Gov. Pat McCrory Preaches Prosperity while Defending HB2 in America’s 9th Most Religious State May 27, 2016 Vol. IX, No. 6 3:13 pm Preaching Prosperity On May 2, 2016, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s campaign for reelection received a major boost from Site Selection Magazine when the state was selected as the winner
Gov. Pat McCrory Preaches Prosperity while Defending HB2 in America's 9th Most Religious State
May 27, 2016 Vol. IX, No. 6 3:13 pm
On May 2, 2016, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s campaign for reelection received a major boost from Site Selection Magazine when the state was selected as the winner of the coveted Prosperity Cup, honoring the #1 place in America for business competitiveness.
Now, let me stop right here and ask my Democrat friends if being the #1 place in America for doing business would be a big deal if a Democrat were governor?
Arguably, there is no award more valuable politically to the reelection of an incumbent governor in the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression than the Prosperity Cup.
The accolades heaped on North Carolina since McCrory was inaugurated January 5, 2013 are remarkable and abundant.
The state’s economic output has grown by 13.4 percent on McCrory’s watch, the fastest of any state. For emphasis: no state has increased its GDP faster than North Carolina, a claim rated as “True” by POLITIFACT North Carolina.
Like it or not, North Carolina has become an oasis of politically valuable government reform and dynamic economic growth. An oasis? You doubt that? Think about Washington DC. Read on.
So, we’re the #1 place in America for business, we lead the nation in economic growth, and, voters are so confident that the state is in good hands that they approved Connect NC, a $2 billion infrastructure bond in March by a whopping 2-to-1 landslide victory margin (66%-to-34%).
Voters in 76 of 100 counties will see the Connect NC bond money being spent locally. Investments in the UNC System, the NC Community College System, state parks, National Guard, water/sewer projects, the state zoo and agriculture research.
The 2016 race for governor is a referendum on Gov. McCrory’s first term. Under McCrory’s leadership, the unemployment rate has steadily improved in all 100 counties. Other advances:
- $4.4 billion in tax relief (personal and corporate)
- Paid off $2.5 billion unemployment insurance debt to the feds
- $1 billion rainy day fund has been set aside (largest in history)
- Maintained AAA bond rating (only 10 states have AAA rating)
- Education budgets largest in history
- Teacher salaries have increased more than any other state
- Exports grew at twice the national average
- Ranked as one of the most innovative states in the nation
- High School graduation rates at an all-time high
- $1.6 billion in highway construction projects on the drawing boards
- Major tort, regulatory and energy reforms (permitting “fracking”)
Following the current session of the General Assembly, look for Governor McCrory to double-down on his list of accomplishments, adding politically critical claims like “the fastest growing teacher salaries in the nation.”
All Roy Cooper can do is promise to do a better job than Pat McCrory. Better than the Prosperity Cup? Better than the #1 GDP in America? Better than a $2 billion infrastructure bond? Better than the fastest growing teacher salaries in the nation?
Growing prosperity in North Carolina is the single most important reason why it is going to be very difficult for Roy Cooper to make the argument that there is a compelling reason to change the state’s chief executive. But there is another reason: HB2.
Defending HB2 in the 9th Most Religious State
North Carolina was targeted by the national LGBT-focused Human Rights Campaign to initiate the non-discrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council that prompted HB2. Evidence that North Carolina is an ideal target for LGBT political action is abundant.
Gallup’s State of the States analysis, ranking states by political ideology and partisan persuasions, reveals that despite GOP dominance of state government, North Carolina is only the 30th most Republican-friendly state in the country. We are the 20th most Democratic-friendly state.
- Wyoming #1 Republican state in the U.S. at 59.6%; 27.8% favor Democrats
- Top 10 Republican-friendly states are Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Carolina
- North Carolina is #30 most Republican at 41.3%; 41.5% favor Democrats
- National average is 40.1% Republican; 43% Democratic
- Vermont is #1 Democrat state in the U.S. at 51.9%; 30.2% Republicans
- Top 10 Democrat-friendly states are Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, California, New Mexico, Connecticut, Illinois
- North Carolina is #20 most Democratic-friendly state
Democrats have every reason to be encouraged that their dream of regaining the upper hand in state politics in North Carolina will be realized.
