Loading...
BYH to the Marines, who have a saying: 'It's God's job to judge the terrorists. It's our job to arrange the meeting'....

Split decision shows parties have work to do

john hood.jpg

John Hood

Loading…

Thursday, November 8, 2018

If you expected the 2018 midterm elections to settle all scores and clarify all unanswered political questions in the era of Donald Trump, you were just asking for disappointment — and that’s what voters gave you.

In North Carolina and around the country, Democrats savored many sweet victories. They recruited good candidates, raised gobs of money, and deployed solid campaigns. Winning the U.S. House, netting some governorships and legislative chambers, and breaking the GOP supermajority in the North Carolina House were all impressive accomplishments.

But as the election returns came in, most Republicans were actually breathing a sigh of relief. Earlier in the year, they feared the worst: a massive anti-Trump blue wave that would give Democrats historic gains in Washington and the states. It didn’t materialize.

Republicans actually gained seats in the U.S. Senate, including defeats of longtime Democratic incumbents. The Democrats’ House gain was close to the historical average for midterms — so much for Trump upending all the political rules — and key governorships in Florida and Ohio stayed in Republican hands.

In North Carolina, Democrats underperformed in congressional races and overperformed in state ones. None of the three targeted U.S. House seats — the 2nd district in the Triangle, the 13th district in the Triad, and the 9th district stretching from Charlotte to the Sandhills — flipped from red to blue, despite the influx of vast resources to the three Democratic campaigns.

The Democrats’ investment in state races was far more productive. In the 12 midterm elections since 1970, the party not controlling the White House has gained an average of 11 seats in the state legislature — an average of eight seats in the N.C. House and three seats in the Senate. Although some close races were not yet called by my deadline, it looks like state Democrats have beaten both spreads, with particularly noteworthy success in urban counties.

Six of the net nine seats Republicans lost in the House, and three of the six seats they lost in the Senate, were in Mecklenburg or Wake. As for Guilford County, it delivered another of the Democrats’ Senate pickups while longtime Republican Sheriff B.J. Barnes went down to surprising defeat (as did Wake County’s Republican sheriff, Donnie Harrison). Essentially, the blue cities became more deeply blue, rural and exurban areas stayed red, and the inner suburbs tilted blue.

As for statewide contests, Republican lawmakers struck out with their two attempts to reduce the institutional power of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Voters said no to constitutional amendments that would have created an evenly bipartisan state elections board and limited the governor’s ability to fill judicial vacancies. Most important of all, arguably, were the Democrats’ victories in races for appellate courts. With the election of Anita Earls — an outcome Republicans themselves may have aided by eliminating judicial primaries and allowing two GOP candidates to split the right-leaning vote — the North Carolina Supreme Court has a solid 5-2 Democratic majority.

State Democrats are happy with these outcomes, understandably so. But Republicans did maintain control over the most powerful branch of state government, the General Assembly, with still-healthy majorities in the House and Senate. They also celebrated voter approval of constitutional amendments that instituted a photo ID to vote and protected the rights of taxpayers, hunters, and victims of crime.

North Carolina is a closely divided state. We are going to have highly competitive elections for years to come. The 2018 results actually present both parties with tough challenges.

Republicans are clearly struggling to hold the loyalty of inner-suburb voters in counties such as Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford. While disaffection with Trump may be a factor, GOP candidates also failed to align their messages with the priorities of these voters.

At the same time, Democrats fell short in a number of potentially winnable races elsewhere in the state. They can break supermajorities by winning urban areas. But that won’t be enough to put them in charge of the state legislature.

Back to work. Up next: the 2020 cycle.

John Hood (@JohnHoodNC) is chairman of the John Locke Foundation and appears on “NC SPIN,” broadcast statewide Fridays at 7:30p and Sundays at 12:30p on UNC-TV.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

April 23, 2019

The Fayetteville Observer

Lumberton got some desperately needed help last week, delivered by Gov. Roy Cooper. The city will get $1.1 million in grants to help prevent repeats of the severe damage the city suffered in Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

The biggest portion of the grants will help build…

April 23, 2019

The Wi-Fi on my flight from Rome to Newark wasn't working, so phones were buzzing about Notre Dame as soon as we hit the runway. After the initial shock and sadness, gratitude was expressed. There are upsides to being disconnected: At least we didn't have to watch something we couldn't control on…

kathrynlopez

April 23, 2019

If you value fact-based debate and impactful public policy, the state legislature's action over its "born alive abortion survivor" bill last week was cringeworthy.

The proposal brought the year's most overheated rhetoric to Raleigh, and the outlandish claims kept the fact-checkers busy.

But despite…

Colin Campbell

April 22, 2019

Whether he’s advocating a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or threatening to completely shut down entries, President Trump is more about theatrics than logistics on immigration policy.

His latest idea: Send undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities — loosely defined as…

Migrant Surge-8

April 22, 2019

Did you know that manufacturing employment in North Carolina has gone up more than 10 percent since 2010? I didn’t either, until I took a recent dive into economic statistics.

In February 2010, there were about 431,000 jobs at manufacturing enterprises in North Carolina. By February 2019,…

020517Hood

April 22, 2019

Patriotism prevailed, and it is likely to continue prevailing.

This is the most significant revelation to come from the long-awaited Mueller report when it documented instances of individuals in President Trump’s circle of aides and allies refusing to do his bidding. They helped save him from…

April 21, 2019

State Senate leader Phil Berger held a news conference recently to announce changes in his plan to improve student reading levels, but the real news was the man he invited to join him, J.B. Buxton, a member of the State Board of Education.

Buxton, a Democrat, is a former deputy superintendent of…

April 21, 2019

There is a mountain of evidence that President Trump obstructed justice. There is considerable evidence that the Trump campaign embraced and encouraged Russia's attempt to meddle in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller laid out the facts — and now Congress has a solemn duty to…

Eugene Robinson

April 21, 2019

It is mystifying why Democrats are so up in arms about President Trump's declaration that he is considering releasing illegal immigrants into so-called "sanctuary cities." After all, Trump's plan simply follows the Democrats' own policy prescriptions for dealing with illegal immigrants.

First,…

Marc_Thiessen.jpg

April 20, 2019

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced he would not be delivering the commencement speech at his alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, nor will he attend any other graduation ceremonies this season.

Last week, the governor appeared ready to emerge from his self-imposed…

265 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»