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A Democratic warrior read that Governor Cooper’s job-approval rating is 61 percent. And the Republican legislature’s reelect rating is only 30 percent.

So, he asked, “Why isn’t Cooper whacking the Republicans harder every day?”

First, it’s not his style. He’s not one to bang his shoe on the lectern.

And Cooper is playing a long game. He’s looking to the next legislative election, whether it’s this fall, next spring or November 2018. His goal: Elect enough Democrats to sustain his vetoes. Maybe even take back one or both houses of the legislature if Trump takes down the GOP.

A Cooper insider says he’s building trust with voters. He’s seen as more genuine and substantive than most politicians: “Voters trust him.”

Cooper will contrast his priorities, education and jobs, with the Republicans’ priority: their political power.

Republicans are good at the inside political game. But Cooper is better at the outside game: going to the voters.

Exhibit A: His call on the legislature to redraw districts now and hold new elections this fall. He knew the Republicans would refuse to fix what the U.S. Supreme Court says is unconstitutional gerrymandering.

They quickly proved Cooper’s point: They care more about politics and power than people.

Democrats may want more thunder and lightning. But Cooper’s bet is that you don’t need thunder and lightning to make it rain.

 

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