HEALTHCARE LOSS MORE FODDER FOR TRUMP LEMONADE-MAKING: Trump’s not going to like the attention he’ll get for the next few days, as the commentators he says he doesn’t watch (but he does watch) talk about his “defeat” and how he was repudiated by some in his own party and how he’s shown ignorance of how to make deals in Washington. First up, no doubt, will be another “victory tour,” where Trump will go to rallies to hear the cheers of the crowd as he attacks Democrats for not taking his side. Once he’s gotten his fill of that (though he probably never will) he can huddle with his advisers and set his next priorities. For now, the health care debate is where he wants it — behind him.
TRUMP'S TIES TO RUSSIA VIA MANAFORT BECOME OBVIOUS: The White House quickly said Trump wasn’t aware of Manafort’s work on behalf of the Russian billionaire. But as the AP reported, “the work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.” Trump’s advisers and spokespeople may deny connections all day long, but they can’t escape Trump’s own words, including when he appeared to be cheering on then-alleged Russian hacking of Clinton-connected emails during the presidential campaign. Then, his comments were viewed with a measure of outrage but also of amusement, because few people thought Trump had a chance of being elected. But as president, his words are going to be watched, and he’s still throwing them around recklessly in tweets and with claims — disputed this week by the director of the FBI — that then-President Obama had Trump’s home wiretapped.
REPUBLICAN ATTEMPT TO PUNISH "SANCTUARY CITIES" LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE: If the “Citizens Protection Act of 2017” passes, someone will have to explain it to N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. “I have no idea how we would comply with it,” Stein said during a recent interview at the News & Record. Filed as House Bill 63 by several Republican representatives, the measure would direct the attorney general to investigate “noncompliance with a state law related to immigration” by a local government. Cities or counties found to be in violation could be penalized by losing state funds. This is meant to punish so-called sanctuary cities, which Republicans from President Donald Trump on down seem to think are shielding illegal immigrants from arrest and deportation.
GOP PUSHING PARTISAN RACES WHEN IT SHOULD BE DOING THE OPPOSITE: At this rate, unaffiliated voters will soon pass Republicans to become North Carolina’s second largest group of voters. Yet Republican lawmakers are treating them as if they are invisible. Worse yet, some would make them all but invisible not only on the benches of the state’s courtrooms, but also on elected local boards and councils. One Republican-backed bill would require that city and town council elections and school board elections be partisan. Some local elections are partisan now, but most aren’t. There are good reasons. Local issues are worked out between neighbors and residents, not Democrats and Republicans. And partisan labels could block or discourage people from seeking office. Federal employees are barred by law from running in partisan elections. People who work for nonprofits may be wary of engaging in partisan politics.
STATE TRYING TO SHORT-CHANGE EUGENICS VICTIMS AND FAMILIES: The reason this has stalled the final payment to living victims is that the legislature provided a fixed amount for total compensation — just $10 million. If the courts rule that more people are owed money, that would affect how the available funds could be divided. A better approach is needed. As our colleagues at the Winston-Salem Journal, who have led the reporting on the state’s eugenics program, wrote: “We urge the governor and the legislature to act now and get the final payment out to qualified victims. If that means more compensation money must be allocated for appellants who prevail, an amount equal to whatever final amount the qualified victims receive, so be it. But in the spirit of righteousness and decency, the qualified victims must be compensated now.”