Cory Booker bows out, Ben Carson backs off fair housing and issues of race recede in America

OPINION — It doesn’t take a candidate of color on a debate stage to raise issues of justice and inequality. But that has been the way it has worked out, mostly.

For example, it was exhilarating for many when then-candidate Julián Castro said in a Democratic debate, “Police violence is also gun violence,” while naming Atatiana Jefferson, killed in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a police officer who shot through the window without identifying himself. Castro’s words were an acknowledgment of the lived experiences of many in America. He has since dropped out of the race, as has California Sen. Kamala Harris, who chided her party for taking the support of black women for granted.

POLITICAL WRAP: Soleimani Imminent Threat; Protests in Iran Over Downed Plane

CHARLOTTE, NC — Dueling narratives over the strike that killed Qassem Soleimani. The White House, defending the strike against Iran’s top military leader, while democrats question whether there was actually an “imminent threat.”

Also, thousands of demonstrators continue to protest the Iranian government, after officials admitted the country mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet.

Click above for more with WCCB Charlotte political contributor Mary C. Curtis.

When science fiction becomes environmental fact, it might be time to worryen

OPINION — How did you spend your holiday? If you’re like me, one guilty pleasure was devouring TV marathons, designed to offer relief from the stresses of the season. Reliable favorites include back-to-back episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and, on Turner Classic Movies, one whole day devoted to science fiction, imaginings both cautionary and consoling of what the future holds for our world.

But usual escapes didn’t quite work this year, not when fact is scarier than anything “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling might have dreamed up, though the serious Serling who introduced each episode of his iconic series, all furrowed brow and cigarette in hand, did signal he suspected what was coming if mankind didn’t shape up.

Hint: Mankind did not listen to that sober sage.

The Politics of War: What’s Next in The U.S.-Iran Conflict

CHARLOTTE, NC — The pentagon says Iran has retaliated against the United States for killing their top military commander. Political contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses what’s next.

POLITICAL WRAP: What’s Next for the U.S. and Iran?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –  President Trump is informing members of Congress about potential action against Iran, via tweet. Trump has already said the U.S. has targeted 52 Iranian sites for attack should the country strike “Any Americans, or American Assets” in retaliation for the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani.

The Heat: US President Trump Impeached

For only the third time in American history, a president of the United States has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. The partisan vote, with no Republicans voting to impeach President Trump, now sets up a trial in the U.S. Senate that will determine if he can remain in office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made the case on Wednesday, calling the president’s actions reckless.

But Republicans in Congress have denounced the Democrats impeachment action saying there was no merit to the two charges —abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

To discuss all of this: Leonard Steinhorn is a political analyst and professor of Communication and History at American University. Nate Lerner heads “Build the Wave,” a progressive grassroots political organization. Frank Buckley is Foundation Professor at George Mason University’s Scalia School of Law. Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for Roll Call and an NPR contributor.

POLITICAL WRAP: Voter ID; Pelosi Delay; Charlotte Homicides

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It appears North Carolina voters will not have to show ID in March’s presidential primary. A Federal Court temporarily blocked new requirements set to go into effect next year. The decision can be appealed but that would be up to Democrat state Attorney General Josh Stein.

U.S. Senators return to Washington at the end of the week. But the question remains, how longer will Nancy Pelosi wait to deliver the articles of impeachment? Senate leaders remain at an impasse over whether there will be new witnesses and testimony in a Senate trial.

Closer to home, this year’s homicide rate in Charlotte is on track to be the worst since 1993. CMPD has investigated 108 murders so far. Mayor Vi Lyles says Charlotte is looking at data from other cities for ways to curb the violence.

POLITICAL WRAP: Impeachment Process On Hold For Holiday Break, McCrory Eyeing Senate Run

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The impeachment process for President Trump is on hold for at least now during the holiday break.  But, staff for the key house committees are expected to work over the holiday recess and could be prepping for a trial as early as the week of January 6th.

Former Governor Pat McCrory announced Thursday he won’t be running for his old job.  But, he says he will consider a U.S. Senate bid for 2022.

WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on those stories and more during this week’s Political Wrap.

POLITICAL WRAP: Impeachment Trial; Voter Rights; UK Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After this week’s impeachment vote, debate will continue over a possible Senate trial. Majority leader Mitch McConnell says he’d like it to go quickly. But President Trump has talked about calling witnesses, ranging from Hunter Biden, to the whistleblower, to Congressman Adam Schiff.

Also, this week voting rights are back in the spotlight after a ruling by a circuit court judge in Wisconsin. 234,000 voters, flagged as having possibly moved, will be taken off the registry. The ruling is expected to hurt Democrats in a state President Trump won in 2016.

And in the UK, a landslide victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party. Johnson is promising to “Get Brexit Done,” while President Trump calls the election result a possible “harbinger of what’s to come” in the 202o U.S. election.

Voting rights, a partisan issue? Yes, Republicans have fallen that far

OPINION — Stacey Abrams has it right, for right now. She lost her 2018 race to be the governor of Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state was in charge of the election, a situation that would not pass the sniff test in North Korea.

OK, that comparison is a little far-fetched, but only a little.

Since then, though, she’s been plenty busy, confirming that, yes, she would be open to a vice presidential spot on the 2020 Democratic ticket and locking down a network TV deal for a drama based on one of her novels.

Most importantly, though, through her group Fair Fight, she has been fighting for voting rights, an issue that’s bigger than one election and always has been.

Despite the GOP talking point that the impeachment inquiry is crowding out important work, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House has been passing legislation, only to see those bills die in the Senate under the strict command of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Last week, another proposed bill joined the list, with little doubt that it too would meet the same Senate fate. The two parties can’t even agree on what to call it. For Democrats, and officially, it is the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Republicans have dubbed it the “The Federal Control of Elections Act.”

Not too subtle.