Offer hope, not fear, and compete

by | May 26, 2016 | Demographic Trends, Editor's Blog, NC Politics | 5 comments

As I’ve been calling around the state talking to people about my campaign, I often get the refrain, “But those districts are gerrymandered. They’re safe Republican.” It’s a story that Democrats and analysts have been telling that’s just not true. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

When the Republican legislature redrew the districts, they made several of them more Democratic, including the Eighth Congressional District. In 2008, Kay Hagan won the district by two points. The Congressional vote in 2012 was 53-47 Republican. By most measures, that should be a swing district. Too many Democrats, though, have convinced themselves that it’s unwinnable.

When I began working in politics in the early 1990’s, any district in North Carolina where African-American voters made up more than 20% of the electorate was considered competitive. The likely vote in the 8th Congressional District is 25% African-American, 2% Hispanic and 1% Lumbee Indian. Sixty-nine percent of the voters are white. To win, a Democrat needs to win about 35% of white voters. If they can’t do that, they have a bigger problem than just district lines.

For years, Democrats have been losing a larger and larger share of white working class voters. A lot of liberals blame the loss on divisive social issues like guns and abortion. I blame it on the Democrats’ inability to offer them any economic incentives. The decline in white working class support in North Carolina mirrors the decline of manufacturing jobs in rural areas.

Working people haven’t had a raise in decades and some of them have lost their entire careers. Democrats need to offer them a program that creates opportunity and rebuilds areas devastated by bad trade deals and fraying infrastructure. I support a higher minimum wage but we also need to ensure we have viable businesses who can pay it.

We need to remove barriers to creating jobs by revisiting and reforming regulatory laws that hamper jobs. We also need to offer incentives for companies moving to or starting up in rural North Carolina. And we need to rebuild the infrastructure to reflect 21st century America, not mid-20th century America.

The state is dotted with once-thriving small towns with boarded up stores waiting for tenants and surrounded once-prosperous neighborhoods looking for residents. We need to give the people who still live there hope. Republican have won them by preying on their fears.

Democrats need to compete vigorously in districts like North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District. If they show that they aren’t giving up on the people who live there, then those folks might come home. But if Democrats don’t compete in districts like the Eighth, then they should settle into their minority status for another decade or so. The state is changing, but, post-recession, it’s not changing that fast.


  1. Ellen Jefferies

    And your plan for accomplishing those great things is what, exactly?

  2. Thomas W Hill

    What’s with the funky T-shirt picture?

  3. Jay Ligon

    Republican Congressman Richard Hudson is running ads in our area seeking reelection to his 8th District seat which he has held since 2013. Surely, people of the 8th District deserve better. The frequency of his ads indicate he has a lot of money, but his message is devoid of meaning. He narrates his own script, which is a mistake as he sounds thick-tongued and comes across as a thick-headed opportunist.

    In one ad, he tells us what a terrific Christian he is and how he shuns “Hollywood values.” A good Christian would know that it is up to God to decide how devout one’s faith is. A good Christian would not want to use his relationship with God to claim the reward of a high-paying job. Regarding Hollywood values, tens of thousands of films have come out of Hollywood since the early 1900s. There is no such thing as a single set of Hollywood values. Anyone who saw Gary Cooper in the Academy Award-winning “Sergeant York” would have hard-pressed to find a more beautiful expression of faith and patriotism. “Saving Private Ryan” is one of the finest films ever made, and it speaks to the true nature of courage and a selfless service. I have been to the beaches in Normandy and have seen graves bearing the names of young Americans who died there. The film is a fitting tribute to those men. America would be better if the values expressed in some of the finer films were more commonplace.

    Other than claiming to be more moral than the rest of us, Congressman Hudson stumbles into national defense. He shouldn’t do that as infuriates us with a muddle of stupidity and dishonesty. He claims that Obama has closed Guantanamo and sent the terrorists back to the battlefield. Wow. As a Congressman he should have better intelligence than the rest of us. Rep. Hudson is apparently ignorant of the facts. His Republican majority have refused to close Guantanamo, and if he had been present in Washington, he would have been able to join his colleagues who voted down efforts to close the prison in Cuba. That ad speaks volumes about how unqualified Mr. Hudson is to serve the people of the 8th District. His discussion of terrorism is completely at odds with the intelligence.

    Finally, Hudson is running against President Obama. Newsflash for Richard Hudson: If he is reelected, he will take office in January, 2017. At that time, no matter who wins the presidential election, it will not be Obama. Running against someone who isn’t going to be in office demonstrates Hudson’s unfitness and his lack of a cohesive plan for the future.

    It may be true that it is impossible to remove an unfit, ignorant dolt from office, but we need to try. Richard Hudson embarrasses himself and his district every time his thick lips move.

    • Vonna Viglione

      Too right…my thoughts align with yours…I’d love to know the back story on his funding and who thinks he’s worth such a big investment

      • Jay Ligon

        I looked on Hudson is not a rich man. He has some IRA savings in mutual funds and a couple of credit cards. His congressional job since 2012 is the highest paying work he has ever had. His wife works for an conservative activist group, but they did not report much of a salary for her. His campaign money comes from mostly in-state sources and comes from a wide range of industries. The insurance industry has been his number one donor, but he was received lots of $10,000 to $15,000 donations from a lot of different business sectors. He got a small amount from Koch Industries, but he doesn’t appear to getting the kind of Koch money that George Holding is getting. But his advertising spending appears to be equal to Holding in the 4th District. Both are flooding prime time with nasty ads. He has raised about $1,500,000 so far and spent almost all of it. He seems to have a lot more money on television than he has reported.

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!