There’s a kind of coup going on in North Carolina, one that tells us a lot about just how far Republicans are willing to go to hold on to power and undercut Democrats.Check out Waldman’s report for the details of what the Republicans did - and got signed by the outgoing Republican governor. Cooper threatens to sue.
Here’s what’s happening: After a close election, Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory to win the governorship. So the Republican state legislature decided to call an “emergency” session before Cooper takes office and strip the governor of as many powers as it could.
To put this in context, perhaps nowhere in the country have Republicans moved more aggressively to solidify power by disenfranchising their opponents as they have in North Carolina. Immediately after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Republicans enacted a voter suppression law that “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision,” in the words of the appeals court that later struck it down. The district lines already give the Republicans an enormous advantage: In 2016, Republicans outpolled Democrats in North Carolina congressional races by a margin of only 53–47, yet they held 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats.So 53% entitles the NC Republicans to 77% of the congressional seats.
And they’re barely bothering to pretend that if a Republican governor is elected in four years they won’t just reverse most or all of these changes.AZBlueMeanie (Blog for Arizona) summarizes:
This isn’t just hardball politics. This is a fundamentally anti-democratic approach to government, one that says that when we win, we get to implement our agenda, and when you win, you don’t.
… there’s a shamelessness to the way Republicans change rules, trample over long-established norms, and generally act as though any result except one in which they win is inherently illegitimate. And that’s the fundamental principle that guides them. As far as they’re concerned, Democratic votes are not real votes and therefore can and should be suppressed; elections in which Democrats win can only have been stolen; and elected Democrats are usurpers against whom no tactic of subversion is out of bounds.
Ask yourself: What would be happening right now if Donald Trump had won more than three million more votes than Hillary Clinton, but Clinton prevailed in the Electoral College? Would he, his supporters, and prominent Republicans have said, “We don’t like the outcome, but that’s how the system works”? Of course not. They’d be screaming bloody murder, they’d be preparing articles of impeachment to file on the day Clinton was inaugurated, they’d be charging that the vote was stolen, they’d be filing lawsuits to overturn (not just recount) the results in every swing state, and Trump would be telling his supporters to use any means necessary to achieve justice. You think we’re divided now? If the situation was reversed we’d be on our way to civil war.
In the next few years, Democrats are going to be up against versions of the North Carolina model in every state where Republicans have power and at the national level as well: efforts not just to implement Republican policy goals but to change the rules to make it as difficult as possible for Democrats to win. It has already been happening for a while, and it’s only going to accelerate.
Sinclair Lewis warned of such tyranny in his semi-satirical novel It Can’t Happen Here in 1935. It not only can happen here, it already is happening, coming silently, slowly, like fog creeping in “on little cat feet” to a GOP-controlled legislature near you.Those 270 electoral votes were the last Republican firewall against the creep of Authoritarianism, American style. It was foolhardy to believe that any amount of protests would change these guys’ mind about accepting a dictator as our president. Now Dems need to fight back, Republican style. More on that is on the way in another post.