The lingering ghost of the north carolina gop supermajority la gas prices map


Chances are most citizens at least know the reality of living in an all-blue or all-red state. As of now, just four state legislatures in the entire country feature split chambers—that is, a Republican majority in the House and a Democratic one in the Senate, or vice versa. gas equations chemistry This trend didn’t stop for the 2018 elections. Once the smoke settled from last Tuesday’s midterms, Democrats around the country had taken back and emboldened their stances in state legislatures. On the whole, this is good news for those hoping for a more progressive society, especially for those in North Carolina.

But with these gains, and the power that accompanies them, is the inevitable risk of complacency among even the most politically aware citizens—of believing that the folks in charge will be fine simply because of the “D” next to their name. That comfort can lead politicians into greed, laziness, and misguided policies—the kind that, among many other things, helped drive North Carolina’s Democrats into the political wilderness for eight long years.

In North Carolina, Democrats ruled state politics for over a century. Then, after a series of missteps and a four-decade racism-fueled campaign by Republicans, the GOP snatched control of the state and claimed a majority in 2010. Just two years later, seizing on their red wave, they established a two-thirds majority—also known as a supermajority—in both the state Senate and House. After that, they stopped caring that much about what anyone else thought. With the power to write the budget and set the bounds on social issues, they set about installing a right-wing government in the quickest, most vicious way possible.

Last Tuesday, in theory, should have been a day to rejoice. The North Carolina Democratic Party was able to break the supermajority in both chambers for the first time since 2012. grade 9 electricity test But for those that experienced the years that preceded the comeback, the elation that accompanied the few gains the Democrats made felt too soon, and too hollow given the carnage wrought by Republicans during the previous eight years. Carnage which, though it drew a tremendous backlash and caused a wave of powerful activist movements to break out across the state, nevertheless set progress back in North Carolina in ways that will not be easy to repair.

Keeping in mind that the GOP still owns majorities in both the state House and Senate, it feels all the more crucial to reflect on the individuals that drove the Tar Heel State in reverse for the better part of a decade, because even after the midterms, the politicians and lawyers at the top of that Republican machine remain in power. Even with a Democratic governor and the courts and city governments solidly in Democratic, the hold that Democrats have on my home state is slippery and delicate.

Since 1898, North Carolina’s General Assembly had largely been a one-party operation, and the Democratic Party was the massive umbrella under which progressives and conservatives elbowed each other for space. It wasn’t until 1972 that North Carolina elected its first Republican governor or Senator. Republicans began siphoning off conservative Democrats, leading to slight swings in the Assembly in the late 1970s and mid-1990s. Still, the Democrats never ceded the majority, and so for a long time, North Carolina stood out as a relative beacon of Southern progress thanks to a legislature that was able to raise taxes to build community colleges and fund their public schools.

But as the Republicans pushed an agenda of social conservatism and lower taxes, Democrats failed miserably at finding a distinctive platform that resonated with a citizenry which had become justifiably distrustful of direct government involvement thanks to corruption being normalized at the highest levels. Nearly every top Democrat from 2000-2010 was involved in some sort of bribery or fraud or bribery-fraud-sex scandal, but the party thought it could weather the storm simply because power was its natural home.

Conservatives across America look at what the Republicans accomplished in the General Assembly and salivate. In just a few short years, the North Carolina GOP stripped the state of both its natural resources and already-thin social safety net; rejected the very idea that transgender people existed; and redrew district maps to favor themselves and disenfranchise poor black citizens. And they did it all while the hamstrung Democrats worked at a sloth-like pace to slow the bleeding.

Starting with Berger and Tillis’s control of the General Assembly in 2010, the Republicans committed to a rash of regressive tax cuts. wd gaster battle The tax reform passed by then-House Speaker Tillis from 2011-2014 ended the estate tax paid by heirs of estates valued at more than $5.25 million. It also lowered the corporate tax rate from 6.9 percent to 3 percent, and dropped the individual tax rate to a single rate, lowering it from a high of 7.75 percent to 5.49 percent. The corporate rate will fall to 2.5 percent and the individual rate to 5.25 percent come 2019. And now, thanks to the actions of North Carolina voters last Tuesday, the income tax rate for state taxes is capped at seven percent.

