought despite the same background is not lost on Musselwhite.
"Truck drivers are very independent, fiercely independent," he told the Post and Courier. "That's why we can stay in a truck for two weeks at a time by ourselves and get the job done.
"We're also self-motivated. There have been thousands of times I had to get up at 4 a.m. when I did not want to get up at 4 a.m. But I knew I had a job I had to do."
The "Freedom Convoy" and the "People's Convoy" brought truckers to the forefront of politics, despite Duncan's skepticism, according to Summerville-area activist Trish Lazarin, who hosted protests in the state.
"What happened in Ottawa, I think, was really eye opening," Lazarin told the Post and Courier. "It told us, 'Hey, wait a minute, we are important and our voices do matter.'
"There's more of us than there are of them, you know, the common person versus the establishment, particularly the establishment politicians who live there for decades and have no idea what their rules do to the people on the ground because they don't live by the rules that they make."
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