Hold off on the Celebrations

November 5th, 2009 at 10:08 am | 19 Comments |

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While everybody talks about Virginia, New Jersey and New York’s 23rd (well, many conservatives actually don’t want to talk about this one), very little attention is being paid to the newest swing state, North Carolina (exactly a year ago Obama won it by a whopping margin of 0.32%). North Carolina is already among the top ten most populous states, has 15 electoral college votes and is likely to get more after next year’s census. It used to be a reliably Republican state in presidential elections (even Bob Dole managed to carry it by almost 5%), and the Republicans have virtually no chance of defeating Obama in 2012 without winning it back. I posted a detailed analysis of the GOP’s decline in N.C. shortly after the launch of this site. So, what can yesterday’s election tell us about the latest state of the GOP in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, it’s a mixed bag. In a pleasant surprise Republican Bill Knight ousted the incumbent Democratic mayor of Greensboro Yvonne Johnson. Winning a mayoral election in a city of a quarter million people clearly demonstrates that the N.C. GOP is not dead yet. Unfortunately, Greensboro will now be the only North Carolina city with a population over 100,000 that has a Republican mayor. After an unbroken 22yearstring of Republican mayors, Charlotte yesterday elected a Democrat, Anthony Foxx. The Democrats also won 8 out of 11 seats on the city council. Furthermore, the Republicans did not even pretend to try – the GOP fielded a grand total of 6 candidates for those 11 seats (on the positive side though the party can claim a 50% success rate, since 3 of those 6 candidates won), while the Democrats contested each and every seat. The campaign seemed to be halfhearted. I received just a couple of mailers and a handful of robocalls. There was no get-out-the-voter effort in sight – not even a single call on election day (and in a low turnout election just 3240 extra Republicans would have swung the outcome). The party seemed to be demoralized.

These developments are very worrisome because they suggest that the GOP has trouble connecting with young urban professionals (whose influx makes Charlotte one of the fastest growing American cities). Cultural appeal to the ever shrinking small town America can only take the party this far, and it is working less and less even in the South. North Carolina can now boast only three Republican office holders who have won a statewide election: a U.S. Senator (who is by no means guaranteed to win reelection next year), State Commissioner of Agriculture and State Commissioner of Labor (for comparison, the Dems hold another Senate seat and eight statewide offices). The Republicans hold only 5 out of 13 N.C. seats in the House of Representatives (just 3 years ago they had 7 – as well as both Senate seats). The North Carolina Senate is split with 30 Democrats and 20 Republicans and the House is split with 68 Democratic and 52 Republican members. Finally, as already noted above, only one major city has a Republican mayor. The GOP has its work cut out for it in North Carolina for the next several years.

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19 Comments so far ↓

  • joemarier

    Well, how was the candidate in Charlotte? Was he too conservative?

  • cheves222

    I’m sorry, but this is total nonsense. I am from Charlotte, I’ve been involved in local and state politics, and I can tell you why the GOP has lost out in my home town: immigration. No, not the kind where people hop the border from Latin America. The bad kind: people from New Jersey. If you bothered to research this before you wrote it, you’d know that in the last 20 years the banks have been pulling people from up north to come work in the shiny buildings the constructed downtown. And lemme tell you, brother, those banks and companies that serve them are laying people off, not hiring them. Rows and rows of condos built near downtown to house the hipster youths who would just LOVE the Democratic party sit empty, many in foreclosure. Also, the former mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory was a study in feckless, boring, loser Republicanism who managed to raise taxes more than Democrats before him.

    So, with less people coming in from up north and young talent leaving, demographically things will start to even out. Then defeatists will have their work cut out for them.

  • cheves222

    Also, I used to work at the same law firm as Anthony Foxx and across the hall from John Lassiter’s firm. Foxx beat Lassiter. Lassiter was not, in anyone’s imagination, a conservative of any stripe. He was a bland, centrist Republican who only talked in warm, nice platitudes but offered nothing approaching traditional, business-friendly conservatism.

