BlueNC's blog

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

opinionpages.jpg

GOP BRAGGING RINGS HOLLOW WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION: “Republicans will continue to champion policies that strengthen our economy, support quality education, and provide for public safety and order,” Berger pledged. Nowhere in his 600-word litany of partisan Democratic Party bashing and Republican Party chest thumping is the word "health" mentioned. Berger and his allies have repeatedly found ways to block, delay and politically entangle Medicaid expansion. About 600,000 North Carolinians – equal to nearly a third of all the votes Republican state Senate candidates received – have since 2013 been denied by state law from access to affordable health care. Yes, not only has Berger and his allies failed to vote FOR expanding Medicaid, they actually passed a law (Senate Bill 4) in 2013 prohibiting it – with only Republican votes in the Senate and a single Democrat (who later switched affiliation to the Republican Party) in the House. The costs have been staggering – as many as 14,700 lives -- of those unable to get the care they needed -- have been lost; 230,000 diabetics have not been able to get the life-sustaining medications they require; 107,500 mammograms missed. And, particularly for politicians who brag of frugality and job growth, the state has missed out on $17.44 billion in federal funds. That is money North Carolina taxpayers already send to Washington that’s paying more than 90% of the Medicaid expansion costs in 39 other states and Washington, DC. Berger is a one-trick pony (tax cuts), who won his race because he was the only horse on the racetrack. But it's not just his fault, there are (going to be) 29 other GOP Senators, and the pressure needs to be on them to force his hand on Medicaid expansion.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-gop-bragging-rings-hollow-without-medicaid-expansion/20589212/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

editorialpages.jpg

THANKS NC POLL WORKERS! YOU REALLY ARE DEMOCRACY HEROES: It is – or was – a quiet and often unnoticed task. But in the last few years -- amid the bombastic, sometimes violence-threatening, election-denying rhetoric led by former President Donald Trump – it has become an increasing challenge as an aggressive few are determined to disrupt, deny and cast doubt on the election process. For most of the 3.8 million people who voted – both during the early in-person voting period and on Election Day – ballots were cast without incident. In one county a one-stop polling place worker was followed from the election site, to the elections office and then to their home – described by state Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell as “the most egregious situation we had” on Election Day. In Rutherford County, there was a report of a voter being told they must have a photo ID to enter a polling place – which is not required in North Carolina – and wrongly contending law enforcement officers were arresting people at a voting site. The state received 21 reports of conduct violations at polling places involving campaign workers or election observers with a dozen concerning allegations of voter intimidation. It says something of the unfortunate times we’re in when the spokesman says why he can’t compare the number of incidents this year to past years. “We have not tracked these incidents in the past as we have this year, primarily because there has never been such a focus on observer conduct, nor have we had many reported incidents in the past,” said Patrick Gannon, the state board’s public information director. I have a feeling there would have been many more conduct violations if the (US) Justice Department had not monitored a handful of counties (my own included), but they will probably need to send more come 2024, if tRump makes it through the Primary again.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-thanks-nc-poll-workers-you-really-are-democracy-heroes/20580870/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

editorialprinting.jpg

CAN JUSTICE IN NC STILL BE INDEPENDENT? IT MUST! Will North Carolina’s newly constituted State Supreme Court back some acts by the General Assembly just because legislative leaders say so? To hear state House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate leader Phil Berger’s reaction to the election of two new justices – giving the state’s high court five Republicans and two Democrats – that's what will be the new law of the land. But the job of the state’s courts – particularly the Supreme Court -- is not to do the bidding of the General Assembly’s leadership. It is, among other things, to make sure the General Assembly is doing the bidding of the people of North Carolina as set out in the Constitution. It is the court’s job to review what the legislature or the executive branch of government does on behalf of the people of the state and determine if those actions are in accord with the state Constitution. When these other branches of government fall short, it is the job of the courts to say so and order appropriate remedies. In the not-too-distant future these new justices and other judges on the state’s court of appeals will have their integrity and independence put to the test. How will they make sure the legislative and executive branches of state government – their co-equals – follow the law? They will be watched. Closely. And so will the General Assembly. We have learned the hard way that BergerMoore doesn't care about proper process and precedent, and "integrity" is simply not in their lexicon anymore, if it ever was. It may be that all we have left to defend us is the court of public opinion, and the resurgence of Moral Mondays.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-can-justice-in-n-c-still-be-independent-it-must/20567702/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

