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North Carolina - Republicans

03
“Voter shaming” is new. Hypocrisy is as old as politics. The North Carolina Republican Party found a way to engage in both last week.
 
A local voter received a card from the GOP with this warning: “The News and Observer reported last week that Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s operation plans to publish and share your voting record with your neighbors after this election.”
 
So the GOP published and shared neighbors’ voting records BEFORE the election. The card contained the 2010, 2012 and 2014 voting record of the recipient and four neighbors.
 
Of course, the card was just a public service: “The Republican Party wanted to make you aware of this, so Reid and Obama don’t have the chance to embarrass you for staying home on election day.”
 
Thanks for sparing us that embarrassment – by doing it now.
 
By the way, you might ask: Why do both parties engage in the obnoxious practice of voter shaming? Because, the GOTV experts say, it works.

 

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01
Governor McCrory is the Missing Man in Republican campaign ads.
 
Thom Tillis campaigns with John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Mitt Romney. Wake County Republicans line up beside Sheriff Donnie Harrison.
 
But no Pat. No “endorsed by Governor McCrory” boasts. Not many rallies featuring the Gov. The only ads about McCrory attack him on coal ash.
 
He’s as scarce in GOP ads as President Obama in Democrats’ ads. Which says it all.
 
The Elon Poll found their job ratings about the same. McCrory’s are 37 approve, 47 disapprove; Obama’s, 40 approve, 52 disapprove.
 
Not a good sign for a Governor whose reelection battle begins Wednesday.

 

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30
Chad Barefoot must have asked his team: “What can we do that will so anger and offend women that they’ll vote AGAINST me?”
 
They came up with an ad that has backfire potential approaching the “child molester” ad against Justice Robin Hudson. It portrays Sarah Crawford’s husband as a cigar-smoking lobbyist laughing about how his little woman will vote the way he tells her to in the Senate.
 
Kimberly Reynolds of the Senate Democratic caucus pounced: “Evidently in Senator Barefoot’s world, corporate lobbyists rule and women are expected to simply follow their husbands’ orders.”
 
The ad could be a caricature of the Negative Ad. It’s not only sexist and over-the-top, it’s hypocritical: Yes, Sarah’s husband is a lobbyist – for the League of Conservation Voters. And, I’m told, Chad Barefoot’s mother-in-law also is a lobbyist – for the outfit that passed Amendment One.
 
In a district where women already are motivated – and make up a high number of swing voters – Chad & Co. may have pulled off one of the biggest bonehead plays of this election year.

 

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30
The term is new to me, but dog whistles are the oldest thing in Southern politics. This election, like all of them, comes down to race.
 
In 1950, it was “White People Wake Up…Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and daughters in your mills and factories?”
 
In 1984, it was “I oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. Where do you stand, Jim?”
 
Today it’s mailers linking Gary Pendleton’s opponent Kim Hanchette to a scary-looking photo of the Rev. William Barber. And Phil Matthews’ supporters criticizing Matt Calabria for supporting UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies when he ran for UNC student body president in 2004.
 
Same old, same old.
 
Republicans, as always, will say it’s Democrats who are “playing the race card.” They’ll say it’s racist for Democrats to link Republicans like Thom Tillis to Stand Your Ground laws, President Obama’s impeachment and voter-suppression laws.
 
Where you come down on this divide pretty much defines where you stand in American politics.
 
Just like it has ever since the Civil War, it still comes down to race.

 

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30
If you’re tired of ads, tired of contradictory punditry and tired of conflicting, confusing and cooked-up polls, here’s a prescription for sanity: Take a dose of the Elon University poll.
 
A warning about side effects: It will calm Democrats and give Republicans heartburn. (Hagan is up 45-41.)That aside, it gives you as clear, comprehensive and unbiased a look at the North Carolina electorate right now as you’re going to get. It isn’t a quickie poll to get the sponsor a headline, and it isn’t a cooked-up poll from a partisan.
 
Best of all for us poll junkies, they give you the full crosstabs. You can see the racial and religious breakdowns, the difference between NC natives and non-natives, voters’ opinions about issues from gay marriage (opposition is up) to abortion restrictions (opposition is also up).
 
You can see what has to be the number of most concern to Thom Tillis and the Republican legislature: 30 approve, 55 disapprove (worse than Obamacare). Nor will Governor McCrory find much comfort: he gets 37 approve, 47 disapprove.
 
A tip of the TAP hat to the Elon poll team!

 

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29
Thom Tillis said Kay Hagan voted for Obama’s Stimulus Bill then her husband’s company got $390,000 in Stimulus Funds as a pay-off. And Hagan fired back Tillis (as Speaker) put a toll road near Charlotte in exchange for $25,000 in campaign contributions and sold three seats on the UNC Board of Governors for $75,000 in donations to his SuperPac.
 
Imagine being an Undecided Independent voter.
 
