Senator Berger’s new tax plan leaves little doubt about his vision of North Carolina. Mountains of empirical evidence to the contrary, he won’t let go of his admiration for the South Carolina-Mississippi model. Whether this is the result of ideological passion or sheer denial, he’s dead set in his determination to develop a moon light and loblollies policy. In fact, not only Berger but the whole Republican legislature seem to be living in an airtight bubble of Deep South envy.
Republicans operate on the assumption that the entire state shares their worldview. Even though Triangle residents support serious gun control by a 23-point margin, the GOP just voted to allow murder weapons on greenways in a city with more park space per square mile than anywhere else in the country. It’s not a coincidence, then, that Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham voters already support Democrats on the generic legislative ballot by fairly robust margins. Of interest to the likely U.S. Senate candidate, Berger himself is deeply unpopular in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington.
This is a major misplay by Republicans. Since Richard Burr, they employed a shrewd strategy of nominating sober conservatives. But their recent ideological gluttony has slid them back to the days of unvarnished wing-nuts. Thom Tillis, an urbanite himself, understands the dangers of this approach. The question is whether the others see the problem. I’m not counting on it.