Is the NC Democratic Party the Toyota of State Politics? #1 – #4: Democrats have All of the Power and Get all of the Blame

by johndavis, April 29, 2010

Part I:  Liabilities 1 – 4 NC Republicans do not have to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats to seize power in 2010 if Democrats lower their political bar closer to that of Republicans. Toyota Motor Company has lost market share because of worldwide recalls of millions of its cars due to management mistakes
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Part I:  Liabilities 1 – 4

NC Republicans do not have to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats to seize power in 2010 if Democrats lower their political bar closer to that of Republicans.

Toyota Motor Company has lost market share because of worldwide recalls of millions of its cars due to management mistakes that led to frightening problems like mysterious acceleration, unreliable breaks and rollovers.[i] Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company just posted a $2.1 billion first quarter profit and is touting the best market share gain since 1977.  “It benefited from Toyota’s safety recalls of millions of vehicles,” said Kelley Blue Book, “Ford was one of the top brands considered by Toyota owners who were shopping for a new car.”[ii]

Toyota’s brand is so damaged by sloppy standards that it must now offer promotional gimmicks like 0% loans and $2,000 rebates to lure customers.  Likewise, the brand of the North Carolina Democrat Party is so tarnished by a decade of sloppy standards and corrupt leaders that the only way it has kept Republicans from taking over state government is by outspending them 3-to-1 on incentives and political promotional gimmicks.

Many believe that the only way North Carolina Republicans can seize power in 2010 is to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats.  Well, what if Democrats lower their political bar closer to the GOP?  Republicans win; that is what is happening in this state.

During the next few weeks I will be writing about the Top 10 political liabilities that have cost Democrats market share and turned the North Carolina Democratic Party into the Toyota Motor Company of state politics.  Here are the first four:

#1: A Weak Democratic Governor Will be a Drag on Democratic Candidates

  • Gov. Perdue’s approval ratings are a disastrous 28%, while 52% disapprove according to the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling in their latest April poll.[iii]
  • Even among Democrats, only 44% approve of the job she is doing.
  • Perdue was a weak candidate who did not win the race on her own merits.  She is governor because of Obama’s record-breaking voter registration and turnout machine.
  • Perdue was such a weak candidate relative to the Republican nominee Pat McCrory that even after outspending him $14.9 million to his $6.7 million during a terrible year for Republicans she barely won in what was the closest governor’s race in America.
  • “If Perdue’s numbers continue to be this poor, she is likely to be a drag on Democratic legislative candidates this fall,” said Tom Jensen with Public Policy Polling.

#2: Basnight’s Cash on Hand Down by 30% with a Tougher Hill to Climb; GOP Cash Up

  • Monday was the deadline for candidates to file their campaign finance reports with the State Board of Elections.  Although Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight outpaced all others in first quarter fundraising, his Cash on Hand was down by $236,000 when compared to this time two years ago:  Cash on Hand 1st Q 2010: $725,000.  Cash on Hand 1st Q 2008: $961,000.  And, he may lose another $45,000.
  • An investigation is underway into possible illegal campaign contributions to Basnight by employees of Atlantic Corp. in Wilmington totaling $45,000.  If he has to return that money (likely), his Cash on Hand will be down by 30% compared to April 2008.
  • Candidate filing results in February revealed a tough hill to climb for Senate Democrats.  They experienced a major leadership shakeup after resignations and retirements, and they have more vulnerable incumbents and Open Seats than the Senate GOP.  Filing facts:

Senate Democrats Senate Republicans

  • All Democrats have GOP opponents                          11 Republicans have no opponent
  • 6 Democrats retired leaving OPEN seats                     2 Republicans retired leaving OPEN Seats
  • 4 of 6 Democratic OPEN Seats are vulnerable          0 Republican OPEN Seats are vulnerable
  • 3 Democrats are in Republican Districts                     0 Republicans are in Democratic Districts
  • 3 Appointed Democrats (first Senate run)                  0 Appointed Republicans


  • Republicans are getting better at winning campaigns.  They held their own in 2008 and picked up a new seat (Sen. Debbie Clary was elected to Democrat Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton’s seat in Cleveland/Rutherford Counties) in one of the worst election cycles for the GOP since Watergate, AND were outspent 3-to-1.
  • If you add up the Cash on Hand of the Republicans with no opponent, along with those with token opposition, they have as much discretionary money as Basnight.

#3: Democrats have All of the Power and Get all of the Blame in an Anti-incumbency Era

  • Voters are angry, and there is no one to take it out on but the “ins,” those with the power … the Democrats in both the state and nation.  According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released April 8, 2010, the favorable rating of the Democratic Party has dropped to 41%, “…the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure.”
  • The favorability rating for both parties is now even, a huge swing from the 11-point advantage Democrats had over Republicans just last September.
  • North Carolina voters prefer Republican legislative candidates over Democratic legislative candidates by 45% to 42%, according Public Policy Polling.[iv]
  • Why have voters turned on the Democratic establishment?  Because they are spending as they please with borrowed money and a dismissive attitude towards an electorate frightened about the long-term economic stability of our state and nation.
  • A recent statewide Public Policy Polling survey shows that 80% of North Carolina voters think politicians listen more to groups that fund campaigns.  Only 9% believe that politicians listen to average voters.[v]
  • “Most notably, Independents lean toward the GOP 47%-18%.  Republicans also continue to be more unified with 89% of their voters planning to support the party this fall compared to 78% of Democrats,”  said Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling, 4/15/2010.[vi]

#4: A Nation and State of Outraged Voters Fearing Financial Collapse Due to Spending

  • Concerns about the economy and job security and the financial stability of our state and nation are the issues driving voters, especially Independents, away from the Democrats.
  • The Congressional Budget Office reported in March that President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget would generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, and raise the federal debt to 90% of the nation’s GDP by 2020 … up from 40% at the end of fiscal 2008.[vii]
  • The CBO also reported that the federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion when Obama entered office, totals $8.2 trillion today, and is headed toward $20.3 trillion by 2020.
  • According to a Fox News poll released in April, by a 3-to-1 margin, Americans believe that the national debt is a greater potential threat to the country’s future than terrorism.[viii]

Like Toyota, North Carolina Democrats have a long and storied past of extraordinary leaders who accomplished so much to keep our state a step ahead of most others as one of the greatest places in the world to live and learn and work and raise children and enjoy the good life.  However, also like Toyota, a decade of scandal and corruption and sloppy management has taken its toll on the good name and reputation of the Democratic Party.

But what about those Democrats who were not imprisoned or fined or indicted; those good party loyalists who did not pursue no-bid contracts or engage in pay-to-play campaign financing.  Far too many of those good Democrats did engage in the corruption of silent acquiescence to what they knew was going on … what they knew was unethical or illegal or just shady.

Those Democrats are like the corporate culture at Toyota that built the unreliable cars.


[i] http://www.startribune.com/business/91438324.html

[ii] http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-ap-us-earns-ford,0,2136375.story

[iii] http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/04/19/443964/perdues-approval-ratings-slipping.html

[iv] http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_NC_415.pdf

[v] www.newsobserver.com Search: Poll: Most voters think money buys influence; Pg 3B

[vi] http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_NC_415.pdf

[vii] The Washington Times, March 26, 2010, CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP

[viii] FOXNews.com, March 23, 2010, Fox News Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse

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