quillpen.jpg

VOTER ENTHUSIASM IN KEY GROUPS CRITICAL TO ELECTION OUTCOME: “Young voters (in North Carolina) are not as much in the numbers as they could be. There’s potential for growth there,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. In those young voters is “potential for an upset,” he said. Younger voters, those with the most at stake in this election when it comes to issues of personal health like abortion, jobs and the economy and education, have not appeared to be as energized to vote as other groups, according to the Marist College poll of North Carolina that came out last week. For candidates in close elections -- like Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd who are running for the U.S. Senate -- that kind of engagement matters. Voters 44 and younger favor Beasley by a 7-point spread. But if they don’t become more motivated to head to the polls, that margin may not mean as much. “When you look at younger voters, Democrats carry Gen-Z and Millennials by 12 points – it’s their best group,” Miringoff said. “But it’s also a group that, although 40% of the adult population, it’s 38% of the registered voters and it falls off to 31% among those who are definitely going to vote.” As the close campaigns around North Carolina reach a conclusion, motivating voters – particularly young voters – may make the margin. I actually voted on a college campus this year (Elon University), and there were no young people in sight at the polling place when I went. No young voters, no young poll workers, no young poll greeters. I hope that was not a sign, but I fear it is.
https://www.wral.com/seth-effron-voter-enthusiasm-in-key-groups-critical-to-election-outcome/20552487/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

opinionpages.jpg

BILLIONAIRES' DARK MONEY SILENCES VOTERS' VOICES: Through the first year-and-a-half of the current election cycle, 27 billionaires provided nearly half the money — $89.4 million of a total of $188.3 million — raised by the Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund – the two main super PACs trying to elect Republicans to Congress. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts from every donor. Club for Growth Action invested two and a half times more in Budd’s campaign than his own campaign did. For the ultra-wealthy, spending to elect candidates who will protect their tax status and gut regulations is a good investment: millions in donations can mean billions in tax savings and less public oversight of their actions. A MarketWatch analysis of campaign finance records through Oct. 23 shows massive outside spending on behalf of Republicans running in competitive Senate races has more than made up for Budd’s lack campaign fund raising. Budd’s raised $18.2 million less than his Democratic opponent former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cherie Beasley as of the end of September. But he has gained from $55.9 million in outside spending either backing him or attacking Beasley. There has been about $17.1 million in outside spending on behalf of Beasley or opposing Budd. Overall, Budd’s has a $20.5 million financial lead. Curbing the undue, destructive influence of billionaires on elections requires restoring effective limits on campaign spending, such as by outlawing super PACs and ending anonymity for big donors to so-called “dark money” campaign groups. Also, we are in the midst of a vicious cycle of inflation, driven by massive corporate profit-taking. Of course they can afford to spend tens of millions, they've been picking our pockets since the Pandemic started. And now they're using our own money against us. Unfortunately, the average American hasn't made that connection.
https://legacy.wral.com/nancy-maclean-frank-clemente-billionaires-dark-money-silences-voters-voices/...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