    Foxx, an attractive, young, well-spoken black lawyer with very little experience, didn’t offer much in the way of specifics either. But he one. Does this sound familiar? I mean, at all? And we see how that’s panning out in Washington and in the polls now.

  • Reason60

    The GOP and the Tea Party both have trouble connecting with people outside the old, white Christian blocs, not only due to social causes like gay marriage, not only because of the nasty undercurrents of hostility to minorities, but because of the incoherence of their message:

    1. “Fiscal Conservatism”- the ones who scream this buzzword the loudest are the very ones who have the least idea of what it means; the Tea Party wants more and bigger wars, and war funding; yet tax reductions. No one has yet shown a way that this can be done, which is exactly why GWB had stupendous deficits. There is no such animal as a pro-war fiscal conservative.

    2. “Limited Government”- again, the ones who chant this most feverishly, are the same ones who cheer on the Unitary Executive theory, giving nearly unlimited power to the Chief Executive. The same ones who saw fit to intervene in the Schiavo family’s affairs.

    The GOP thinks that having a slick website and slinging cool urban slang like “what up” is the same as having a principled message; the Tea Party thinks that raw anger alone will produce an effective platform.

    But when your two main arguments are mired in incoherence and illogic, you naturally have a hard time gaining traction with the educated professionals who themselves have to balance budgets, who read the papers and understand the connection between 1.4 Trillion in war funding and a 1.4 Trillion deficit.

  • JohnMcC

    Boy, back when Charlotte was REAL AMERICA and no one ever moved there from up north and no one ever got foreclosed on, weren’t those great days?! What a shame the 21st century has arrived.

  • ottovbvs

    Cheves Ligon // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    ” And we see how that’s panning out in Washington and in the polls now.’

    ……..yep that Obama is definitely on the ropes and the GOP is surging in popularity…….on a day when Obama wins the support of the AMA and AARP for his healthcare reform package the Republicans are staging an “official” event where people are carrying huge banners likening healthcare reform to mass murder at a German concentration (with pictures of course)…….Today’s GOP……really relevant

  • rbottoms

    Damn, you folks can’t catch a break. A mob descends on Washington shouting slogans about killing health care the same day a soldier goes berserk and actually kills people at Fort hood. Your hot head rhetoric touches on the wrong nerves at the worst possible moment.

  • sinz54

    reason60: the Tea Party wants more and bigger wars, and war funding
    What proof do you have of this?

    I’ve never seen foreign or military policy discussed at any Tea Party protest.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re ALREADY fighting two wars, at least one of which we can’t just walk away from. Because well over 20,000 jihadists trained in Afghanistan, and just 19 of them caused more casualties to America than the Imperial Japanese Navy did.

    Your isolationism is just about 100 years out of date.

  • sinz54

    reason60: There is no such animal as a pro-war fiscal conservative.
    Sure there is.

    In 1964, GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater (“Mr. Conservative”) advocated the strategic bombing of North Vietnam. His attitude: Win the war or don’t fight the war.

    Is all your knowledge of history this faulty?

  • sinz54

    Cheves Ligon: I’ve been involved in local and state politics, and I can tell you why the GOP has lost out in my home town: immigration
    The real reason why Foxx won is he’s black, and he benefited from a huge turnout of black voters (now up to 35% of Charlotte’s population).

    Given a choice between a black Dem and a white Repub, the black voters will always vote overwhelmingly for the black Dem. (Can anyone think of any counterexamples?)

  • sinz54

    rbottoms: A mob descends on Washington shouting slogans about killing health care the same day a soldier goes berserk and actually kills people at Fort hood.
    They weren’t shouting in the same language.

    The conservative protesters were chanting in English.

    This soldier-traitor was shouting in Arabic.

