The most disturbing thing about Republican control of the legislature is not their conservative agenda, but their authoritarian one. Just as the AP is releasing another study showing that gerrymandering in North Carolina rigged the system for Republicans, the GOP is redrawing judicial and prosecutorial districts to reduce the number of Democrats in those positions. Their actions are radical, not conservative.
The conservative movement of Bill Buckley believed in small government, local control and respect for existing institutions. They wanted less taxes and less regulation. They believed that competition made institutions more efficient and effective. The radicals controlling the North Carolina legislature have consistently shown disdain for democracy and local control while undermining the institution that have made our government work.
Beyond gerrymandering, they’ve tried to restrict access to the ballot box for anyone who disagrees with them. They clearly targeted African-Americans with their voter suppression laws and local boards of elections moved voting sites to make them less convenient for young people and African-Americans. And in this Orwellian political climate, Republicans cheer as Donald Trump bashes Democrats who are largely out of power for trying to rig the system.
This latest move to rig the court system seems particularly ominous. Prosecutors and judges are supposed to be unbiased and, ostensibly, less partisan. Increasing partisanship in these offices seems to be a move to reduce accountability for Republicans while strengthening the hand of businesses in civil cases.
The modern Republican Party is now the Trump Party. They’ve abandoned conservative principles for authoritarian ones. They bash the press and the institutions that protect our democracy while rigging the political system to reduce the competition that they claim makes everything else work better. They’re trying to ensure a permanent majority even if they run afoul of the public. It’s a dangerous path made more disturbing because of the rationalizations of traditional conservatives who refuse to speak out.