North Carolina has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in outside money influencing our elections this year. More than 90% of political advertisements and phone calls were funded by "outside" money, not by citizens living here. Yesterday was our primary and yes, I voted as I always do. I was given an extensive information sheet that the 2016 elections will require voter identification and asked to sign a sheet as to whether or not I actually had "valid" identification. I was not asked to show any form of ID. (Our recently passed Voter ID laws are processing through the court systems. They are far more limiting that those in other states.)
Encouraged by the recent rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), money from undisclosed citizens has poured into NC this year. Koch brothers and the Republican States Leadership Committe, among other conservative groups, poured more than a million dollars into advertising aimed at a single target; unseating an incumbent on our State Supreme Court. Keep in mind that elections for Supreme Court Justices in our states are NON-PARTISAN.
The scene for making our Court more partisan was set by our newly
It comes as no surprise that huge amounts of outside money are pouring into the State to defeat our incumbent US Senator Kay Hagan. And that will only increase now that she handily won the primary. It will be more vindictive and vicious for the general election in the fall. NC is considered on of the "vulnerable" states in which the Republican Party might gain a Senate seat. Her performance is not an issue; her political party is the driving force. And how sad that is.
One of my favorite political cartoonists who is always right on the money
So why target North Carolina? The answer for 2014 is relatively simple. One party dominates the General Assembly (made up of State Senators and Representatives) and the governor is a member of the same party. Much of the legislation passed by this General Assembly is being appealed through the court system. What better way to block and delay appeals than by filling the Supreme Court with ultra-conservatives with agendas far beyond justice?
As for the Senate race, we are a Red state with a Blue Senator, and a female one at that. The republican primary winner is Thom Tillis, the current Speaker of the NC House of Representatives. He led the General Assembly to the hard right views of government. As for those of us who dare oppose his agenda? His comment is "What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." He has vowed to appoint only anti-abortion judges. In a statement to a group of Republicans in 2011, Thom Tillis said that Republicans must "divide and conquer the poor." He is very proud of stopping the Medicaid expansion in NC, leaving more than half a million NC citizens without health care. He insists they "don't deserve it."
Many unhappy voters decided to vote blindly against any incumbent in 2010 without regards to performance. (Akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water.) And as is always the case, voting districts were redrawn following the census. For NC this meant they were redrawn to favor the party in power. And the lines are strange indeed. Liberal Asheville was moved into a more conservative district to lessen their impact. Gerrymandering is always common after the census, but this redistricting was worse than usual.
Why am I ranting so once again? Because I am FURIOUS that more voters from my state don't bother to find out where candidates stand on the issues. I am FURIOUS that North Carolina was once known as a progressive moderate state and is now extremely conservative. I love North Carolina but truth be told? I would not have returned to retire here had I foreseen the political climate we are now facing.
I grew up here and came back here for my retirement years. I love North Carolina and I want my state back.