Opinion: In North Carolina, the Good and Not-So-Good News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s North Carolina, so, of course, the good news is followed by that pesky dark cloud every time.

You would think everyone in the state would welcome the end of the long saga over House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill, which was repealed recently in a compromise. That bill, which had compelled people to use the bathroom that corresponded to the gender on their birth certificates, also said cities could not follow Charlotte’s lead and enact their own anti-discrimination ordinances or a minimum wage and much more.

 

Opinion: Not So Fast, Democrats. You Had a Good Day, but Now What?

As the Republican Party has learned, it’s much easier to be the party of “no” than to actually have a plan to lead. So while Democrats are celebrating a GOP in disarray, the party out of power needs a message and a plan.

Understandably, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosicelebrated as the GOP’s new-and-improved health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed. But long term, she must truly want to experience a return to the speaker’s post. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knows just how to rile Donald Trump, his fellow New Yorker. But he still has to call Trump Mr. President.

So what happens the morning after the party, when all that remains are empty champagne bottles and a headache? f

The GOP and White Evangelicals: A Forever Match?

Will a health care proposal that could toss “the least of these” off its rolls cause divisions between evangelicals uncomfortable with a close relationship with the Republican Party and those who feel just fine with the political association?

A shared anti-abortion stance, with the promise to appoint like-minded judges, has so far helped to keep the link between evangelicals and the GOP strong. But strains — along policy, generational, and racial lines — are showing within conservative faith groups, despite agreement on core beliefs.

 

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted.

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

Are the protesters of 2017 in it for the long haul?

Will Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, run into Senate roadblocks?

CHARLOTTE, NC —  The White House is paving the way for Constitutional Conservative Neil Gorsuch to fill the open spot on the nation’s highest court. Right now, it doesn’t seem like Democrats will put up much of a fight over his Supreme Court nomination. WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Common Ground in the Trump Era Is Doubtful

The parallels aren’t perfect, but close enough to see and hear hypocrisy from all sides.

Observing some of the more dismissive reactions against last weekend’s women’s marches that exceeded expectations in Washington, across the country and around the world, you would think that gathering for a cause and against an American president was somehow unpatriotic.

New President Donald Trump’s initial statement that he was “under the impression that we just had an election” eventually gave way to a defense of a constitutional right to protest, though his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said, “I frankly didn’t see the point.”

Various Republican elected officials around the country mocked protesters before offering half-hearted apologies. In North Carolina, GOP state Sen. Joyce Krawiec tweeted: “Message to crazies @ Women’s March — If brains were lard, you couldn’t grease a small skillet. You know who you are.” She won her seat without opposition in November, so she probably felt pretty safe.

Déjà vu

I had a flashback to a revved-up crowd at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, where I was covering what was called the first national tea party convention in early February 2010. Participants who came to rail against health care and other policies of then-President Barack Obama claimed patriotism as their motivation for righteous dissent.

 

What Donald Trump Should Have Said to a Civil Rights Icon

Donald Trump is about to become president of the United States of America. But he isn’t acting like it. He tweets in scatter-shot fashion, noticing every real and perceived slight and attacking. Doesn’t he realize that it is politically smart for any leader to think and act strategically, always anticipating many moves ahead, like a master chess player?

Washington Politics: A Hint of Compromise or North Carolina-Style Dysfunction?

Though the year has just begun, there are already signs that the partisan power struggle in Washington will not benefit from a fresh start or optimistic resolutions of renewal.

“I want to say to the American people: We hear you. We will do right by you. And we will deliver,” said re-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, as he no doubt relished uniting with President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Washington to celebrate the consolidation of power by undoing President Barack Obama’s actions of the last eight years.

But is he listening to all of the American people when his party is deciding what exactly it will deliver? Does a president elected by an electoral- but not popular-vote majority present the best evidence of a mandate to completely change course?

The Republican majority in Washington might look south as a warning of what could happen when you believe you’re not only right, but good, and those who disagree don’t matter. It’s a charge that was lobbed at Democrats and President Obama during their years in power, but irony is in short supply when the tables are turned. It certainly did not matter in North Carolina, a state almost evenly split in party and political sentiment, where one party, nonetheless, is more interested in ruling than governing.

 

Will Big Lies Insinuate Themselves Into Trump Policies?

There is the big lie, the ‘Elvis is alive and kidnapped my baby and they were all sucked up into a spaceship’ kind of lie so beloved by supermarket tabloids and fringe websites. “Pizzagate” falls into that category. When you hear a conspiracy theory about underground tunnels and a child-abuse ring involving government officials and a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., all you can do is shake your head — that is, unless you’re a guy with a rifle who decides to “self-investigate,” and ends up terrorizing a neighborhood.

Then there’s another kind of statement that sounds a little more reasonable than Elvis and aliens, but has a similar relation to the truth — the tales of millions of illegal and fraudulent voters who usurped my popular vote win or cost me that governorship, or of inner cities as unrelieved cauldrons of criminals, minorities and hopelessness. These stories are whispered by those who should know better, then repeated by more and more people in power. Uttered with a straight face, furrowed brow and a wheelbarrow full of fake concern, they insinuate themselves into policy that can change the character of our country.

I don’t know which is scarier.

Hope for a United Future in America’s Divided Past

When you enter the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, you step into an elevator going down, and through its glass walls, the years flash by, with history moving backward, to the 1400s. Campaign 2016 has often resembled that kind of journey, not moving that far into the past, of course, but far enough to a time when no thin line of civility kept American citizens from lashing out at one another — loudly, and with anger and violence.

That has been the dispiriting price of the long slog to Election Day, Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, with the country collectively collapsing at the finish line. Still, it would be wise for all Americans to acknowledge that there are miles to go, and that this path is one we have traveled since the beginning, often with one side celebrating and the other deflated — a future of cooperation and compromise downright impossible to imagine