How Far Right can NC Republicans Push their Conservative Legislative Agenda without Creating a Political Blowback

by johndavis, June 21, 2011

[[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/How-Far-Right-Can-GOP-Push-NC.mp3|titles=How Far Right Can GOP Push NC]] “Originally, blowback was CIA internal coinage denoting the unintended, harmful consequences – to friendly populations and military forces – when a given weapon is carelessly used.” en.wikipedia.org     Search: blowback Post June 21, 2011       Vol. IV, No. 13 Blowback: Unintended, Harmful Consequences This report is an
[More…]

[[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/How-Far-Right-Can-GOP-Push-NC.mp3|titles=How Far Right Can GOP Push NC]]

“Originally, blowback was CIA internal coinage denoting the unintended, harmful consequences – to friendly populations and military forces – when a given weapon is carelessly used.” en.wikipedia.org     Search: blowback

Post June 21, 2011       Vol. IV, No. 13

Blowback: Unintended, Harmful Consequences

This report is an analysis of the long-term political implications of the just-ended historic session of the North Carolina General Assembly.  Although the implications apply to both parties, the primary focus is the evaluation of the legislative actions taken by the Republican majority.

First, my sincerest congratulations to the first GOP majority in the NC General Assembly since 1870 on their many good successes.  You do not have to be a Republican to appreciate the inherent value of giving the leadership reins to new faces and seeing them try new ideas on intractable problems.

However, the long-term political prospects for Republicans are dependant on whether those ideas work.  They are also dependent on whether Republicans try to push North Carolinians too far to the right.

Political power is like a weapon that if carelessly used will cause unintended, harmful consequences … blowback.  Barack Obama and the Democratic Party found that out in 2010.

Three Secrets for a Long-term Republican Majority

Republicans won the opportunity to lead the state by staying focused on jobs and the economy during the 2010 campaigns at a time of great economic crisis.  They also won the opportunity to lead the state because the voters lost confidence in the Democrats and there were no other choices on the ballot.

Most voters could care less what the party affiliation is of the team that restores financial health and fiscal sanity to our nation and state.  Likewise, most voters could care less what the ideological label is pinned to the solution to turning around our dreadful unemployment numbers.

Secret #1:  Lead from the Center

North Carolinians did not have a partisan conversion experience in 2010.  This is not a Republican state.  This is not a Democratic state.  This is a center-right battleground state where no political party has a majority and where independent moderates decide the outcome of all statewide races.

Take a look at the Gallup study of the party affiliation shift away from Democrats in the states from 2008 to 2010.  North Carolina is among the states with the least change in party affiliation.

Gallup 2/21/2011: Number of Solidly Democratic States Cut in Half From ’08 to ‘10

North Carolina is among the states with the least change in party affiliation.

  • In February, Gallup released a study of party affiliation in the states showing that Democrats lost ground in every single state and the District of Columbia from 2008 to 2010.
  • The greatest losses were in states like Rhode Island (-12.2%), New Hampshire (-11.3%), Maine (-10.9%) and Hawaii (-10.1%).
  • North Carolina, with a -4.0% loss for Democrats, was among the states with the least change.
  • As to rank, 43 states showed greater losses for Democrats than North Carolina.
  • According to Gallup, North Carolina is a “Lean Democratic” state.

The voters who elected Barack Obama still live here.

Secret #2:  Own education.

Barack Obama made a big mistake by pushing his personal agenda ahead of the priorities of a majority of the voters in the country.  He wanted healthcare.  They wanted jobs.  It cost him and his party the majority in Congress and in many state legislatures including ours.

The priorities of the people who have denied the GOP a majority in the General Assembly for 140 years have not changed.  Granted, right now their number one priority is jobs and the economy.  However, despite the economic crisis, education remains a close second.

Republicans must own education.

The May poll results from Civitas show education as more important to North Carolinians than all items tested except jobs and the economy.

Civitas Institute 5/10-11/2011: May Poll Results – North Carolina Statewide Voter Survey

Education ranks #2 as the most important issue.

  • Civitas poll question: “For each issue, tell me on a scale of 1 to 10 how important that issue is in terms of how you will vote in the next North Carolina legislative election."
  • Education was ranked #2 as the most important issue in terms of how voters will vote in the next North Carolina legislative elections, second only to "economy and jobs."
  • Click on the link above and go to questions 10 through 16 and you will see that “education” was seen as more important in deciding how to vote next year than “government spending, government ethics and corruption, taxes, immigration, and roads/highways.”

Secret #3:  Compassionate conservatism.

Newt Gingrich and the congressional Republicans lost the majority after the last great Republican revolution because they were perceived as lacking in compassion.  That’s why I believe that the biggest mistake made by Republicans during their first turn at the helm was using unemployment benefits as a trump card in their budget battle with the governor.

Hard-line conservatism will get you in political hot water in the new North Carolina.

Take a look at a Gallup study below and compare the liberal, moderate and conservative leanings of voters in the different states based on 350,000 responses to polling during 2010.

Gallup 2/25/2011:  Mississippi Rates as the Most Conservative U.S. State

North Carolina, Virginia and Florida are the least conservative Southern states.

  • In February, Gallup released a study of political ideology in the states showing that conservatives outnumber liberals in every U.S. state.
  • Only the District of Columbia has more liberals than conservatives.
  • The top 10 most conservative states are Mississippi, Idaho, Alabama, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina and Arkansas.
  • The top 10 most liberal states are District of Columbia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Washington and New Jersey.
  • North Carolina, Virginia and Florida are the least conservative Southern states and the only states in the South carried by President Barack Obama.
  • As to rank, 21 states are more conservative than North Carolina.

NC statewide polls by Civitas Institute 5/10-11/2011 May Poll Results – North Carolina Statewide Voter Survey and by Public Policy Polling 6/8-11/2011 June Poll Results – North Carolina Statewide Voter Survey showed the same percentage of conservatives: PPP 44%; Civitas 43%.

Compassionate conservatism shows strength of character and is appreciated by most voters.  Maybe the perceived lack of compassion for the unemployed is why the same PPP poll shows significantly greater unfavorable voter opinion of Republicans (46%) than favorable (33%).  After all, voters supported extending unemployment benefits by 2-to-1 (60% support; 29% oppose).

So, how far right can North Carolina Republicans push their conservative legislative agenda without creating a political blowback?  Not that far in North Carolina.  It’s not a conservative Republican state.

- END -

Subscribe to the John Davis Political Report here. July 4th 1/2 Price Sale!  Only $245 for Premium Annual Subscription!

Please consider making a donation to help defray costs of research here. Scroll down for the "Donate" button in the right sidebar on the home page.

Comments are closed.