Every North Carolinian should read this article in US News and World Report. Our chance at landing the state’s greatest economic opportunity in decades is darkening. Apple doesn’t want to operate in a bigoted state, yet the NCGA seems bent on rebranding us all in their own regressive image.
We’ve seen this story repeatedly since Republicans took control of state government. Due to incompetence or other failures, this legislature has cost us high-profile economic investments. Mercedes and Paypall both nixed the state, and now our anticipated victory in the race for Apple may be slipping away. Revanchist legislators like Sen. Ralph Hise quite literally don’t care. As they see it, urban prosperity is an injustice against their constituents. But rural areas will suffer if our economic engines lose steam.
Apple’s specifically concerned about the constitutional amendments, and voter ID in particular. Voter suppression has become a symbol of what many call the “New Jim Crow.” Executives like Tim Cook don’t want to be seen as rewarding bigotry. But the legislature would have us enshrine repression into our government’s bedrock architecture. That could turn Apple away from North Carolina, especially if the company comes under pressure to boycott us.
Losing out on 10,000 Apple jobs would be devastating to our state. The symbolism of that failure would also do tremendous damage. Two years ago, observers across the world watched as Republicans sacrificed our economy for a transphobic bathroom law. If constitutional amendments cost us another investment, the lesson will be clear: North Carolina is only fit for the most cynical, low-road companies. “Nix all six” was already a vital political task. Now it’s an economic imperative.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.