Republicans in the legislature just can’t help themselves. They overreach at almost every opportunity and eventually pay a price. They’ve done it with voting bills, redistricting, House Bill 2 and now in the special session as they try to amass power at the expense of both Roy Cooper and the people of the state.
They could have instituted a broad voter ID bill that would both protect people’s right to vote and add scrutiny to voters, even if it’s not needed. Instead, they passed a sweeping bill clearly designed disenfranchise people who disagree with them and the whole bill got tossed by the courts.
They could have easily drawn redistricting maps that would have given them healthy majorities in the legislature and Congress while including a few more competitive districts. Instead, they drew some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country. Consequently, our elections have been in turmoil for most of the decade because of the GOP’s unconstitutional actions.
With House Bill 2, they should have let Charlotte handle its own affairs since the GOP at one time was the party of limited government. Once they called the special session, though, they loaded up the bill with clearly discriminatory measures that affected every county and city in the state. They clearly wanted to let the LGBT community to know who is in control and strip power from local governments. As a result, they’ve irreparably damaged the state’s reputation and cost us hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
With the current special session, the GOP legislature is trying to restrict Cooper’s ability to govern while grabbing as much power as possible. When Pat McCrory came into office, they gave him 1,500 additional political positions. Now, they’ve stripped them from Cooper and left him with only 300 appointees. That may make governing a bit difficult but imposing that penalty for being of the opposing party would be normal. The GOP couldn’t stop there, though. They had to overreach–restructuring our election system, changing the court system, moving entire departments out of the executive branch, taking away Cooper’s power of appointment to boards and commissions, and more. Their brazen attempt to restructure state government in a three-day special session has again grabbed the attention of the whole nation.
Republicans in North Carolina have lost their way. At one time, they were the party of limited government. Now, they’re the party of authoritarian government. They’ve repeatedly tried to limit the rights of minorities. They’ve attempted to maintain power by skewing the election process in their favor. Now, they’re attacking the very institutions that make our government work. They have little respect for the traditions and norms that have established stability and ensured the peaceful transfer of power. Instead, they change the rules haphazardly and sporadically to fit their needs. That’s no way to govern. Eventually, we’ll all pay a heavy price.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >