Mark Robinson is officially a candidate for governor. He’s the least experienced lieutenant governor in modern history. He has no political record or accomplishments. He’s the first social media phenomenon to win statewide office in North Carolina, maybe the nation. Until his election to lieutenant governor, his entire political career consisted of a viral video of him ranting about guns in front of the Greensboro city council.
Robinson’s main talent is garnering attention for making divisive statements. He’s legendary for virulent homophobia, calling gays “filth.” He’s made antisemitic comments and refused to apologize or even walk them back. I guess that puts him squarely in the GOP mainstream today.
Even if he’s not apologizing, Robinson’s handlers are trying desperately to tone him down and refocus his energy. He’s clearly a talented communicator and they want him to look more like a center-right populist focused on economic issues than the social issues that have gotten him where he is today.
His announcement video includes a lot about his background growing up in a struggling family, losing jobs to bad trade policies, and working to rebuild his life after layoffs and business failures. He could be running as a Democrat circa 2006 or so. He never uses any divisive rhetoric. Instead, he claims he doesn’t care about race or sexual orientation.
The ad also features him giving a speech that he has never given. He sounds unifying and stock footage of people nodding their heads indicates that he saying what people are thinking. It’s good stage craft, but it’s all canned.
I doubt Robinson can keep up the charade. He’s a guy more interested in applause than policy. He enjoys firing up the outrage machine by demeaning and insulting his perceived enemies in the culture wars. And he loves the cheers he gets when he does it. I don’t believe he’s disciplined enough to keep the real Mark Robinson at bay for the next 18 months.
The GOP political establishment is already fawning over him. Brent Woodcox, a Republican policy advisor and counsel to legislative leaders, called it the “one of the best introductory political ads” in North Carolina history. (If only I had a dollar for every time somebody on Twitter declared something the best political ad they’ve ever seen.) Woodcox opposed Amendment One and has urged the GOP to be more inclusive, but he’ll back the most divisive, homophobic, and openly antisemitic political candidates in modern history because lower taxes and less regulation matter more than justice and equality. I’m sure he’s not alone. Values are one thing, but money is what really matters to Republicans.
As I said, Robinson is clearly a talented communicator, but his rollout also highlights his problems. Republican politicians generally run toward the right during the primary and then run to get back to the middle in the general election. Robinson is already trying to get to the middle. He’s got to allay fears of the GOP establishment that he’s too far right for a state that has historically elected moderates governor and Mark Robinson is no moderate.
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 >
Ringlet86 sums it up pretty well! I’ll leave it at that.
Robinson is also the first psychopath elected lieutenant governor, one of many in today’s Republican party.
Republicans are proven liars, based on the recent evidence developed from the Dominion v. Fox News case. Republicans are continuing their program to twist history, lie and mislead the voting public as to the objectives of the Democratic Party. This is not the way to win an election. Moreover, appears to be proven to be the case by the results of the elections over the past five years.
We are not Communists, Marxists or corrupt. Attacking Biden because of his age is reasonable, but to go after him based on the actions of his troubled son, is cheap. I am sure every family has somebody who has done something that is a source of embarrassment. We still stand behind that family member, hoping for a better outcome. Race is not an issue with respect to Robinson. Experience is the issue. North Carolina is on the precipice of growth. We will see companies seeking to build battery and chip manufacturing facilities. This is no time to create an environment of racism, hate and ignorance. Republicans have a history of writing laws that conflict with this. I reference HB2, and a few others. Forcing the state to stick their nose into women’s health issues, causes major companies to think twice. The bottom line for the Democratic Party is to create an environment where folks who want to work can find well paying jobs with benefits. Senior citizens can live a life of security and self-respect. These are reasonable objectives. Attacking police officers protecting the nation’s capital, or intimidating individuals and their families who are trying to do their job is childish. Moreover, undermines the foundations of our Democracy.
Well said. Thank you.
“Surprise” is not the word which best describes Republican accusations of racism when Robinsons qualifications for office are brought into question. Hypocrisy seems appropriate. When Obama ran for president, Republicans did not attack his qualifications or background, they used the Lee Atwater approach, which calls for innuendo to appeal to the racists side of white voters. Imply he is unqualified to hold office because he is black. This is not the approach Democrats are taking. We address Robinson’s lack of experience as an executive running a state. Robinson, unlike his opponent, has never run a dept. within state government. Running a private business is not the same. Robinsons governmental experience consists of being the Lt. Governor, a bench warmer. He has never played.
I think the Republicans are only using the very tools Democrats do, ( Racial invective) Just as an exercise, count how many times you will see the word racist used with Republicans. You’ll find it gets worked in all the time. In fact the word has mostly lost all meaning at this point Most people just roll their eyes at it (Like. ok Boomer….) Most who toss it out don’t know what it means, if they ever did.
What is the difference between Prejudice. Bigotry, and Racism? Most people think its three words all mean the same thing.
Regardless, history shows clearly that Democrats really are the racists. Just go to the history museum in Raleigh Its all there to see what the Democrats have done. Robinson has no experience? Well he would if the racist Democrats would have let him! (See its easy to counter)
Democrats are going to prove it with Robinson. As long as blacks can be used but have no real power its ok, but in a position where they REALLY can do something. Democrats will not vote for a black no matter what. No way.
Character Assassination here we come! its going to be a great look, all those white Democrats lambasting a Black church going Man with made up stuff! Good luck! I’ll not participate in that.
They also hate him because they are Godless heathens. (secular its called these days but its the same thing.) If there is not something the hedonistic, secular, atheistic, Democrat hates MORE than the blacks. Its someone who believes in ANYTHING other the state or humans are supreme. Many are “church going” but Godless just the same.
Those guys are worse than Vegans, Crossfitters and reformed smokers! They just can’t help themselves.
It will be entertaining, at least. I don’t expect Robinson will win.
All those racist Democrats became Republicans in the1960’s over civil rights.
Still trying to cope with the democrats racist past. No one believes that. It would be better if the Democrat party accepted its past fully and apologized and did a mea culpa. We all know they will never do that. When has a democrat ever accepted that they were wrong?
But hey you do you
Jesse Helms, Strom Thurman, Trent Lott
We’ll see just how racist the Democrats are. After all they fought tooth and nail to keep their Jim crow law. A black man in the big seat? Lawdy No!
Since the city of Durham is the font of all the “3am suddenly found in a person’s car trunk at the last minute votes” that normally put the Democrat over the top (Like Cooper’s first term) this election will be very interesting. Will the Blacks in Durham vote their race? Will they really want to be responsible, after all its hard to blame white supremacy when you are supreme!
One thing that can be assured of is Democrats will absolutely be UNHINGED while Robinson runs, and if he wins The insanity will get turned up to 11. All the stupid stuff during McCory. Wow! I’ll get the popcorn. Emotionally stable and able to adapt to adversity is not a strength I would attribute to modern day Democrats.
Democrats need the blacks ON THE PLANTATION NOT RUNNING IT!
Going to be interesting.