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

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: CMPD Releases Full Body Camera Video; 9th District Early Voting

Earlier this week, a Mecklenburg County judge ordered the full release of the body camera video in the police shooting of Danquirs Franklin. The video was released on Wednesday. The ruling came after Monday night’s debate in city council about CMPD’s handling of the initial release of a shorter version of the video.

On the same day as the video’s release, CMPD announced a series of changes in policy to release all relevant video footage of incidents, like officer-involved shootings, to a judge to seek redactions.

Early voting for the special 9th District primary began this week and on Tuesday night, some of the candidates participated in a forum that covered topics from House Bill 2 to the Mueller report and more.

Movement on the incentives from the South Carolina legislature to relocate the Panthers’ headquarters may be on the horizon, as details come out about the plans David Tepper has for the new facility there. The team hopes to begin construction as early as later this year.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

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

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

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.

For serious primary voters, the parade of Democratic candidates is no joke

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The number of Democratic hopefuls declaring, thinking about declaring or being pushed to declare their interest in the 2020 race is increasing so rapidly, it has already become a reliable punchline. But for voters looking to discover the person who offers sensible policies on the issues they care about while exuding the intangible “it” quality that could beat Donald Trump, it is serious business.

Forget about what magic the letter “B” might hold — think Bernie, Biden, Beto, Booker, Buttigieg and I know I’m forgetting someone, oh yes, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet — these voters are digging deeper on the candidates who will crowd a debate stage in Miami two nights in a row in June.

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.”

GOP greets North Carolina election scandal with crickets, excuses and misdirection

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — America might know the name of the next president before voters in North Carolina’s 9th District have a representative in the House.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

But one sure thing is that Mark Harris, the Republican who thought he won last fall, attended an orientation for new members of Congress and was picking out an office — won’t be the new congressman. He cited health reasons in taking himself out of the race that has no end in sight.

What’s next in 9th Congressional District election after Mark Harris drops out?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Former pastor Mark Harris has certainly had a tough couple of months. In January, he was attending a meeting in Washington for new U.S. House members and picking out his office. And this week, he announced he will not run in a new election in the North Carolina’s 9th congressional district after the state election board, after hearings into allegations of election fraud, ordered a do-over. That throws the primary wide open, and leaves the district without representation for months.