Pat McCrory is holding a press conference in Charlotte at 2 PM. My guess is that he’s going to announce he’s suspending the Syrian refugee program in North Carolina. If he does, then he’ll join four other governors in four other states – Bentley in Alabama, Snyder in Michigan, Jindal in Louisiana, and Hutchinson in Arkansas. And who knows, he might get beat to the punch for being Governor #5.
If McCrory does announce the suspension of the program, it could be a good move politically for him. It would also possibly draw a sharp contrast between him and Attorney General Roy Cooper, who covets McCrory’s position. Accepting Syrian refugees has never been overwhelmingly popular with Americans and in the wake of the Paris attacks, support has probably plummeted. Simply put, most people sympathize with the plight of those fleeing the mess in the Middle East but their sympathies do not outweigh the reasonable concern that we might be letting in some dangerous people who wish to harm us.
Now, if McCrory isn’t going to address the refugee crisis in his press conference, that’s another story entirely. But I can’t imagine that he doesn’t join the parade of governors soon. If he doesn’t, the pressure to do so from the base will be immense. It’d be easier for him to get away with expanding Medicaid than doing nothing on the refugees.
Notably, none of the other governors who have made statements refusing refugees are imperiled politically. McCrory is. Strategically, it’s a golden opportunity for him to reestablish his relationship with the conservative base while also staking out a position that is almost assuredly a winning won with mainstream North Carolina voters. For that reason, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t take it.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: email@example.com.