The News & Observer this week wrote an editorial calling on Democrats to disavow Republican Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin for filing to run after switching parties. The N&O editorial says it gives Democrats the chance to “stand behind the principles they trumpet.” How quaint.
The editorial reminds me of the old saying, “Never carry a knife to a gun fight.” While the opinion piece admits that Republicans in North Carolina provide “a model for how not to govern,” they also call Anglin’s candidacy wrong. What they don’t tell us, or maybe they didn’t know, was that Republicans spent the month prior to filing actively recruiting Democrats to run against Democratic Supreme Court Candidate Anita Earls as well as candidates for Court of Appeals. I know. I got calls from the candidates they were recruiting and Republican operatives who wanted me to help them.
Here’s my take. If Democrats hadn’t been recruiting candidates to run as Republicans, they would have been negligent. The GOP has tried to rig that Supreme Court race to their advantage since day one. They added partisan labels because they believed that would benefit Republican candidates. They eliminated primaries because they feared that in the age of Trump their base would nominate an unelectable candidate. Now, they want to change the rules again to remove Anglin’s registration from the ballot.
If Democrats recruited Anglin, then they only succeeded where Republicans failed. Had the GOP succeeded in their effort to recruit candidates to split the Democratic vote, then Democrats would have looked foolish for not having done the same thing. They have no reason to apologize. This is the rough-and-tumble world of North Carolina politics and the GOP calling foul is laughable.
I don’t know what Anglin really believes or why he decided to run. Maybe he believes that the system is too out of whack and that he could provide balance. Maybe he really believes that he can offer a choice for a more independent judiciary. It really doesn’t matter, though. He followed the rules set up by the General Assembly and has every right to run. And, sure, Democrats should disavow him, in the same way they disavow Barbara Jackson, at the ballot box.