posted on October 23, 2013 16:14
Roy Cooper has made strong moves to clear the 2016 Democratic primary field for Governor. But he also may be putting a big obstacle in his path.
The AG is adamant that he can go into court and defend Republican-supported laws on voter identification and same-sex marriage, even though he adamantly opposes those laws.
Maybe he can. But why would he? And is that smart politics?
Conventional wisdom says Cooper leads the Democratic pack today. He’s a proven vote-getter. He comes right out of the Sanford-Hunt central casting school for Democratic governors. He straddles the worlds of small-town values and big-city polish.
But Cooper is in the same position as Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. Clinton has to worry about an Elizabeth Warren-type challenge from the left. Cooper, too, has to worry about a credible challenge from the left. Anthony Foxx, say.
Call them “the left,” call them liberals, call them progressives, there is a large cohort of Democrats in North Carolina who were first energized by Howard Dean in 2004, then mobilized by Obama in 2008 and 2012 and now enraged by Republicans in Raleigh.
How will they react when a primary opponent confronts Cooper in a debate: “Roy, you said that as a matter of conscience you could not support laws the Republican legislature passed on voter ID and same-sex marriage. But you went into court and defended the constitutionality of both those laws. Why?”
Lawyers might understand defending a law you think is wrong. But laymen – and voters who feel passionately about those issues – may not.