This weekend, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham started urging his fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump. This from a guy who once called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.” Graham is just the latest member of the GOP to fall in line after months of saying Trump was absolutely unacceptable.

In North Carolina, we’ve seen the pattern repeatedly. Democrats used to warn voters that electing Republicans would lead to cuts to public education and our university system. Republicans would cry foul, calling the accusations baseless scare tactics. Now that the GOP has taken control of state government and cut funding to public schools and universities, those same Republicans are on board with those policies.

As House Bill 2 rips the state apart, causing companies to back out of plans to expand and costing North Carolina needed jobs, nobody in the party that calls itself pro-business is willing to speak up. Maybe they’re cowed by their bullying leaders. Maybe they believe it’s more important to maintain control than adhere to principles. Regardless, it’s bad for business.

The party that once preached small government routinely uses the heavy hand of big government to squash local initiatives and usurp local power. Most recently, HB2 is getting attention for nullifying a local ordinance, but that’s just the latest in a long line of authoritarian moves. They’ve repeatedly redrawn county and municipal districts to make them more Republican. They’ve interfered in control of water systems and airports. They’ve even introduced a bill to take away private property rights in an effort to kill off the solar energy industry.

While Republicans insist that competition makes everything better, they’ve reduced competition in campaigns–the one place that the Founding Fathers actually believed it to be necessary.  They’ve used extreme gerrymandering to tighten their grip on power and reduce dissent. They only support that free market thing when the system is rigged in their favor.

Donald Trump is actually a very good representative of what the party is becoming. He’s a guy with no principles who will say anything to win an election and hold power. The North Carolina Republican Party has already evolved into the Trump Party. They are no longer the conservative party and they’ve shed any pretense of the moderation that defined their North Carolina leaders in the 1980s and 1990s. They’re now the authoritarian party. The rest of the country is apparently following suit.

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