THE GOP'S WAR ON THE POOR: So what is the war on the poor about? As I see it, you need to make a distinction between what motivates the G.O.P. base and what motivates conservative politicians. Many blue-collar whites still think that the poor are lazy and prefer to live off welfare. But as events in Maine show, such beliefs aren’t central to the war on the poor, which is mainly being driven by political elites. And what motivates these elites is ideology. Their political identities, not to mention their careers, are wrapped up in the notion that more government is always bad. So they oppose programs that help the poor partly out of a general hostility toward “takers,” but also because they hate the idea of government helping anyone. And if they get their way, society will stop helping tens of millions of Americans who desperately need that help.
THEY WANT FULL-TIME WORK. THEY'RE GETTING TEMP JOBS: Between 2009 and 2014, the number of temporary workers grew by 52 percent in North Carolina, compared with 39 percent nationwide. These temporary workers earn an average annual salary of roughly $30,600, compared to the $45,000 average earned by workers in the state economy as a whole. But the replacement of traditional jobs by temporary ones is not the only challenge for rural workers seeking employment or professional advancement. The high cost of child care, lack of access to public transportation, and criminal background checks also make it difficult for rural workers to find and maintain full-time jobs. Addressing these barriers is critical for supporting rural workers and improving socioeconomic conditions in these communities. Addressing this lingering employment challenge for rural workers is critical for their families and communities, and the state economy as a whole.
VOTERS MUST DEMAND GERRYMANDERING'S END: Politicians creating districts to protect themselves and their party undermines our democracy. Picking and choosing their voters for partisan advantage has been a practice of both parties designed to ensure the party in power can stay in power. The problem is the practice of drawing “safe” districts systematically dilutes the power of your vote. It pushes candidates on both sides of the aisle to the extremes of their respective parties. They become more ideological in their views and are less likely to work across the aisle for common sense solutions to the many problems we face. Further, a representative elected in a district that virtually guarantees his or her reelection has no incentive to be truly accountable to all the voters. He or she need only stay true to those in his or her party whose votes really matter in the safe district.
EVEN BIPARTISAN BILLS GET SCUTTLED BY BERGER & MOORE: With each of these five measures, the legislature could have addressed a problem and moved the state forward with a pragmatic solution. There are a variety of reasons why the bills didn’t pass, but it’s safe to say each would have passed with support from House Speaker Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger. Our legislature has become excessively partisan. No one expects a consensus on every issue; there are honest and substantial philosophical disagreements. But the five bills show that there also is substantial common ground. It’s time —past time — for legislative leaders to put more emphasis on getting things done for North Carolina and less emphasis on posturing for the next primary. We hope voters will send that message this November, and legislators will return in 2019 with a more solutions-oriented approach to governing.
CHARLOTTE'S LANDING OF THE RNC MAY NOT BE A VICTORY: What if you were entertaining bids for a convention that figured to be a big pep rally for a president seeking re-election and almost no city wanted your business? And what if you are Charlotte, and by the tightest of margins — a bipartisan swing vote on your City Council to approve the bid, 6-5 — you were that city? You won, but did you? The issue here is not the dollars but the sense that Donald Trump’s polarizing approach to politics and society will draw not only his grass-roots supporters, the people who show up at his rallies, but also those who love to protest against him during this time of heightened incivility. Does any city want to prepare for such a potential eruption? There are protests at every convention. But gathering, yelling and holding up signs is like a small-group meeting at church compared to what could happen. We have seen face-offs along the campaign trails, to be sure. So could something ugly erupt in 2020? Such thoughts could be why the choice to pursue the RNC was one-city, one-vote.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
DONNA RUDOLPH: THE TRUTH ABOUT HELSINKI: You can’t “walk back” from Helsinki. Eyes of the world watched Trump put America last. In not challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of electoral interference, our president more than trashed his intelligence guardians; he betrayed his political base, the Republican Party and all the rest of us. An astonished world learned the U.S. chief executive cannot be relied upon to serve, protect and defend the U.S. nor its long-term allies. Somebody’s got to do more than just try to figure out why President Trump has subordinated himself to Putin – we must deal with the fact that he has. Isn’t our fate now up to the U.S. Congress? Shouldn’t Congress demand to know what Russian “priorities” the U.S. President single-handedly may have pledged us to in the Putin secret summit? Will the Senate assert its war and peace and trade powers and reach out to heal recently insulted UK, Canadian and German leaders? Rather than beat up our judicial branch and security services to protect a flawed chief, why doesn’t the House urgently engage all counties and relevant experts to build across America a cyber wall against a 2018 repeat Russian invasion of our voter data and mechanisms? There’s no hiding from the Helsinki truth. Congress, our national security now depends on you.
TRAVIS WOODS: TRUMP THREATENS POST-WAR ALLIANCE: Something is not right here. I am sure you feel the same, as any patriotic American surely does at this point. The postwar alliance, NATO, the United Nations, these are the institutions that have delivered the peace and, especially in the United States, the prosperity that have allowed the United States to become the undisputed leader of the free world. For the first time in my life, I see an American president openly decrying the world order we ourselves have built. It is terrifying. Post-Soviet Russia dreams of a world where the western alliances are demolished. For some unclear reason, Mr. Trump has dedicated himself to furthering that vision. History will look back at this dark moment. This is not an issue that leans Republican or Democrat. This is a fundamental threat to our country. I pray our leaders find the courage and wisdom to defend our nation.
WILLIAM DELAMAR: BRING AN END TO FRACKING: Regarding “Solar energy growing fast in NC, but restraints stifle wind power” (July 18): The Republican legislators and Duke Energy have done all they can to slow the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy as defined in HB 589. The continued support for and investment into fracked gas fails to recognize and acknowledge the effect that burning fracked gas and the related unresolved methane leakage issue have on global climate change. We need to elect legislators on the state and federal level that will understand that renewable energy should be encouraged to reduce pollution and allow for individuals and businesses to exponentially maximize clean energy production. In doing so the need for large centralized power plants will be significantly reduced. Our elected officials and the Utilities Commission have been obsequious to the utilities’ status-quo agenda which only adds to ongoing environmental damage. That needs to change.