POLITICAL WRAP: President Trump Speaking in SC at Criminal Justice Reform Event

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Happening this week: President Donald Trump is visiting South Carolina as part of a bi-partisan event on criminal justice reform.

The White House confirms Trump will appear Friday at a forum at Benedict College in Columbia. The event marks Trump’s first visit to a historically black college or university.

Some of the democrats vying to challenge him are also planning to attend… including front-runners Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Democratic Debate Wrap: Any Game Changers?

CHARLOTTENC — A dozen democratic presidential candidates taking the stage in Ohio Tuesday night — in a critical debate that could reshape the race for the nomination.

Health care once again a major topic as well as the impeachment inquiry and President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the debate and what it means for the race.

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.

Why big yellow buses are the big red herring of 2020

OPINION — Ed Sanders was both unique and ordinary. He became, in his own way, a hero just for doing his job.

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools integrated in North Carolina, if you can call it that, by allowing a handful of African American students to attend schools formerly reserved for whites only in September 1957, Sanders was principal of Central High. He had to smooth the way for Gus Roberts, its first black student, in a city still segregated in everything from housing to swimming pools to bathrooms.

As he told me when I interviewed him more than a decade ago, Sanders, a Simpsonville, South Carolina, native, had no particular desire to be a pioneer; all he knew was that he was principal. He prepared by enlisting the football team as protectors, using the threat of a canceled season as leverage and anointing a custodian as the young man’s unobtrusive guardian angel. When crowds gathered and one boy knocked the cap off the new kid’s head, Sanders threatened him and any other troublemaker with expulsion from his school and every other one in the city as he escorted Roberts through the front door.

Are we in this American experiment together? A July Fourth question to contemplate

OPINION — Who doesn’t love Cary Grant, the debonair British-born, American acting legend, who wooed leading ladies, including the Hepburns, Katharine and Audrey, as well as generations of moviegoers?

But he was not so charming when his submarine commander character in 1943’s “Destination Tokyo” said: “The Japs don’t understand the love we have for our women. They don’t even have a word for it in their language.”

Demonizing “the enemy” in wartime as “the other,” incapable of emotion and not quite human is not unusual. But someone always pay a hefty price. Loyal Japanese American families, rounded up and shipped to internment camps, waited until 1988 for President Ronald Reagan to issue an apology; survivors received meager compensation. Though that was expected to be that, the trauma to those Americans and the nation lingered.

And despite that World War II-era lesson, and ones before and after, America continues to make the same mistake, a notion important to contemplate during the Fourth of July festivities, when we celebrate the ideal.

This year, a Washington, D.C., military parade and fireworks display with a speech by Donald Trump that places a national holiday squarely in partisan territory will be both a distraction from and a reminder of our current plight.

Previewing 2020 Democratic Debates

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first debates of the 2020 presidential election are here. 20 Democrats will face off in a two-night debate Wednesday and Thursday in Miami.

Each candidate will have a minimum amount of time to make a maximum impact. The stakes may be even higher for those at the bottom of the polls, because their campaigns need attention and money to continue.

So, what should viewers look for, in addition to that memorable moment that can make or break a campaign?

Mary Curtis weighs in.

Can Bernie Sanders change his luck in the South?

OPINION — Bernie Sanders spent the weekend on a Southern swing, which makes sense. The Vermont senator’s failure to connect with enough core Democratic voters the last time around — in the South, that means black voters, and black women in particular — stalled his campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. He hit a wall in the early primary state of South Carolina, losing badly to Hillary Clinton, and he never recovered.

2020 Democratic Presidential Field

CHARLOTTE, NC — The first scheduled debate for the growing field of Democrats ready to take on President Trump in 2020 is to take place in Miami over two days in June. They will need both days to accommodate all the men and women on the growing list. Just this week, Iowa-born California congressman Eric Swalwell joined the crowd. Though it is way too early to judge, how is the field shaping up?

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.”

Opinion: Trump May Have American Carnage, but Biden Has American Corny

You know the lights may be dimming on the American experiment when Attorney General Jeff Sessions resurrects an abbreviated Bible passage that slaveholders once used to justify selling children away from parents to justify separating children from parents on America’s Southern border and then parses the difference between his “zero tolerance” plans and Nazi tactics — as a defense. Leaving aside that using any interpretation of the Bible (or the Koran or any holy book) in setting government policy slides awfully close to a theocracy, this is strong stuff.

And don’t forget the 2018 version of the Pips — Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen — singing backup to their official and unofficial leader on immigration, with special guest Corey Lewandowski adding his signature mocking “womp, womp” refrain.

Under pressure and mindful of the optics, if not the empathy gap, the president on Wednesday said he would use an executive order to end his administration’s family separation policy. But the hallmark of U.S. leadership remains government by grievance and division, driven by a belief that certain human beings are not quite human and do not even merit the tiniest bit of concern.