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Well, Gary, I never dreamed I’d see it: I opened the newspaper and Democrats were saying Jim Hunt is not a good Democrat.

The Democratic Party endorsed Nancy McFarlane, an Independent, in her previous races for Mayor but this time the party switched and endorsed Charles Francis – but Governor Hunt stayed with McFarlane, so now the Party’s African American Caucus is demanding the party strike Governor Hunt’s name off its annual ‘Sanford-Hunt-Frye’ fundraiser.  

The world tilts a little more each day and just when it seems politics can’t get any crazier, you see Democrats attacking Jim Hunt. What on earth comes next?

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Maybe Democrats should stop saying Trump should stop tweeting. He may be tweeting himself into a hole he can’t dig out of.

This thought comes from Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, in Politico, “Trump’s Tweets Are Hurting Him With the Voters He Needs Most.” Messina wrote:

“Progressives across the country should be driving this message relentlessly: Donald Trump is more focused on helping the rich and picking fights on Twitter than he is with making people’s lives better.”


“Donald Trump is more focused on helping the rich and picking fights on Twitter than he is with making people’s lives better.”

That’s a 22-word-long message. Just the right length. And powerful – because it combines three things people know a lot about: Trump’s tweets, Republican priorities and their own lives.

You can read endless analysis, speculation and vituperation in politics, yet come away with no clear path forward. Messina’s is a ray of insight cutting through the clouds.

It reminded me of something my friend, pollster Harrison Hickman, said when Governor Hunt was considering running again in 1992. At the time, President George H.W. Bush had approval ratings north of 90 percent, after he won the war against Iraq.

Most Democrats were afraid to run in that climate. But Hickman, like Messina here, listened to swing voters in focus groups. The voters’ take on Bush: He did a great job on the war. But the economy is lousy. So he must not care about the economy.

Bush, you might recall, lost.

There are few things more powerful in politics than a simple message based on facts that people already know and believe.

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It was an odd article. About two Donald Trump tweets.

First, NBC reported that after a gunman killed 26 people in Texas, President Trump tweeted: May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Then NBC compared that tweet to another tweet by Trump after the terrorist attack in New York City – when Trump said: In NY, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.

NBC went on to report the ‘shooter’ in Texas was an American while the terrorist in New York was an Uzbek immigrant – but then, pricking Trump, concluded, ‘Still, the differences in tone… are striking.’

President Trump has his vices. But was offering condolences to Texas after tweeting a terrorist in New York was deranged a double standard? What kind of sense does that make?

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During this Thanksgiving season, Democrats give thanks to the Republican Party for the gifts you’re giving us.

Thanks for Trump, the gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks to Trump for tweeting about Al Franken’s sexual-harassment incident – and reminding us that Trump has about 20.

Thanks to Trump for scaring the bejeesus out of swing voters and giving them the quickest case of buyers’ remorse ever.

Thanks to Paul Ryan and House Republicans for “tax reform” that is more tax ripoff. Thanks for telling Americans that tax cuts for your corporate donors will help average folks. (Remember: corporations are people, my friends.)

Thanks to Steve Mnuchin and wife Louise Linton for the great photo! We needed a visual to sum it all up.

Thanks to North Carolina Republicans for trying to take away voters’ right to elect judges. Of course the people want judges picked by politicians in a legislature with 20 percent approval.

Thanks to Steve Bannon. Keep up the good work.

Thanks to Roy Moore. Say no more.

Thank you all, sincerely, for making us feel like Dennis the Menace on Christmas morning.

Keep on giving. Give ‘til it hurts.

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For months professors at UNC battled the Board of Governors to save the law school’s Center for Civil Rights – the fight went on and on with former Dean Gene Nichol and current Dean Martin Brinkley both heaping praise on the Center for its lawsuits.

In the end the Board won – but then an ironic thing happened: It turned out there should never have been a war because it was against state law for the UNC Center to be filing lawsuits. It was an odd last chapter: According to the North Carolina State Bar for over a decade, under the Deans, the law school had been violating the law.

Posted in: General, Issues
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The Facebook ad had a picture of Satan, horned and gargoyled, arm wrestling with Jesus, with Satan saying, If Hillary wins I win! and a caption that said, Today Americans are able to elect a President with godly moral principles… My vote goes for Trump!

Who paid for the ad?

It said the Army of Jesus.

