What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend

by johndavis, July 14, 2017

What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend July 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 5        7:13 am Making centrist Democrats and moderate independent voters feel welcomed   Monday’s News & Observer reported that North Carolina Democrats are coming to Raleigh this weekend for their annual Unity Dinner,
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What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend

July 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 5        7:13 am

Making centrist Democrats and moderate independent voters feel welcomed

 

Monday’s News & Observer reported that North Carolina Democrats are coming to Raleigh this weekend for their annual Unity Dinner, and Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General under President Barack Obama, will speak about how they can take back the reins of political power in state capitols like ours.

As I read the story, I began to imagine what I would say to Democrats if I were on their dais Saturday.  After all, the topic of how Democrats can recover their glory days in North Carolina is an intellectual challenge that I have stewed over a lot since the Republican takeover in 2013.

That was the year I wrote a series of reports titled, Top Ten Keys for NC Democratic Political Recovery, arguing that Democrats needed to shift their focus to “moderate voters hungry for a meat and potatoes economy,” and suggesting that “emerging generations must become the party’s priority.”

The final report in the 2013 series, Find a New Balance or Fall like a House of Cards, states that “finding a new balance is the overarching key to political recovery for Democrats.”  It concludes with the following thought:

“Demographic trends driven by population growth argue that Democrats have a bright future in North Carolina, but how bright and how soon will be determined by how quickly the party finds a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

That thought is as instructive in 2017 as it was in 2013.  It is how I would begin and end what I would say to Democrats if I were on their dais Saturday.

You are stronger than you think: mayors and statewide leaders

 

I would also say to Democrats that they are in a stronger position than they think to rebuild their party because of who won in 2016.  If I could have chosen the most strategically valuable statewide races to win in 2016 for rebuilding the North Carolina Democratic Party I would have selected Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State and the NC Supreme Court.

Democrats won those.

I would say that Democrats are stronger than they think because they have local and statewide leaders in place who are appealing to the state’s fastest growing constituencies of urban voters, young voters, women and minority voters.  Democratic-friendly constituencies one and all.

Most urban mayors are Democrats.

Four statewide Democratic leaders, sixty-and-under, emerged out of the 2016 races with qualities that exemplify personal strengths needed for rebuilding the Democratic Party for 21st Century North Carolina.  They are smart and politically savvy, with an impressive track record of political successes totaling 28 General Election wins.  The four are:

Roy Cooper, 60-year-old Governor of North Carolina, who was a Morehead scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree.  Prior to winning the governor’s race in 2016, Cooper ran four successful statewide campaigns for Attorney General, four successful state Senate races and three successful races for the North Carolina House.

Deborah Ross, 54-year-old Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2016, earned a Juris Doctor degree from UNC Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Brown.  Ross ran five successful campaigns for the North Carolina House.  Granted, she lost the U.S. Senate race to Richard Burr, garnering 2,128,165 votes to 2,395,376 for Burr, but Ross raised an impressive $14 million, a bit more than Richard Burr’s $13 million, and attracted $29 million in outside spending compared to about $30 million in outside spending on behalf of Burr.

Josh Stein, 50-year-old North Carolina Attorney General, earned a Masters in Public Administration and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard.  His undergraduate degree is from Dartmouth.  Stein won four races for the North Carolina Senate before leaving to focus on his 2016 successful campaign for Attorney General.

Wayne Goodwin, 50-year-old chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, was an honors graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, where he also earned his Juris Doctor degree.  Goodwin won four campaigns for the state legislature and two statewide campaigns for Commissioner of Insurance before losing his race for a third elected term in 2016.

There are many others, like Dan Blue, III, 44-year-old Raleigh attorney, who has three degrees from Duke University, including an MBA and Juris Doctor and a background on Wall Street.  Although he lost his race for State Treasurer 2016, his leadership strengths grew exponentially for daring to run.

Democrats are in a stronger position than they think because of a new generation of very smart, well-seasoned statewide leaders with personal qualities that enhance their potential to appeal to urban voters, young voters, women and minority voters in the effort to rebuild their party.

Neither party has an advantage among North Carolina voters

 

I chose to highlight the Democrats above because they are level-headed.

