Down in the Weeds: North Carolina

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

To the north of the state, the media was sounding the death bell of the Republican Party in Virginia on Election Day 2019.  What they failed to mention is that the GOP is 3-0 in House special elections in 2019 and the one in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district may be telling for more favorable reasons come 2020.

Amid charges of election fraud, a special election was declared to fill the seat of Republican incumbent Mark Harris.  Harris had actually led his opponent, Dan McCready, by 905 votes before the whole election was nullified by the accusations of voter fraud.  In the special election, Republican Dan Bishop defeated McCready by over 4,000 votes.    This is a district that has been in Republican hands since 1963.  In 2016, it favored Trump by 12 points.

So how did Bishop manage to increase the vote lead on the very same opponent Harris had trouble defeating in November 2018?  The district covers part of the Charlotte and Fayetteville suburbs and some rural area between the two.  Both sides poured lots of money into the race with the Democrats spending $6.8 million to the Republican’s $6.5 million.  To hear the mainstream media pundits explain it, you would have thought McCready won.  Instead, a dead heat in 2018 turned into a 2-point Republican victory in 2019.  And in those other races (NC-3 and PA-12), the Republican congressional candidate outperformed Trump’s numbers in 2016.  It should also be mentioned that McCready had a two year head start on Bishop and most of that $6.8 million came from out-of-state sources.  And Bishop managed to flip two counties that McCready won against Harris and came within a hair of flipping a third.

While the pundits concentrate on Trump’s alleged shrinking base in the suburbs, they ignore the Democrats have simply lost rural America totally.  Rep. Mark Meadows noted that as polls showed a dead heat going into the special election, there was a change in Bishop’s strategy.  Early returns showed heavy Democrat returns 5-6 days into early voting.  Thus, Bishop openly allied himself with President Trump and his policies.  Trump held a Fayetteville rally for Bishop and Mike Pence spent a day campaigning for Bishop.  In the end, even Democrats privately admitted that Trump’s endorsement of Bishop and Bishop aligning himself with Trump pushed him over the finish line.

What the GOP did in NC-9 is what must be done in all the key districts in 2020.  It was not just Trump’s rally and endorsement that created the victory.  It was a well-coordinated effort involving digital advertising, GOTV efforts, alignment with Trump and messaging.  They successfully painted McCready as an elitist and tied him to the Democrat’s socialist agenda.  They made the stakes clear and it may have made enough Democrats fearful of their party’s far leftward lurch even more leery.  Tying Democrats to the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the crooked DNC is a winning strategy.

Replacing coal or tobacco with mythical clean energy jobs or electric car manufacturing plants is not going to convince suburbanites in North Carolina who may be socially somewhat liberal but who like their low taxes and friendly business environment, to vote for a Democrat who has let them down way too many times.  The good folks of North Carolina, like the rest of the country, have seen the facade of “moderation” stripped from the Democrat Party.  As such, the wildly socialist agenda of the Democrats is unpopular with a large swath of America, including the suburbs.  Second, Donald Trump is the surrogate for the opposite mindset and is a turnout machine for aspiring Republicans.

Unlike some other states, the leadership in the GOP is to the right of the average North Carolina Republican.  No story epitomizes their willingness to take bold action than the following one.  Although there is a Democratic governor in the state,  on September 11th the GOP in the legislature voted to override McCrory’s budget veto on strictly partisan lines.  The few Democrats who showed up for work that day- several falsely claimed they were at a 9/11 ceremony- went running like babies to the news cameras and cried foul.  This is leadership in action and shoving a big middle finger in the collective faces of Democrats.

Are all things rosy for the GOP in North Carolina?  Of course not, but if you get outside the population centers, they are certainly better than the mainstream media would have you believe.  Regarding the metropolitan areas, it would seem that the GOP has unfortunately thrown in the towel.  In the most recent Charlotte municipal elections, only six Republicans declared their candidacies.  If only one had declared for each available council seat and that of the mayor, there should have been a minimum of 12 candidates.  Conversely, 31 Democrats declared their candidacies for the 12 positions.

It becomes obvious that this one-sided balance will lead to disaster.  We have seen this in other large cities throughout the United States from New York to Chicago, from Detroit to Baltimore.  The Mecklenburg county commission is composed of nine Democrats and no Republicans.  The Charlotte city council consists of 9 Democrats and 2 Republicans.  Charlotte is on track to become a city of haves and have-nots.  The wealthy urban core can sustain higher taxes, changes to public schools, and inferior municipal services.  Yet it is the middle class that will be left with dealing with the repercussions from Democratic policies and agendas.  Statistics show that many middle class residents of Charlotte are fleeing to Union county and Fort Mill.  Middle class flight is usually the first sign that a city is in decline.  The list of cities ruined by middle class flight is long.

Next: South Carolina