Too Soon? Divining Democrats With the ‘It’ Factor for 2020

OPINION — A die-hard Democrat said to me at the gym, “Somebody has to MAKE Michelle Obama run for president.” This was after Obama’s appearance in a television interview, in which she reminded the world what it’s been missing.

Sorry to let that educated, suburban woman in workout clothes down, but in the former first lady’s own words, she has no wish to be president. Besides, she has already done her time under the microscope, making history along with her husband. It’s someone else’s turn now.

But which someone?

Did the Politics of Division Work? Yes and No

OPINION — Donald Trump is a celebrity president, more interested in declaring a “great victory” after the 2018 midterms than in vowing to bring the country together. As he sparred with the media Wednesday and bragged about outdoing Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and famous folks who stumped for the other side, he did his best Rodney Dangerfield routine, playing the aggrieved president who has all the power but gets no respect.

When asked about the violent episodes that shook America in the weeks before Nov. 6 and whether he should soften his tone, he boasted about the economy, said he was “sad” to see the violence, and then talked about his great relationship with Israel.

The president did say he doesn’t much like the dangerous and deadly white supremacist movement law enforcement admits it is unprepared for, though he revealed no plans to combat that particular problem, one that worries many Americans, especially those in its crosshairs.

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.

The Devil on Trump’s Shoulder and in the Country’s Ear

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s a setup in many cartoons and films of days past: The protagonist is presented with a moral dilemma, and gets conflicting advice from a devil perched on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The behavior of Donald Trump in a presidency filled with choices reminds me of those scenes, though his angel must be downright depressed by now.

The latest appeal to the president’s “better angels” worked for a little while as he reacted to the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the apparently race-based fatal shootings of two black shoppers in Kentucky and a series of bombs sent to people on his enemies list.

Then the devil’s horns peeked through, culminating in a promise this week to rescind birthright citizenship by executive order, a move most legal experts judge unconstitutional, though it wrestles headlines away from the horrific events of the past week and back onto the divisive immigration issue Trump judges a political winner.

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.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Rae Carruth Released; Early Voting Numbers Up; Trump Visits CLT

On this edition of the Charlotte Talkslocal news roundup…

After nearly 2 decades behind bars for conspiracy to murder, former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth is a free man. We’ll talk about his release this past Monday.

Electric scooters are back in the news as city council decides against local regulation of the scooters to increase safety, and instead are waiting to see what the state legislature does about the issue.

President Trump is set to visit the Queen City on Friday- he’ll be at Bojangles’ Coliseum campaigning for Mark Harris. We’ll look ahead to that visit, which might bring traffic tie-ups to town.

And the Mega Millions finally had a winning ticket for the $1.6 billion prize, and it was sold in South Carolina.

Join host Mike Collins for those stories, an update on the suburban charter school conversation for area suburbs and much more with our roundtable of reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Alex OlginWFAE Reporter

Erik Spanberg, senior staff writer for the Charlotte Business Journal 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB-TV

Joe Bruno, city/ county government reporter for WSOC-TV

One Person, One Vote. Is It That Complicated?

OPINION — I admit that voting is and has always been a celebratory ritual for me, even if the candidate is running unopposed, the office is state agriculture commissioner or my district’s makeup means my one vote won’t make much of a difference.

I watched three older siblings march for civil rights, and I am well aware that many brave folks died protecting my right to cast that ballot. While a little rain or a busy schedule might provide an excuse to “sit this one out,” it’s never enough to outweigh the legacy left by a Medgar Evers, who served his country in World War II and was murdered in front of his Mississippi home for, among other civil rights activity, leading voter registration drives in the country he protected.

Mine is not a controversial stand — in fact, it’s patriotic. You would think our country’s leaders, without regard to party or politics, would be on my side.

You would be wrong.

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?

If Protesting Is Wrong, America Doesn’t Want to Be Right

OPINION — This week marks the 50th anniversary of that electrifying moment at the summer Olympics in Mexico City when Tommie Smith and John Carlos, accepting their gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter dash, each raised a black-gloved fist in a protest of racism and equality in the year of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights.”

They are now immortalized in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and by a sculpture at their alma mater San Jose State University — their bravery noted, their impact on society acknowledged.

But in 1968 — the year of unrest, war and the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy — the two athletes were vilified, kicked out of the Olympic village and banished from their sport, returning home to cold shoulders and death threats.

Taking a stand on ideas that buck the status quo is seldom appreciated in its time — especially when practiced by certain U.S. citizens. Those who tell Colin Kaepernick to be more like King forget that when he was murdered, King’s disapproval numbers approached 75 percent. The years have burnished the reputation of the civil rights icon with a federal holiday in his name and current 90-plus percent approval.

That is par for the course of history.

It is something to remember as Republicans try to brand dissent as mob violence, a message led by a president who found “fine people” in an actual mob of white supremacists and Nazis who killed a woman, someone who whips his own rally crowds into frenzied bliss with calls for retribution against dissenters (answered by his fans with an occasional cowardly sucker punch to the face).

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)