editorialpages.jpg

THANKS TO GERRYMANDERING, POLICY STAKES IN NC ARE BIGGER THAN THEY OUGHT TO BE: Because of partisan gerrymandering, the question this fall is not whether the ebbs and flows of politics, voter turnout, and the news cycle will cause the state legislature to swing slightly Republican or slightly Democratic; it is whether those factors will lead to massive Republican supermajorities or merely ones akin to those they currently enjoy. If the GOP somehow manages to acquire three-fifths supermajorities in both houses by adding just two seats in the Senate and three in the House, its members will be able to override any vetoes issued by Gov. Roy Cooper and thereby completely control state lawmaking. This means that North Carolina could quickly shift from being a state in which abortion care remains safe, legal, and pretty widely available – both to pregnant North Carolinians and those from nearby states like Georgia and Tennessee where such care is completely banned – to one in which it is punishable as a crime. It means that modest remaining state controls over firearms will likely be repealed. It means that efforts to further micromanage public school teachers over issues like race and U.S. history, and to further expand school privatization, will likely become law. It means that local sheriffs will likely be required – even where they object – to become more actively involved in the immigration enforcement business. It means that new efforts to limit the rights of transgender people will likely find their way into state law. It means that efforts to limit carbon pollution likely be stymied. And if the state Supreme Court shifts from the current narrow 4-3 Democratic majority to GOP control, it means that all manner of new and dramatic changes subject to constitutional review will soon be wending their way through the judiciary in search of approval from a new and conservative high court majority. And this will almost certainly include a new round of even more gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps. This is not hyperbole, and it's not the entire list of dangerous policies that would be put in place. These are just the ones we can reasonably predict, and that should scare the hell out of you.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/opinion/109338/rob-schofield-thanks-to-gerrymandering-policy-stakes...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

editorialprinting.jpg

DEBATE EXCHANGE ON DRUGS SHOWS BUDD IS MORE ABOUT RHETORIC THAN SOLUTIONS: If there’s one thing that came clear in the televised debate last week between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd – the two main candidates for U.S. Senate – is that Budd is utterly lacking in the perception and comprehension necessary. To those watching and listening, nothing demonstrated his aloofness, detachment and lack of empathy than his response to questions about potential legalization of marijuana. North Carolinians overwhelmingly back legalization – 72% favor it for medical use while 57% support it for recreational use. “I'm not a supporter of legalization, especially for recreational marijuana,” Budd declared. He then detoured off into a from-the-Trump-script rant about illegal immigration and securing the borders and veered off into drug trafficking of fentanyl. Never, in the course of his discussion of marijuana or illegal drugs did he mention the HUGE toll that drug addiction is taking on the state, any concern for those who struggle with addiction or who are its victims. Nor did he make any mention of efforts to address this. It was about law enforcement and no concern, support or help for those struggling to overcome addiction – too often at the hands of profit-hungry corporations, careless medical professionals and aloof pharmacists. Two things: Legalizing marijuana for recreational use would seriously hurt the cartels, because they rely upon the illegality to generate their profits. Second, legalizing marijuana for medical use would give patients an option other than opioids (like fentanyl) to manage their pain. Even a cursory examination of the issue reveals those two things, but apparently Budd can't spare the time or brain power for such an exercise.
https://legacy.wral.com/editorial-debate-exchange-on-drugs-shows-budd-s-more-about-rhetoric-than-sol...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

quillpen.jpg

DISHONESTY REIGNS AMONG ELECTION DENIERS: Among a significant share of Republicans it has become an article of faith – NOT FACT – that elections are not fair. Yet, these same people – particularly many of the party’s candidates for office – have yet to come up with a shred of proof to take their articles of faith and transcend them into indisputable facts. This has to stop! Elections aren’t reality game shows. They are the essential element by which citizens have the fundamental voice in how their government works. It is damaging to our democracy for people – particularly those who wish to hold elected positions of representation and responsibility – to spread fallacies that do little more than baselessly breed distrust. How can anyone offer themselves up for elective office who contends the system by which they hope to gain office is not fair? The reality is that, with such a contention, they disqualify themselves. By mid-2020, Trump knew there was a good chance he would lose the election. So he started "prepping" his followers to challenge that loss, in an effort to cheat his way into a 2nd term. It was bad enough that Q-Anon nutters and traitorous militia attacked Congress, but when many of those elected officials went on to vote against honoring the election results, our democracy was genuinely threatened. This is the chance for voters to send them home for good.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-dishonesty-reigns-among-election-deniers/20509633/

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - BlueNC's blog