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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

 

Making Trump proud

by Tom Sullivan

Back in the day, you didn't ask South Carolinians where they were going for their summer vacations. You asked when they were going to Myrtle Beach — "The Grand Strand" or (derisively) the Redneck Riviera. Unless they had money, in which case they had a beach house or a condo on Hilton Head. They didn't get out much. So when I lived in South Carolinia in the 70s and 80s and traveled outside the immediately adjoining states, I never saw SC license tags.

When people asked where I was from and I told them, they'd follow up with, "So how long have you been living in North Carolina?" or "What part of North Carolina is that?" Except for Strom Thurmond and Charleston, South Carolina hadn't much penetrated the national consciousness. But North Carolina? In the latter part of the 20th century, it was a jewel in the South. People knew it, and for the right reasons.

Good times.

And now? And now Ryan Cooper warns at The Week, "The Republican Party in North Carolina is giving the rest of the country an object lesson in the difference between tyranny and democracy." Brace yourselves, the rest of the country could be goin' to Carolina in their GOP-controlled legislatures:

It's not hard to predict how Republicans will attempt to cement their control of political power during the Trump years. Indeed, the tyranny is already some distance towards completion. Part of the plan will be what they have already been doing since they won the 2010 midterms and especially since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. They'll continue gerrymandering district boundaries to make it as hard as possible for Democrats to win (indeed, the way those selfsame state legislative districts are drawn in North Carolina is already an unconstitutional abrogation of civil rights, according to a federal court). They'll enact further targeted vote suppression measures to disenfranchise as many minorities and white liberals as possible, this time at the federal level if they can manage it. And for Democrats who manage to jump through all the hoops, they'll make it as onerous as possible for them to vote by restricting polling locations and hours in Democratic-leaning locations.

Finally, as we're seeing in North Carolina, any inconveniently lost elections can be overturned so long as the GOP controls enough other chunks of government. Legislatures can core out a governor's power, or Supreme Court decisions can overturn legislation with reverse-engineered legal argle-bargle. Who knows where it will stop. And from there it's really quite a short distance to stuffing ballot boxes or rigging the election counts. It has all happened before.
A friend asked last night for a list of 3-5 of the most egregious things Republicans have done in North Carolina since taking control. Most of them readers here already know, particularly with regard to voting issues. But the GOP never does anything that's not at least a twofer. Privatization — of roads and water systems, for example, or public schools via charter expansion — is not just about converting "We the People" assets into private profits for cronies. It's about disrupting the income streams of Democratic-leaning city governments. The goal is to weaken them politically, stripping them of revenue by creating a slow-rolling economic crisis that will force cities to either raise taxes or slash services or both, allowing Republicans in a few years to argue, See, see how badly Democrats have handled your economy? Elect us and we'll show you how it's really done.

The spin they deployed last week justifies their strippng the incoming Democratic governor of powers as cold revenge for slights their party experienced so long ago that some members could not possibly remember, before some had birth certificates and others were barely out of diapers. Donald Trump would be proud. But then, when is he not?

The NCGOP has scheduled yet another super-duper, extra-extra-special session today, ostensibly to "discuss" repealing the anti-LGBT HB2. But watch out for in your ear.







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