North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

Whatever happens, the race has offered a national blueprint for what voters will see in 2020, with the majority of Republicans clinging close to Donald Trump and trying to brand Democrats as far to the left as imagination allows. Meanwhile, Democrats proclaim their independence and ability to stand up to the president and his bending of constitutional norms while doing the other business of Congress and helping constituents.

An American credo: Justice for some, especially the four-legged

Derby on May 4. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

OPINION — From the current administration’s indifference to congressional requests for information on the Mueller report to its hardening policies restricting those seeking asylum from violent homelands, one would think Donald Trump and company cared little for justice. But the president did manage to speak out recently in support of one particular victim he felt was wronged.

In a signature tweet, he said: “The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one.” (He has since corrected the spelling to “Kentucky.”) “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby — not even close!”

Yes, Donald Trump reacted in outrage, in defense of a horse.

After gun massacre, Charlotte is now ‘one of those cities’

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Now we’re one of those schools.” That’s what a  University of North Carolina student, in more sadness than anger, told a local radio station after a gunman killed two and wounded four others on her campus on Tuesday. And now Charlotte, a city already experiencing a spike in homicides, is “one of those cities.”

In the city and state, there is shock, plus questions. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers about why it happened and what can be done to keep it from happening again.

That this latest incident did not make it to the top spot in many national news outlets speaks to how commonplace such incidents have become and how frustrated many citizens are. Is the answer more mental health resources, more “good guys with guns,” more regulations and background checks, or something else?

A Deadly Shooting at UNCC, and a City in Shock

CHARLOTTE, NC — A shooting at UNCC leaves two dead and four wounded. A city that has seen a sharp rise in homicides this year is now grappling with a horrific shooting that adds Charlotte to the list of cities where a school is the setting for gun violence. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers to the questions of why it happened and what can be done

It’s called accountability, but only for some

OPINION — When I was a little girl growing up in West Baltimore, my parents (especially my mom) gave me some truth along with the love. “You will have to work twice as hard to get half as far,” they told their working-class African American child, schooled as they had been in life’s challenges. They also warned about what everyone on my side of town knew: There was little to no room for error because folks like us seldom got the benefit of the doubt.

This was not to discourage me — far from it. It was to prepare me. Better to know what the deal was upfront.

They did not live to observe the spectacle of the president of the United States and members of his family get away — for now, at least — with all sorts of dishonest doings, things an African American president and his family would have been marched across the White House lawn in cuffs and shackles for. Things anyone in my neighborhood would have been tossed under the jail for even thinking about doing.

To Impeach or Not to Impeach

CHARLOTTE, NC — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging amid the divide in her own party over whether to impeach President Trump. Pelosi says the party should continue to push for the entire Mueller Report instead of the redacted version released last week.

The Mueller report said the president of the United States did not commit crimes; but it expressly refused to exonerate him on possible obstruction of justice.

Democrats and Republicans face risks and rewards as they choose what to do next. And the process is happening a year and a half before the 2020 presidential election.

When a hate crimes hearing goes very wrong, something’s not right in America

OPINION — When people are being threatened, intimidated and murdered, you would think that partisan bickering would take a back seat. But this is the U.S. Congress we’re talking about. Instead, what was supposed to be an examination of white nationalism and the rise of hate crimes on Tuesday devolved into what Americans have wearily begun to expect from their elected representatives. The House Judiciary Committee members inhabited different parties and different planets.

When what’s at stake is this serious, that’s pretty frightening.

Does the ‘content of their character’ still matter in the 2020 race?

OPINION — “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” It might be the only quote by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that many Americans can recite by heart.

There is good reason for that, as political partisans have twisted a 1963 speech to suit their 2019 conservative agendas, despite the fact that those who now embrace him as one of their own would be horrified by King’s belief in extensive change in the system.

That quote can mean whatever you want it to, dressed up as approval of an American hero whose luster has only grown as his often revolutionary work fades into memory. That short snippet expresses a sentiment judged far more benign than others from that same speech, as when the Nobel Peace Prize winner said: “We’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: NC Gerrymandering At SCOTUS; Deadly CMPD Shooting; CMS Budget

Charlotte grapples with another deadly police shooting. A CMPD officer shot and killed a man outside a Beatties Ford Road restaurant Monday morning. Police say the man had a gun and posed a threat, but protestors paint a different story.

The long-awaited Mueller report has been handed over. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says it removes a cloud over the president, and now he wants to investigate the FBI for possible anti-Trump bias.

The U.S. Supreme Court once again sounds reluctant to take a stance on partisan gerrymandering as the justices hear arguments over North Carolina’s congressional map.

An official in the Charlotte Catholic Diocese resigned following an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools superintendent Clayton Wilcox seeks a big increase in county funding for the school system, with a focus on teacher pay and the district’s racial disparities.

Also this week, wheels are in motion in the South Carolina legislature to lure the Carolina Panthers headquarters across the state line. Lawmakers gave an initial okay for millions in tax breaks.

Those stories and more on this week’s Local News Roundup.

Guests

Mary C Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher of Q City Metro

If Trump won’t fight white supremacist terrorists, these people will

OPINION — “We Support our Muslim Brothers and Sisters.” “Love Will Win, Hate Will Lose.” “Terrorism Has No Religion.” The Charlotte, North Carolina, Muslim community invited all to join in a United for Christchurch, New Zealand, vigil in an uptown park on Sunday afternoon, and encouraged those who came to mourn and stand in solidarity to bring posters with supportive messages.

They did.

People of all races, ages and faiths — several hundred of them — listened to remarks of healing and hope and pleas for understanding from local imams. “Good people of this country, this world, stand with us,” said Sheikh Muhammad Khan of the Islamic Center of Charlotte. All bowed their heads in prayer.

That is America, where domestic terrorist attacks, propelled by white supremacy, are on the rise, where leaders nonetheless ignore the national and global reach of this toxic movement. Unbelievably, shooting up places of worship is now a separate and growing category, from a Sikh temple in Wisconsin to a Christian church in Charleston, South Carolina, to a synagogue in Pittsburgh to mosques in New Zealand — and that doesn’t include all that would qualify.