The State of America’s Election System

CHARLOTTE, NC — The United States of confusion – at least that’s one way to describe the way we run our elections, with each state responsible for its own elections system. That doesn’t cause much controversy when the margin of victory or defeat is wide enough, so a few thousand votes one way or another won’t affect the outcome. But when elections are close – as many are in these divided times – it’s an invitation to lawsuits, chaos and doubts from voters on whether and if their ballots count, or are counted. The 2018 midterm elections show just how this formula does and does not work.

2018 Midterm Takeaways

CHARLOTTE. NC —  North Carolina may not have had a senator or governor’s race on the ballot, but there was no shortage of drama in contests that determined GOP super-majorities in the state legislature, controversial amendments to the state constitution, Charlotte bond issues and judicial races. Several U.S. Congressional contests in North Carolina also drew national attention. (Mary Curtis)

WCCB political contributor, Mary C. Curtis offers more context on key local and national takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections.

President Trump Wants to End Birthright Citizenship

CHARLOTTE, NC — President Trump is returning to one of his presidential campaign themes; immigration. The President claims he can defy constitution and end birthright citizenship with an executive order. The move is seen as President Trump’s latest immigration talking point with less than a week until midterm elections. WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis offers more perspective.

Mary C. Curtis: Governments and the Media

CHARLOTTE, NC —  The president and the press.

It was not the first time. When President Trump recently praised Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a reporter during Gianforte’s campaign last year, calling him his kind of guy, it was not that surprising. The president has called the press enemies of the state. He has called journalists “sick people,” accused the news media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage” and questioned their patriotism. “I really think they don’t like our country,” he has said.

And in his rallies, he often makes members of the press his foil, pointing them out to the crowd.

When Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing (and now it is clear he was killed) after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, Trump at first was muted in his response, though he has now called it a terrible “cover-up,” and his administration has revoked visas for some of the country’s agents.

What will be the eventual fallout from the antagonistic relationship between the president and the press, in a country where freedom of the press is protected in the first amendment to the Constitution?

Early Voting Starts in North Carolina, with a Lot at Stake

CHARLOTTE, NC — Though the general election is not until Nov. 6, early voting sites open today in Mecklenburg County. 19 sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The final day for early voting will be Sat., Nov. 3, with all 19 sites open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What’s at stake? A lot, nationally and at the state level, with six controversial amendments to the state constitution causing additional electoral drama.

Is enthusiasm high? Voter registration numbers are up, with more people, especially younger voters, registered unaffiliated.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Nikki Haley Resigns at UN Ambassador. Why Now and What’s Next for Her?

Nikki Haley rose quickly in politics, from governor of South Carolina to a player on the international stage as ambassador to the United Nations. She became a standout in the Trump administration, one of few high-profile women serving. She says she is stepping down at the end of the year because it’s time for a break, though many are speculating on the timing and what her future political plans may be. At a White House appearance with Trump on Tuesday, both expressed admiration for one another — and she denied plans for a 2020 run for office. (Mary C. Curtis)

How Will Charlotte Stay Above the Partisan Fray for RNC 2020?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte was out in front, and almost alone, in vying to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, set – for now – to nominate President Trump for a second term. The city won, and now we have more details.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel made the announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center this week alongside Mayor Vi Lyles and White House Senior Advisor (and presidential daughter-in-law and North Carolina native) Lara Trump: The convention will take place at the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte from August 24, 2020 through August 27, 2020.

So, as planning seriously starts, how will the Queen City pull it off, peacefully and professionally?

President Trump’s U.N. Speech: ‘America First’ and an Iran Rebuke

CHARLOTTE, NC — President Trump did not say “America First”; but he didn’t have to. His message this week to world leaders was the same one his administration has been sharing since he was elected.

In a speech influenced by his senior domestic adviser Stephen Miller and national security adviser John Bolton, Trump rejected globalism and affirmed the U.S. withdrawal from international agreements.

“America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination,” Trump said.

President Trump’s boasts about accomplishments in the first two years of his presidency also drew laughter from the assembled leaders.

WCCB political contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in on Trump’s speech and the reaction.

Kavanaugh’s Accuser Wants FBI Investigation Before Testifying

CHARLOTTE, NC — The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault isn’t ready to testify just yet. Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team says their client won’t testify in a public hearing offered by Republicans unless the FBI first investigates her allegations. Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were at a high school party in the 80’s. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The allegations brought against Kavanaugh echo a similar incident in 1991, when Anita Hillaccused then SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and was called to publicly testify.

Bob Woodward’s Bombshell Book on the Trump White House

CHARLOTTE, NC — Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear,’ the Long-Awaited Book on the Trump Presidency.  Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward has written books on every president since Richard Nixon. The latest, “Fear,” on Donald Trump’s administration has garnered the Watergate reporter headlines, again. In it, he quotes chief of staff John Kelly as saying, “We’re in Crazytown,” a statement Kelly has denied saying. The book joins others from Omarosa and Michael Wolff on the best-seller list. (Mary Curtis)

Is the Woodward book being taken more seriously, and why? WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.