    Perhaps the lesson is: If you hear anybody around you start shouting in Arabic, duck. It’s only prudent.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    “I’ve never seen foreign or military policy discussed at any Tea Party protest”

    ………….Discussion and Tea Party Rallies are a contradiction in terms………and is there really any doubt that these folks are virulently nationalistic and nativist in outlook

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    ” Given a choice between a black Dem and a white Repub, the black voters will always vote overwhelmingly for the black Dem. (Can anyone think of any counterexamples?)”

    ………That might be not unconnected with the fact Republican approval amongst black voters is around 3%……..the reasons for this are numerous…….one of them is that the GOP these days is perceived as being somewhat racist in its outlook……..is it a complete coincidence that the Republican heartland these days is exactly those states that made up the confederacy?

  • rbottoms

    This soldier-traitor was shouting in Arabic.

    Really, you know this how? I know you’re sure of the truthiness of your belief, but does it have any basis in, you know reality. Hasan was born in Virginia and according to the New York Times his background looks about the same as any other Joe who joins the Army.

    Except for the name of course.

    Soldiers lose it all the time. Back in the day I hated running the qualification range because you never knew if of of the soldiers with live ammo might pick to day to have a melt down. Funny that even the worst troop is expected to go to the range to qualify twice a year.

    I know it’s an Army post, but soldiers have not had routine access to their weapons since the days of the Vietnam war. Dollars to donuts the weapons came from one of the dozens of gun or pawn shops near the base.

    An unstable man with a rifle. Always a good mix. In any case your slavering horde will get next to no coverage for their 2 minutes of hate thanks to this.

  • rbottoms

    ” Given a choice between a black Dem and a white Repub, the black voters will always vote overwhelmingly for the black Dem. (Can anyone think of any counterexamples?)”

    Given a choice between a Democrat and any Republican African-Americans will choose the party that isn’t home to the Sons of the Confederacy every time.

    Nothing to do with them being white, though virtually all of them are. It has to do with a party of crazy people who do things like fight unemployment extension in the midst of the worst economic situation in over 70 years. What reason in the world is there to vote for a party of anti-evolution, anti-contraceptives, anti-minimum wage, anti-regulation, tax protesters and fanatics.

    Your party lost a seat they have held since Christ was a corporal due to Sarah Palin’s interference and Rush Limbaugh’s insults to women.

    Nicely done.

  • ottovbvs

    rbottoms // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    ……..somewhat amazingly this is the second shooting incident at this place within a year……apparently there was a single shooting death there about a year ago involving another serviceman according to NBC news……..it’s really premature to start drawing any conclusions about this as the amount of info available is next to zero…….the way some of these politicians rush to a microphone is grotesque……I heard Hutchison warbling away spreading all sorts of garbage on CNN

  • ottovbvs

    rbottoms // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    “Soldiers lose it all the time.”

    ……..There are as many crazy people in the army as in any other walk of life……rather more in my experience

  • Reason60

    Re: Sinz and Barry Goldwater-
    Actually, the contradiction between pro-war and fiscal conservatism was noticed about the time Barry Goldwater made it his platform.
    The idea is that war is always, always insanely expensive; there is no way any nation can fight wars and keep a balanced budget. Can you name a nation that ever fought a war, and reduced its government?

    You have to choose one or the other; we can argue about whether or not the wars are necessary; but war not only is expensive, it always, always, enlarges the role of the central government.

    This is why I say there is no such thing as a pro-war fiscal conservative; the two things flatly contradict each other.

  • rbottoms

    Seems Maj. Hasan was trying to serve his country and may have lost it over being harassed for being Muslim. I was already thinking of a Columbine type scenario.

    He said his cousin had been a practicing Muslim who had become more devout after the deaths of his parents, in 1998 and 2001. But he said he had not expressed anti-American views or radical ideas.

    “His parents didn’t want him to go into the military,” Mr. Hasan said. “He said, ‘No, I was born and raised here, I’m going to do my duty to the country.