War on democracy

By Steve Woodward

From both ends of the political spectrum a narrative is spinning in response to North Carolina’s embattled U.S Congressional districts. The essence is that the time has come for state Republicans to yield any presumption of controlling how districts are drawn despite their majority status in the statehouse and the U.S. House of Representatives.

This new “logic” dictates that Republicans must yield because the world has changed. Gerrymandering simply has become too precise, too data driven and, thus, overtly racist and unfair. Just ask former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, the ringleader of a national campaign to weaken Republican control of gubernatorial, state legislative and state court seats. Holder’s organization filed the lawsuit that just a few days ago received a favorable ruling from a three-judge NC superior court panel (two members are Democrats, of course): re-draw your U.S. Congressional maps immediately, or else. Republicans hold 10 of the 13 North Carolina seats in Congress. Not acceptable, say the Holderites. The wrong voters voted to impose an unfair imbalance.

E Holder
Obama AG Eric Holder

Now what? Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8) whose district includes Moore County very likely will be assigned to another district, or Moore will end up in another district. A member of Hudson’s staff acknowledges Republicans are powerless to stop what’s coming. The spokesman said the redrawing easily could result in 10-3 flipping to 6-7, the worst case scenario. This upheaval also handicaps fundraising by candidates like Hudson because he’ll find himself an unknown among new constituents.

Democrats claim they want to kill gerrymandering once and for all by taking map drawing out of the hands of politicians from parties in power, the American way for decades and a fact of life in our state during 140 years of Democrat control of the General Assembly until 2011. Confident in the public’s short memory span, Holder told The New York Times North Carolinians were “forced to vote on manipulated electoral maps … drawn to create a partisan outcome.”

Once a “fair” system of map drawing by independent bodies is in place, Democrats want us to believe they’ll never again try to leverage gerrymandering should they seize power in North Carolina, or elsewhere. (If you buy that, look at what happened in Virginia on Election Day 2019 as a result of new independent¬†maps approved last February¬†shifting Republicans into six Democrat dominated districts).

The Pilot‘s editorial board in November 6 editions declares “it’s time finally to bring meaningful reform to the redistricting process.” In fact, there is a bill pending (HB 140), known as the FAIR Act, proposing a constitutional amendment placed on a future ballot that would afford voters the opportunity to make a choice. The left claims passage would lead to “transparent” map drawing by independent panels. But who will form the panels, and what will stop well funded organizations like Holder’s from packing them with radicals? Nothing.

From the right comes another call for a serious look at the FAIR Act, and from none other than John Hood, author, television commentator and chairman of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank. Hood’s November 6 column in The Pilot declares “the handwriting is on the wall”, pointing to how the court-ordered redrawing of General Assembly maps played out in October. “North Carolina now has fairer legislative districts because a court ordered the General Assembly to open up the process and stick to neutral criteria,” Hood writes.

Hood, who should know better, inexplicably gives “court ordered” maps a presumption of purity. Since when are courts devoid of activist Democrat judges? Since when are lawsuits by well funded far Left entities acting in the best interest of all voters rather than Democrat voters and candidates?

The former Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has a ready answer. Since never. Now chair of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, Walker says Democrats have toiled for a decade using power grabs disguised as well intentioned state lawsuits.

“They pick a state, they sue until it’s blue,” Walker told National Public Radio’s Miles Parks. “Sooner or later their goal is to make those states blue and add as many House seats as they can, to keep Democrats in power for the next decade or more.”

The forthcoming 2020 Census data will bring a new round of redistricting opportunities across the country in 2021. This scenario comes around once every decade. North Carolinians very well might end up living with a FAIR Act and its unaccountable map drawing panels, but numerous states where Democrats are in control will go right back to gerrymandering traditions that are abusive only when Republicans apply them.

 

 

Voter ID hangs on

By Steve Woodward

North Carolinians voted last fall to amend our state constitution to require every registered voter to present valid identification at polling places. Viewed by intelligent human beings in and beyond our state as a no-brainer, the amendment’s passage instead caused Democrat activist craniums to all but explode.

This despite the fact that, at the end of 2018, 35 states required or requested “some form of identification at the polls,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.¬† Yet there was North Carolina on a list of states holding the dubious distinction of requiring zero voter ID, including known Democrat-controlled sanctuaries for illegal immigrants such as California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Quite an exclusive club.

Opponents of voter ID view the privilege of voting through the same lens as everything else in their world — race. They believe it is inherently racist to require minorities, people of color (insert your go-to oppressed category here) and those who live in poverty to possess a form of ID. Never mind that this presumption on the left that poor minorities can’t access or don’t need an ID only magnifies their strategic scheme of imposed economic soft tyranny. This keeps certain classes of citizens reliably dependent on government entitlements and, thus, reliably dependable Democrat voters. Or so goes the theory of the past century or more.

Governor Roy Cooper pounced after the amendment won voter approval, attempting to veto what he condemned as a “sinister and cynical” effort to disenfranchise North Carolina voters. His veto was overridden. That merely set off legal challenges to the amendment. This is how the left responds to the “will of the voter” in the 21st century. If they disagree with the outcome — Donald Trump being duly elected President is their highest profile source of outrage — they wait for courts to overturn or stonewall with prolonged appeals.

The state NAACP used the same anti-Trump claim of Presidential “illegitimacy” to launch its request for judicial review of the amendment’s passage. Racist Republicans, argued the NAACP, gerrymandered their way to power and, therefore, represent an “illegal supermajority”. By extension, the votes of those who supported the voter ID amendment don’t count. Let that third-world logic sink in.

But a Wake County Superior Court judge could not see the flawed logic — the prism of racism appearing once again — and agreed with the NAACP’s outrage in a ruling last February. While he was at it Judge Bryan Collins also voided an amendment to cap the state income tax. What if entitlements for those reliable voters run short of cash? We can’t cap the income tax and protect the “rich”, aka, people who carry IDs!

Despite more than 55% voter approval of an ID amendment last November the left and their compliant activist courts were having none of it. They’ve been seething since 2010 when Republicans gained control of the General Assembly for the first time in 140 years. Hell bent on revenge, Democrats appeared to score a major victory when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 upheld a lower court ruling that erased 28 state house and senate districts that existed only for one reason — so-called “racial gerrymandering.”

That potential mess was remedied by a team led by a Stanford University academic brought in to “fix” NC’s districting lines for 2018. Meanwhile, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit in a Wake County court to keep the hope of overturning voter ID alive.

More than eight months later, a three-judge panel ruled July 19 that voter ID will be required, per the amendment, in 2019 elections. The panel dismissed five of the six claims in the suit. However, by keeping one claim on the table and deciding not to dismiss the case entirely, the panel did not enshrine voter ID and continues to ignore the will of the voters.

Democrats charge North Carolina ceased to be a functioning democracy when Republicans surged to power in 2010. But if there is a case to made for deteriorating government accountability to our citizens, it’s clear the finger points at a hijacking of democracy by activist judges and their Democrat allies.