Alongside them is George Holding, former legislative counsel for Helms and heir to the First Citizens Banks fortune. This beautiful ghoul holds between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock in the bank and routinely votes on its behalf. He voted for a handful of amendments two years ago to block federal funding for fair housing investigations similar to the one targeting his family bank. gaston y la agrupacion santa fe At the time, First Citizens Bank was being investigated by HUD for discriminating against minority loan applicants.

In August of 2017, Holding refused to support the renaming of a Chapel Hill building after historic Black Wall Street banker and community leader John Harvey; when asked, he said it was because the bill’s sponsor, Democrat G.K. Butterfield, had refused to support a recent bill naming a federal building after Jesse Helms. Holding was challenged by Linda Coleman this past Tuesday and while the race was closer than his 2014 election, he still won by six points.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Lt. Governor Dan Forest provocatively harangue the Democratic leadership while allowing their legislative wizard, Phil Berger, to continue his reign as the General Assembly’s most powerful politician. gastroenterology After a brief break to work on other campaigns, Berger’s key aide, Jim Blaine, is back by his side. Berger and Blaine are the people who waited until items like the repeal of HB2 (the so-called “bathroom bill) dominated the headlines to enact their more heinous measures, including their successful attempt to strip the incoming Democratic governor of his appointment powers.

The important thing to realize after burning through the above rundown of conservative characters is that they are not permanent. They are very much replaceable, by representatives that would turn the legislature in the opposite direction or by folks that would carry on the very goals they laid out for themselves. The point is that when left to their own devices, state governments can pull off some incredible heinous shit.

Take Alabama, for example. There, the GOP has held a supermajority in the state legislature since 2010. This past Tuesday, 42 new representatives were elected to the two chambers of the Alabama Legislature and yet the Republican Party still has a supermajority, meaning it can continue putting forth ballot measures and bills that deconstruct and defund abortion clinics and, oh yes, allow for the Ten Commandments to be plastered on any type of public property. The point isn’t who sits in the chairs, necessarily, but what the end results of a given faction claiming power will consistently result in for the citizens of that state.

The biggest reason North Carolinians turned their back on the Democratic Party after a full century of commitment was the fact that the peddlers of race-baiting tactics the South has grown to love simply switched party membership. But another cause was the fact that the people felt disappointed by the neoliberal results they produced. Under the Democrats, rural schools and minority-heavy districts still got the raw end of the stick, entire mill towns flocked overseas with no steady replacement jobs, and corrupt party leaders ran rampant, only to be caught by the media or the cops and be replaced by another person with a “D” next to their name.

In breaking the supermajority, the Democrats have provided themselves a bit of breathing room, though they’ll have to act as a cohesive unit if they want to influence any future legislation. Republicans, even if only slightly, will have to start listening to the left-leaning voices and votes in the House that decry their power grabs, though I wouldn’t hold my breath for any of them crossing the aisle. Another ramification of the supermajority’s death is that Democratic Gov. h gas l gas Roy Cooper will now no longer have his vetoes discarded like expired lunch meat by a Republican supermajority. He will instead be able to reject any particularly heinous pieces of legislation that make their way to his desk, though his track record suggests that he will need watching.

Democrats now also rule both the state Supreme Court and the appeals courts, and they dominate the city commissioner seats as a result of the elections. What is likely to follow is a round of progressive and moderately liberal urban and suburban representatives being pitted against their conservative rural counterparts in the General Assembly, as the two groups grow increasingly partisan. This means more petty spats that blow up in the state’s face, like HB2, and more unchecked power for Democrats in urban areas—which, as was proven in the last two decades, does not always produce great results, not that the alternative is any better.