Back in the 1990s, Republicans in North Carolina had the bad habit of nominating candidates who were so far out of the mainstream that they couldn’t win general elections. Contrary to what their base wants to believe, North Carolina is a moderate state. In the 9thCongressional District, they’ve made the same mistake again.
Republican nominee Mark Harris clearly believes that women should be subservient to men. He’s said it repeatedly in his sermons and those sermons keep coming up in the news. Yesterday, Roll Call, a Washington, DC-based political news site, reported from a 2013 sermon in which Harris told his congregation, “Many marriages could save beaucoups of marriage counseling money if they would just understand; husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” In a November 2014 sermon, Harris preached, “Well, what’s the message to the wives? Well, God instructs all Christian wives to submit to their husbands.”
In other words, women, just do what your husband tells you to do and quit complaining. That’s a great message in the middle of the #MeToo movement.
Evangelicals have defended Harris saying that his views aren’t too far outside of the norm. One professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “If you’re in the Bible serious inerrancy of evangelicalism, that’s totally normal commentary.” That may be true, but it’s not the normal commentary for most Americans today. It’s another example of how out-of-step the evangelical movement has become.
More than half the voters in NC-09 live in suburban Charlotte. That message is not going to play too well with them. A Civitas poll has already shown Harris at a seven-point deficit to Democratic opponent Dan McCready.
We will likely hear a lot more about Harris’ views in the next three months. It’s only August and we’re already getting the picture of a candidate far outside of the mainstream and the most damaging opposition research is probably still coming. We’ll hear about that after Labor Day.
After last night, Republicans understand that they are in big trouble. They barely won an Ohio Congressional special that they should have won by at least 10 points. They now have a whole mess of incumbents to protect. They’re probably not going to put much energy, or money, behind saving candidate with research full of self-inflicted wounds.