You don’t like Tillis or Hagan. You’d love to vote against both. But you have to choose one. And a week before the election, you turn on the TV and hear him saying ‘she’s a crook’ and her saying ‘he’s a bigger crook.’
 
How do you decide? Flip a coin?

 

 

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29
Thom Tillis faces a big obstacle as he tries to catch up in the final days: Thom Tillis.
 
If you turn off the sound and just watch Tillis, you’ll see the problem he has swaying undecided voters, especially those Walmart (or Target) moms who haven’t made up their minds yet.
 
Tillis can look cold, mean, even cruel. His countenance has the air of the management consultant he was, a tough guy who tells the CEO to eliminate that operation and lay off those employees.
 
He can’t help it even in his own positive ad. He addresses the camera, and it seems that we’re going to see a soft, friendly side. Then he sticks it to Senator Hagan, calling her a rubber-stamp. Where did Mr. Nice Guy go?
 
Contrast Tillis with another US Senate challenger, Scott Brown in New Hampshire (by way of Massachusetts). Clearly, Brown is a carpetbagger, a brazen opportunist and dumb as a bag of rocks. But, just as clearly, he seems to be a fun, friendly guy, a guy you’d like to have a beer with, as they say.
 
At this point in this race, undecided voters are looking for something to hang their hats on. It may not be an issue or a new piece of information. It may just be that human intuition about who you like and trust.
 
Tillis loses that test.
 

 

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29
A pollster will usually ask voters: Would you say you 1) Always vote Democratic, 2) Usually vote Democratic, 3) Always vote Republican, 4) Usually vote Republican or 5) would you say you split your ticket and vote for about as many Republicans as Democrats?
 
Down at the Editorial Board (not in the news room) at the News and Observer the boys have gone 5 for 5 in the local Congressional Races – picking five Democrats and not a single Republican.  
 
They also went 4 for 4 in the County Commissioners races – picking 4 Democrats.  
 
And they endorsed Lorrin Freeman, the Democrat in the District Attorney’s race.
 
Then they went 12 of 12 – endorsing 12 Democrats in the State House races.
 
They did endorse one Republican – Sheriff Donnie Harrison – in a backhanded way, spending most of their editorial explaining what Donnie had done wrong and praising his opponent.
 
At any rate, one thing’s clear: Whoever’s doing the picking down at the N&O Editorial Board isn’t a ticket splitter.

 

 

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27
An African-American minister proclaimed that a gay person should not be a judge. He also joined Rep. Skip Stam-and apparently 27 other House Republicans-in proclaiming that magistrates, who are officers of the court, should not have to carry out laws and court decisions they don’t like.
 
Forty years ago, several magistrates in North Carolina refused to perform interracial marriages, which they said violated their religious beliefs.
 
A question for the minister: What is the difference?
 
And a question for Rep. Stam, since he apparently did not take issue with the minister’s statement about gay judges: Let’s say, hypothetically, that there is a judge in North Carolina who is Republican and gay. And let’s say that judge is on the ballot for a court office. Should that judge resign and abandon his or her candidacy?
 
Just asking.

 

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27
As bleak as Governor McCrory’s job approval numbers were in the WRAL poll, that wasn’t the worst news. Consider how Republicans, Democrats and Independents feel about the General Assembly.
                                   
                                             Republican Voters
                                             Approve 35%
                                             Disapprove 38%
 
                                             Conservative Voters
                                             Approve 33%
                                             Disapprove 37%
 
                                             Independent Voters
                                             Approve 20%
                                             Disapprove 54%
 
Now I can imagine Republican leaders over in the legislature pooh-poohing and saying,  Ah, well, that doesn’t really matter. We drew the districts.
 
But how long can a Republican state legislator in any district remain safe if Republicans and Conservatives think he’s doing a poor job?
 
Four years ago, Republicans won a majority in the General Assembly because voters were angry at Obama. Back then, two numbers ran through polls like plum-lines: Two-thirds of the Independents disapproved of the President – and almost to a man they voted Republican down the line. The correlation between the President’s job disapproval and the Republican vote was nearly absolute.
 
Which, after the election, led to a miscalculation: Human nature being what it is Republicans, naturally, figured the real reason they’d won was because voters had discovered their virtues, seen the light, converted to the true faith and agreed with Republicans down the line on issues from tax reform to education spending.
 
Next, naturally, as soon as they were sworn in Republicans started passing bills but before you, say, tell a senior citizen you’re going to start taxing his prescription drugs (as a part of tax reform) you have to explain to him pretty clearly why that’s a good idea and how he’s going to be better off in the long run – because if you don’t you may end up with approval rating of 23%.
 
When Reverend William Barber and his Moral Monday cohorts starting telling voters Republicans hated children and women and old people and dogs and cats, silence wasn’t the answer. Republican leaders needed to stand up, sound off, and make their case explaining why Reverend Barber was dead-wrong.
 
But that never happened. And it won’t happen before November 4th.  So the next question is simple: How do Republican legislators turn those numbers around before the next election?
 

 

 

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