Those Democrats understand that Roy Cooper would not be in the Governor’s Mansion today if former Republican Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican House and Senate leaders had not mismanaged HB2, the infamous “bathroom bill” that sparked world-wide ridicule and undermined the State’s reputation for sensible government.

The only other issue I can think of in modern political history that has been as poorly managed and as damaging to our reputation as HB2 is the academic fraud uncovered in the African American Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  HB2 was that bad.

Governor Cooper won by only 10,281 votes out of 4,711,021 cast, despite being handed the race because his Republican opponent tripped over HB2 and fell.

All Democrats must accept the fact that Governor Cooper’s win is not a sign of resurgent Democratic strength in North Carolina.  The state remains a swing state where neither party has a built-in advantage among the voters.

Per Gallup’s study of the partisan leanings of each state, on average, about 42% of North Carolinians think of themselves as Republicans and 42% think of themselves as Democrats.  Only about 20% tell Gallup that they are “Liberal;” about 34% say they are “Moderate” and about 40% say “Conservative.”

If the Democratic base in North Carolina is 42% of the electorate, which certainly includes all the liberals and most of the left-of-center moderates, how are they going to grow to 50% of the voters without appealing to centrist independents who couldn’t care less about political parties?

That’s why I argued in 2013 that political recovery for North Carolina Democrats will begin when “the party finds a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

Unfortunately, the 20% “Liberal” cohort has taken over the Democratic party.  It is a cohort of angry liberals obsessed with labeling the motives of anyone who disagrees with them as racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic (hates women) and Islamophobic.

If I were on the Democratic dais Saturday, I would say, “Don’t get angry, get even.”

Get even by coming up with better ideas for how you are going help voters deal with income and opportunity challenges.  Affordable education.  Get even by developing a plan for making their lives safer from foreign and domestic threats.

Voters see vindictive hyperbole for what it is.  A waste of good oxygen.

Here is an illustration of just how absurd Democrats appear when vilifying Republican motives.

What if Nikki Haley runs for president in 2020, will Democrats be sexists?

 

What if Nikki Haley is the GOP nominee for president in 2020? You know, the former Republican governor of South Carolina and current Ambassador to the United Nations.  Will it be fair for Democratic men who choose not to support her to be labeled sexists?

Isn’t that how Democrats labeled Trump supporters in 2016?  If Trump is a misogynist, then his supporters must be misogynists.  Guilt by association?

What will Democratic women do if Nikki Haley has the next opportunity to be the first female U.S. President?  If they do not support her, will it be fair to label them xenophobic?  Xenophobia is a fear of foreigners.  Haley is the daughter of immigrants Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa from Punjab, India.  She was raised a Sikh.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman, Dick Harpootlian, declared during the 2013 gubernatorial race that the party will “send Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from.”

Is it fair to label all Democrats xenophobic because of one rogue state party chairman?

Isn’t that how Democrats labeled Trump supporters in 2016?

I would not be surprised if Nikki Haley runs for president one day.  She is only 45 years old.

Barack Obama had been in the U.S. Senate less than two years when he, at the age of 45, summoned his political consultants David Axelrod and David Plouffe to Chicago in November 2006 to discuss running for president.

She certainly has more government experience than Obama had when he ran.  Certainly, a former governor, Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. Secretary of State would be considered a viable candidate for president of the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Nikki Haley?

What if current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps down and President Trump appoints Haley Secretary of State?  Not a far-fetched notion in light of the statement Tillerson made to the Independent Journal Review in March, 2017, “I didn’t want this job.  I didn’t seek this job.”

It could happen.

Then will it be fair to question the motives of all Democrats who do not support Republican Secretary of State Nikki Haley and label them as sexist xenophobes?

If I were on the Democratic dais Saturday, I would say, “Don’t get angry, get even.”

Get even by coming up with better ideas for how you are going to help voters deal with income and opportunity challenges.  Affordable education.  Get even by developing a plan for making their lives safer from foreign and domestic threats.

Forget the demands for ideological purity from the 20% cohort of state liberals.  Ideological purity is an unreasonable expectation for rebuilding a party that needs to find “a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

That’s what I would say if I were speaking to Democrats this weekend in Raleigh.

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