Misunderestimating North Carolina

Karen Cox, a professor at UNC Charlotte, writes a meandering column in the New York Times today about politics in the south, and more specifically, about liberals in the south. Touching on race, education, and the urban-rural divide, she addresses a number of important points, but doesn't quite manage to see the elephant in the room.

Many people have labeled my home state of North Carolina a red state, but it’s much more complicated than that. In the very rural mountain county of Avery, for example, Mr. Romney won with a whopping 74.5 percent of the vote, yet in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, he lost to Mr. Obama by nearly 23 percentage points. True, North Carolinians elected a Republican governor, but to be fair, the Democratic candidate ran a weak campaign.

The elephant in the room, of course, is Art Pope, who after a decade of electioneering, has succeeded in buying both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly and the North Carolina Supreme Court. With an assist from Duke Energy, he also now owns the Governor's mansion and a new brigade of puppets at the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

I would like to be able to drink some blue Kool-aid and draw the same conclusions at Professor Cox. But the sad truth is, North Carolina IS a red state, bought and paid for by a handful of privileged white men and corporate special interests. Unless we accept that harsh reality and knock off the happy talk, we'll have no chance at turning things around.


What, you really think Dalton

What, you really think Dalton ran a good campaign? Really? Come on, really?

We're a purple state

If progressives/Dems had an offense, we could be competitive.

First, Democrats must put

First, Democrats must put forward progressive candidates. Seen any?

A Blue-dog state, maybe

Contrary to what many in our Party would like to believe, the Dixiecrats are still alive and well. There's tons of evidence of this, but labor union enrollmemnt is one of the starkest examples.

Texas has about 57% Republican voters, and over 5% labor union membership. North Carolina has about the same majority of voting Democrats, and les than 3% union membership.

And then there's the vote on Amendment One staring us right in the face. There's no way to tie a ribbon on that pig.

This (to me) represents a massive failure of education. Not in our schools, but in our political structure. Candidates build platforms based on local opinions, instead of trying to change those opinions. All this does is solidify whatever backwards-thinking already exists.

Elections shouldn't be about voters picking the best-behaved dog in the class. The process should force voters to (continuously) dig deep into their soul for answers on what would be the best choice in the long run. And that is an area in which progressives dominate.

This is one reason why there should never be a race with no Democrat opposing, regardless of demographics. Make no mistake; when we do that, we've lost that election, too, and also lost the chance to change any minds in that district.

Down so long looks like up to we

Those are good points- when we run sellouts, a lot of our potential customers don't buy it and the rest don't feel like going to the store. Since we so clearly lost in NC this year, we now have the loser's mandate to change course and do what worked elsewhere. Sell the progressive, populist, anti-plutocrat vision with integrity and consistency, wait for the inevitable corruption and screw-overs that are coming from the Repugs, and greet the rising tide of disenchanted voters on top of demographic ground swell.

There's a latent history here waiting to be re-activated and refreshed.


Pretty big "if's"

Progressives and Dems in North Carolina are miles apart. The Dalton "campaign" didn't bother to communicate with progressives in any way that I can see. Neither did the NCDP.

Or maybe I just missed it.

The Dalton "campaign" didn't communicate period

Much less have a meaningful conversation with progressives. The sad thing is that Walter Dalton is very good speaker; he just needed a message. He also needed to get off the interstates.

Nope, you didn't miss it.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

It was a very close

It was a very close presidential race, though. That's what I can't figure out. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the election, with the polls so tight and sometimes even showing Obama ahead in NC, I really thought the Assembly would go less red.

Was I ever wrong.

You can't gerrymander

You can't gerrymander when the district is the whole state, which I think is why the council of state races went as well as they did, and why the Presidential election in this state was as close as it was. Big money was a big factor in some races too that went the way they did.

Redistricting and big money don't explain everything, but they explain a lot more of the election results than I think they are getting credit for at large.

It was one of the largest factors

It was one of the largest factors in the drastic change in US congressional seats as well as many General Assembly seats. They very clearly drew the new maps with race and party affiliation in mind. You can't go from this point A to point B and not think this was a huge factor in the changes in representation. Durham and Elizabeth City in the same district? Really? Durham's best community of interest isn't with the triangle, it's with a coastal city? Fayetteville and Burlington together?

Presenting good effect

Presenting good effect progressive candidates who actually have something to say might help. The NC Democrats seem to like to take the easy road and put forward place holders and odds and ends as candidates. But the party apparatus being so mediocre not sure ones should expect much in candidates.

We're a purple state


We had no turnout for Amendment One. 1.5 million less voters than 2008 primary. We are not a progressive state, we're a purple state. We have a lot of liberal leaning companies in this state, tech companies, breweries, creatives. Virginia is changing, we are changing. We have the people in our blue oases, and that will only grow.

Yes, we were gerrymandered to death, but that can be overcome. The problem is not Republicans, the problem is Democrats. Who are we? What do we stand for in NC?

Talk doom and gloom all you want, shout about Art Pope to the rooftops, but we're competitive. If money was everything Sheldon Adelson would be a happy man.

Someone said it best, Dems in

Someone said it best, Dems in this state are not true Dems! Look @ the the type of Democrats that ran this state for a long time, they were nothing more than good 'ole boys from down east and most of them were self-professed Jessiecrats on top of that! our state dems are just as conservative as Republicans, maybe in the the larger cities like Charlotte, the democrats may be left-leaning, but the Democrats in this state need to get with the program if they are going to get any supprot from their base!


There is still the huge urban/rural gap to account for; why did rural NC go for Romney?

The NCDP needs to be pushed into a direction that speaks to our rural citizens, and that means pushing out the the money folks running the party.

I was wincing when Perdue pushed against Amendment One by saying that it would discourage companies from coming to NC; who would feel that they should vote against their ideals so that the state should make more money? The campaign should have focused on the actual issue, the human costs.