But on Facebook I only found one Army of Jesus, headed by a student at Liberty University who said he hadn’t posted that picture.  

So who did pay for the ad?

A Senate and House Intelligence hearing in Washington provided the answer: The Russians.

In Vietnam, Vladimir Putin told Donald Trump he never, ever “absolutely did not meddle in our election.” A reporter then asked Trump if he believed Putin? It took a while but Trump said flatly, No, he didn’t.

So the Democrats, the Republicans and President Trump all say the Russians meddled – but Putin says Nyet.

There’s a lot of foolishness and bluster in American politics but, if you want to see real evil at work, Russians using Satan to tell Americans how to vote fills the bill.

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President Trump made robo-calls and tweeted to help elect Ed Gillespie but as soon as Gillespie lost Trump made it clear who was to blame by tweeting: “Ed Gillespie… didn’t embrace me or what I stand for.”   

It’s a hard world. And it’s easy to understand why Trump didn’t want to be blamed. But offering a kind word the day after Ed Gillespie lost would have spoken better of Trump.

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We’re not just divided between Blue America and Red America, Democrat and Republican, right and left. We’re divided within our own tribes. And the internal fights can be the angriest, meanest and most bitter of all.

Three factors fuel our political – and social and cultural – fights: population patterns, gerrymandering and how we use social media.

Democrats seem as angry at other Democrats as they are at Republicans. Republicans may be worse.

Republicans are divided over Trump. But anti-Trumpers are either cowed or cast out. Now Republicans are divided over whether a man who preyed on girls as young as 14 should be a United States Senator.

Democrats are just as divided – between left and center, Bernie-ites and Hillary-ites and black and white. Some African-Americans want to take Jim Hunt’s name off the Sanford-Hunt-Frye dinner because he endorsed Nancy McFarlane. (Irony alert: Governor Hunt appointed Henry Frye as the first black Chief Justice.)

All this reflects today’s world. People who are mobile move to be near people who share the same values, beliefs and politics. People who aren’t mobile are stuck in places falling into failure, despair and bitterness.

Then there’s gerrymandering. An unintended consequence of having fewer competitive districts is that everyone’s anger, energy and fighting spirit is channeled into primary contests. You can’t beat the other party, so you beat up on each other.

Then there’s Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to blame them. But is it their fault how we use social media? We use it to jack ourselves and our friends up: “Look at this outrageous thing that (Trump/Hillary/Sessions/Schumer/Ryan/Pelosi/Pick Your Poison did/said today!”

The Onion, as usual, sums up what we do to ourselves online: “Woman Who Had Almost Formed Healthy Sense Of Self Rejoins Social Media.”

Maybe Trump just reflects who we are now.


Posted in: General
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The California NAACP asked legislators to send a resolution to Washington to tell Congress ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ has to go as the national anthem – it was the latest political stunt but that story took off like a rocket and landed in newspapers from coast to coast and the headline in the Raleigh newspaper – “National Anthem is racist, California NAACP says” – didn’t look like jousting at windmills: It looked like banning the National Anthem was a political movement sweeping the nation.

Of course, the headline was pure click-bait – but it does help explain why people worry about fake news.

Posted in: General, Issues
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It’s disappointing that Democrat Ralph Northam was elected Governor of Virginia – it’s worse that he won by five points more than Hillary.

It’s disappointing Democrats in Virginia swept the House of Delegates elections – it’s worse that, since they aren’t very well known, most candidates for state legislature live and die by national trends and, in Virginia, those trends handed Democrats 15 Republican seats.

It’s disappointing Hillary won white women with college degrees by 6 points – it’s worse that Ralph Northam won them by 16 points.  Another fact: Last year in Virginia Hillary lost married women by 1 point – while this year Ralph Northam won them by 10 points.

And the signs were not limited to Virginia: In Georgia, Democrats won three Republican seats in Special Elections for the state legislature. And in Manchester, New Hampshire, the incumbent Republican Mayor lost – the first time Manchester had elected a Democratic Mayor in 14 years.

None of that’s a shock. It’s an old tale. It sometimes takes a while but what goes around comes around. There’s always a day of reckoning waiting down the road. Most Presidents win their election then their party loses the next election two years later. And last Tuesday proved one fact: The wave is real. And the undertow is deadly.   

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Carter & Gary
Carter Wrenn
Gary Pearce
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
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