North Carolina Needs Our Help

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We want to make a different kind of case for our two progressive congressional candidates in North Carolina, Jenny Marshall-- who's opposing Virginia Foxx-- and Matt Coffay-- who's up against Freedom Caucus headman Mark Meadows. Normally we'd tell you about how extreme Foxx and Meadows are (and they sure are-- two of the very worst) and how awesome Jenny and Matt are (also a very accurate assessment). But today we want to make a special plea for the great state of North Carolina.

Our sisters and brothers in North Carolina are in deep trouble. As Michael Wines explained in the NY Times last week, the GOP has thrown away the rule book and is undermining democracy more overtly than any state in America ever has. The Supreme Court has ruled twice last month that the state's election laws are overtly racist and unconstitutional. The state's Republican leaders don't care what the Supreme Court says and "since November, when Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, reclaimed the governor’s office from the incumbent Republican, Pat McCrory, Republicans have redoubled their efforts to keep the levers of state government and state courts in their control."

The state Republican Party is not concerned with the rule of law-- other than their own perverted and unconstitutional laws. “What we’re seeing in North Carolina is an effort at political entrenchment that is unparalleled,” said Allison Riggs, a senior staff lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham advocacy group that sued Republican leaders over the election law. “It requires a complete disregard for the will of the voters and political participation, and a disregard for the independence of the judiciary.”

A special session in December stripped the governor of most power to appoint state employees and university trustees, choose a cabinet without legislative approval and install majorities on state and local election boards. The latter move was stayed, pending a trial.

Now the legislators are taking aim at the state judicial system. In December, after voters elected a Democratic majority to the nominally nonpartisan State Supreme Court, the legislature expanded the jurisdiction of the Republican-led Court of Appeals and made the legal path toward other Supreme Court hearings more tortuous. Last month, Republicans voted to shrink the Court of Appeals by barring replacement of the next three retiring judges, denying Mr. Cooper a chance to nominate successors.

Foxx's and Meadows' districts are very gerrymandered and pretty red, respectively with PVIs of R+11 and R+13. Trump took 57.4% in Foxx's district and 63.2% in Meadows' district. But that had more to do with Hillary than with Republicanism. Bernie beat Hillary in Meadows' district and in every part of Foxx's district except Winston-Salem. These areas are looking for an authentic solution to the problems of working families.

Matt Coffay told us that "Last December, the Electoral Integrity Project-- which has monitored and scored elections in 153 countries-- ranked North Carolina's election integrity score at 58 out of 100. This places us alongside Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. But when it comes to our voting districts, we received a 7/100 score. As the Charlotte News & Observer reported, 'North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.' The worst in the world. That's where North Carolina stands."

I have hope that the cases currently before the Supreme court-- from both Wisconsin and North Carolina-- alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering will be decided in such a way as to force a fair redrawing of our state's districts. But we have to keep talking about this issue, and keep fighting. When I'm elected to Congress, I intend to be a vocal critic of gerrymandering. Just like our broken campaign finance system, it dramatically endangers our democracy."

 

North Carolina Democrats have been fighting back and organizing, but they cannot do it alone. The political temperature there is on fire-- the people are hungry for the change Jenny and Matt's representation can bring. If possible, please consider making a donation to their campaigns today.



Disenfranchising Indianan Nuns Gives Oklahoma GOP Ideas

Isn't that just like the GOP? Others hear about not letting 80 and 90 year old nuns vote and they shake their heads and say, "that's awful." But the GOP--in this case the Oklahoma State Senate GOP majority--see it as opportunity.

Down With Tyranny:

All through history, the political left has agitated to expand the franchise. The left worked and fought yo abolish the rules that only allowed white Christian male property holders the right to vote. The political right fought to prevent poor people from voting, to prevent Jews, Blacks, women, young people... And a few weeks ago the rightist Supreme Court gave the thumbs up to a Republican scheme to limit voting in Indiana. We saw the first results of that ruling today.

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.[..]

Tonight I got a notice from Andrew Rice alerting me that the Oklahoma Senate had prevented the Republicans from doing the same thing in his state. All of the GOP senators voted to restrict voting rights and all the Democrats voted to prevent them from shrinking the franchise.

The vote was 24-23 for the bill, but it takes 25 votes to pass a bill in the 48-member Senate. All 24 Republicans supported the plan, while 23 Democrats voted against it.

Democrats said the proposal was meant to help Republicans and would deter the elderly and other citizens from voting because they may not have identification readily available.

Ford said the bill is needed to guard against voter fraud.

Voter fraud is something the GOP gets hysterical about, like welfare fraud. And like welfare fraud the GOP turns reality on its head. They will wreck hundreds of thousands of families' lives because a few dozens people or even a few hundred people may have committed fraud to the tune of some thousands of dollars-- while corporate welfare goes out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. I can't say that there has never been any voter fraud. But I can say the kind of voter fraud the Republicans talk about it nearly nonexistent or, at worst, extremely rare. Republican voter fraud, electronic voter fraud, voter suppression... now we're talking about hundreds of thousands of voters. Read on...

Andrew Rice is one of Blue America candidates. If you'd like him to help us breakthrough the GOP juggernaut and deliver more and better Democrats, you can donate to his campaign here.




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