Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains

The redrawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

But the fact that it’s arguably a toss-up, in some judges’ reasoning, how much the Republicans in the state legislature used race or pure partisan advantage while doing their dirty work highlights how difficult it will be for Democrats to retake the majority in the House — Trumpian scandals and a proposed budget that hurts many in the GOP base notwithstanding.

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation.

 

Comey’s Memo, Trump’s Russia Meeting

Charlotte, NC — There is controversy on two fronts at the White House. According to a memo, President Trump allegedly asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the bureau’s investigation into then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The latest allegations come on the heels of reports that the President also shared classified information with Russian leaders during an Oval Office meeting last week. Members of the House Oversight Committee say they are willing to subpoena documents of any conversations between Comey and Trump if they are not handed over by May 24th.

Russia President Vladimir Putin is also offering to turn over to Congress records of President Donald Trump’s discussions with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information.

Lawmakers on both aisles are pressing for more answers.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis offers more perspective on the drama and chaos in Washington.

Opinion: The Obama Effect — Pros and Cons for Republicans and Democrats

Barack Obama, the charismatic former president, can cause a scene just by walking into a coffee shop, as the rapturous crowds in usually blase New York City demonstrated at one of his cameos. So as he gently re-entered the public and policy eye this week, it’s no surprise that he could throw both Democrats and Republicans off balance — though of course for very different reasons.

 

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.