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There’re a lot of reasons for blindness: Fear, Innocence and hard whiskey are three. For former UNC Law School Dean Gene Nichol, when he sat down to read exit polls in the Washington Post, I suspect the problem may have been Ideology. He’s Politically Correct – for example, when he was President of William and Mary he removed the cross from the altar in the college chapel.

Last week, after reading the polls, he described how he sees the political landscape in the News and Observer.

The Democrats? The Democratic Party, he noted, is “extraordinarily tepid.” Democrats take their base – “minorities, the young, the poor, immigrants, the LGBT community” – for granted and “act as if they have no idea who elected them.” The heroes are Progressives. Not Democrats.

And Republicans? They’re members of “a calcified white people’s party” whose candidate in Virginia ran for Governor clinging to the vestiges of Nathan Bedford Forest. They’re a coalition of the “old, white, male, evangelical, Confederate and non-college educated” and those demographics spell hard times ahead for Republicans. Their future “is not promising.”

But stop a moment and remember history: Those demographics the former Dean is describing aren’t carved in stone. Crises – like the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam and 9-11 – change people. Growing older changes people. Marriage changes people. A sixty-five-year-old man with grandchildren is not the same man he was when he was 25.

Sitting in a straight-jacket of Political Correctness, staring at polls, former Dean Nichol missed a simple fact: People change.

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The day after Thanksgiving President Trump tweeted “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year’ like last year…I said probably is no good and took a pass.”

An official at Time tweeted back there wasn’t a ‘speck of truth’ in Trump’s tweet.

And the internet exploded.

And another odd fact surfaced: The Washington Post had published a story, last June, about a photograph hanging on the wall at Mar-a-largo and four other Trump Country Clubs. That photograph showed Trump on the cover of Time magazine on March 1, 2009 – but there was a problem: There was no edition of Time Magazine on March 1. The photograph was a fraud. And Trump didn’t deny it or tweet it was ‘fake news.’

Turning off the computer, I sat back. In an old movie by Frank Capra, two elderly sisters from a hamlet in Vermont, testifying at a trial, told the judge that Gary Cooper was ‘pixelated.’ The judge was about to drop the gavel and send Cooper to the looney-bin when Cooper asked the sisters, Who else is pixelated? And they said, Why everyone, but us.

There’s also a simple way to solve this mystery too: All President Trump needs to do is tweet who, at Time magazine, called him. Or he could produce the phone record. Then we’d know who’s pixelated – Donald Trump or Time magazine.

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My last blog quoted Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, on Trump’s tweets. There’s another point in Messina’s article that deserves attention:

“…(A) debate has developed within some of the Democratic Party about whether we should focus on the white working-class voters or what pollsters call the ‘rising American electorate,’ which is usually defined as Millennials plus people of color and unmarried women. And while I hope the recent election—in which Democrats rode a cresting tsunami of enthusiasm and engagement into office from coast to coast—will quell this debate, I want to reiterate that Democrats don’t need to adopt an either/or strategy, treating support from each group as though it’s mutually exclusive. Barack Obama won two presidential elections because he focused on both, and going forward, Democrats would be wise to remember the lesson of his example.”

I want to agree with Messina. After all, Jim Hunt won four races for Governor by going after a broad spectrum of voters. In North Carolina, it’s hard to see how Democrats become a majority party if they write off big chunks of voters. And, yes, Obama did focus on both groups in both his winning campaigns.

And yet…

Is it possible that the very fact that Obama was President – or, more to the point, the first black President – erected an impenetrable wall (pardon the word) between Democrats and vast swathes of white voters?

Is it possible that what moves white working-class voters isn’t “economic anxiety” or “anger at the system,” but pure and simple, black and white: race?

Here’s a long article that will give you food for thought as you digest your Thanksgiving feast this week, “The Nationalist’s Delusion” by Adam Serwer in The Atlantic. He examines whether racism was the driving force behind Trump’s appeal – and concludes:

“These supporters will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted: a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Chew on that.

Posted in: National Democrats
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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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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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