North Carolina is quickly becoming an urban dominant state. Urban voters are more progressive and tolerant than most; they favor Democrats over Republicans. They are younger.
As Baby Boomers decline in number, Millennial voters are emerging as the fastest growing voting bloc. Politically, Millennial’s are more liberal than any generation in American history.
North Carolina is becoming a more diverse state. Women outnumber men by 54% to 46% in the total number of registered voters. In 2012, out of 4.5 million votes cast, a decisive 490,000 more women voted in North Carolina than men.
If Republicans do not earn the respect of urban voters, younger voters, women voters and North Carolina’s fast-growing communities of international, religious, ethnic, and ideological diversity, it’s simply a matter of time when they will lose the opportunity to lead the state.
Again, from the State of the State report, North Carolina is the 20th “Most Conservative.”
- National average is 35.7% Conservative, 36% Moderate; 23.2% Liberal
- Top 10 most Conservative states are Alabama, Idaho, Arkansas, North Dakota, Utah, Mississippi, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma
- North Carolina is the 20th most Conservative state
- North Carolina is 39.1% Conservative; 36.3% Moderate; 19.6% Liberal
So, you can see why groups like the Human Rights Campaign would target North Carolina; why state Democrats would think that 2016 offers an opportunity to regain political power.
But there is an anomaly in the Gallup State of the State study that helps inform why Republicans are encouraged that they will survive the potential political threat of the uproar over the HB2 legislation. You see, the same state that is only the 30th most Republican friendly and the 20th most conservative state … is also the 9th most religious state.
That’s the political fact about North Carolina that Democrats failed to value when they chose to join forces willy-nilly with the Human Rights Campaign in opposition to HB2.
Very Religious/Moderately Religious/Nonreligious
- National average is 40% Very Religious; 29% Moderately; 31% Nonreligious
- North Carolina is 49% Very Religious; 29% Moderately; 22% Nonreligious
- Top 10 Very Religious states are Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky
- North Carolina is the 9th most religious state in the United States
A new study by Gallup released May 26, 2016 shows that 50% of Americans are Protestant Christians, and that only 41% of Protestant Christians believe LGBT relations are morally acceptable. Those who seek to lead a religious swing state like North Carolina must honor religious conservatives while at the same time ensuring that no one is discriminated against.
Protestants throughout America are tired of having their religious beliefs disrespected in debates like the one surrounding HB2 in North Carolina. Tired of having their religious values debased by those who think it’s clever to erect billboards that read, Welcome to North Carolina. Due to our stance on LGBT rights, please set your clock back 100 years.
North Carolina leaders are not alone in their concerns about the uncertainties of the growth of the entirely new body of laws relating to gender identity. Again, this is all new law.
Eleven states have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing them of violating the U.S. Constitution by turning “workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process and running roughshod over common-sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights."
It is because of litigation that HB2 is ultimately going to be a win-win politically. These lawsuits are likely to lead to a clarification of issues relating to privacy rights in bathrooms and locker rooms and establish new definitions and protections for LGBT citizens.
The bottom line is that an incumbent governor in a Southern state with an improving economy and a successful first term is in a far greater position to parlay his power and influence into a political advantage than a Democratic challenger.
The accolades that McCrory can use in his political battle with Roy Cooper this fall continue to amass. Most governors will never but dream of winning the Prosperity Cup, seeing their state ranked as the #1 place in the United States for business competitiveness; enjoying the fulfillment that comes from knowing your state has the fastest growing GDP in the nation.
Thanks to an improving economy, a record of accomplishment that now includes the $2 billion Connect NC infrastructure bond, coupled with a visionary plan, plenty of money, personal likability and crossover appeal among independent-leaning Democrats, Governor Pat McCrory enjoys a decisive advantage in the race for governor.
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