If Trump is looking for a national emergency, he should try these ones instead

OPINION — Dueling teleprompter speeches and a high-drama walkout: This is what it looks like when our country’s leaders debate the best way to meet the challenges at the border and whether shutting down the government is the best way to settle it.

If no one budges this week — and the way talks have been going so far, optimism is not particularly warranted — the next step could be a national emergency, declared by the president. But first Donald Trump seems intent on diluting the word “emergency” to mean whatever he wants it to mean on a particular day or hour.

Government Shutdown and Border Wall

CHARLOTTE, NC–

President Trump and lawmakers may not have made much headway in discussions on ending the government shutdown and agreeing on terms for a wall on the southern border.

Tuesday night, the president made his case in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office, countered by a speech from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Meetings are set this week.

But what will happen next as 800,000 workers are on furlough or working without paychecks?

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Trump’s reading list: Start with dictionary, look up ‘wall’

OPINION — Though his two terms have ended, it is a tradition that former President Barack Obama has continued: providing his year-end list of favorite books (and films and music). This year, not surprisingly, his book of the year is Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” already a best-seller. That makes sense, since she is not only his wife and one of America’s favorite first ladies, but also, according to Gallup, the “most admired” woman in the country. Plus, can you imagine the troubles at home if another title topped his list?

But what of our current president?

Through the words of his staff and aides, many of whom have left the building, we know he is not that into reading, whether briefing paper or book, though “Trump: The Art of the Deal” will always have a special place in his heart. And to be fair, with a Democratic majority in the House and anticipated findings in special counsel Robert Mueller’s various investigations, Donald Trump has a lot on his 2019 plate.

For 2018 Trump Starred in Best (Worst?) Reality Show Yet

OPINION — In television shows, the cliffhanger is a bit of a cheat, putting a lead character in jeopardy so fans will have a reason to tune into the new season. Those (including me) who have labeled the current president and his administration something of a reality show — with its surprise guests, plot twists and dizzying cast of characters — could hardly have predicted how much Trump and crew would have followed the script.

As 2018 ends, the United States is on the brink of not only a new year but also new and not always encouraging developments of national and international significance. And no one, certainly not the president, knows how it will end.

A Year of Uncertainty in Charlotte and Beyond

CHARLOTTE, NC — From the partial government shutdown to North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district race, there is a lot of uncertainty as we wrap up 2018.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is anticipating what’s next in Charlotte and beyond as we head into 2019.

What Are We Thankful for? Decorum, Trump’s New Favorite Word

As a record-breaking number of travelers hit the road, the rails and the skies for Thanksgiving, it is probably with no small amount of dread. How will families keep the peace amid the inevitable clashes over politics and faith, at least until the turkey is eaten and the football games completed?  Never fear. It’s President Donald Trump to the rescue, brandishing his new favorite word: decorum.

As you might have heard, the administration of the man whose tweet replaced letters in a congressman’s name to spell an expletive (can’t you see him rushing to a Cabinet meeting to show off his “clever” handiwork, which would not pass muster for fifth-grade humor) has issued a list of rules for White House reporters in the press room. Play nice or you will have your credentials snatched. Usually, when I think of the president grabbing something from someone he doesn’t know, my thoughts drift to his infamous Access Hollywood tape before I forcefully fill my head with pleasant images — say, puppies or meadows.

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.