In North Carolina, last month’s election unseated Governor Pat McCrory. It was well past time, even though McCrory has been in office for less than four years. McCrory, a one-term governor, has done tremendous damage to the state of North Carolina in his four-year tenure and needs to go. Back in March/April, I wrote two posts about his homophobic actions: Let the South Secede and Sue??? Who’s suing who’s suing whom? or … No More Potties. To make a long story short, the topic of both posts was that McCrory passed legislation that forbade cities or municipalities from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect the rights of the LGBT community. With McCrory’s move, LGBT persons living in North Carolina would be subject to discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in any public venue. What followed was a series of lawsuits which remain in process at this time.
Last month, McCrory was defeated by a democrat, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in an extremely close election. Not one to exit quietly, McCrory first refused to accept the results of the election, and when that didn’t work, he and his cronies got to work to limit the power of the governor’s office before Cooper takes office in January.
McCrory, who passed his anti-LGBT law through both houses of the North Carolina Congress, and signed the bill, all within an unprecedented twelve hours, is at it again. Typically, it takes months, sometimes years to pass legislation through both houses and the executive branch, but McCrory, with a Republican-controlled state congress, is able to cut that time dramatically. Once again, he called a last-minute ‘special session’ as he did back in March, leaving almost no time for public discourse.
“Two major bills were approved by the legislature Friday. One of them, which was quickly signed by the departing Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, strips future governors of their power to appoint a majority to the State Board of Elections. The number of board members was expanded from five to eight, with the eight members to be evenly divided between the two major parties. It also changes the state court system, making it more difficult for the losers of some superior court cases to appeal directly to the Democratic-controlled Supreme Court. A second bill, which had not been signed by the governor as of Friday afternoon, strips the governor of his ability to name members of the boards of state universities, and it reduces the number of state employees the governor can appoint from 1,500 to 425. In another change, and one that could have the greatest impact in the near term, the bill makes the governor’s cabinet appointees subject to approval by the State Senate. Republicans currently enjoy veto-proof majorities in the House and the Senate, and the North Carolina governorship is historically a relatively weak office.” – The Washington Post, 16 December 2016
Ever since McCrory took office in 2013, his approval ratings have dropped each year. Democrats have widely protested his actions in a number of areas, including abortion, LGBT rights, and voting rights. Earlier this year, GOP leaders launched a meticulous and coordinated effort to deter black voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. The law, created and passed entirely by white legislators, evoked the state’s ugly history of blocking African Americans from voting. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the 4th Circuit recognized the legislature’s discriminatory intent and struck down the law. McCrory tried to appeal, but the Supreme Court refused to overrule the lower court’s order.
In other discriminatory moves, McCrory and his congressional minions have blocked Medicaid coverage for a half-million North Carolinians, transferred $90 million from public schools to voucher schools and cut pre-K for 30,000 children, repealed the earned tax credit for 900,000 people, denied, among other things, victims of employment discrimination the ability to sue in state courts, and blocked municipalities from raising the minimum wage. President of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, Reverend William Barber hit the nail on the head: “If you want to know what a Donald Trump presidency will look like, all you have to do is look to North Carolina.”
The actions taken this month to reduce the power of the incoming governor are akin to trashing the inside of one’s house right before new tenants are to move in. It is childish and in my opinion proves that McCrory did not have the temperament nor intelligence to become governor to begin with. Yet, he still enjoys much support from North Carolina Republicans who, like Republicans in much of the rest of the nation today, are not interested in the greater good of their state, their nation, but concern themselves solely with their own comfort, pleasure and convenience. In the words of Time Magazine writer Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., “Republicans in North Carolina have revealed their true colors, and they are not red, white and blue.” Pat McCrory attempted to set his state back decades with his discriminatory policies. Good riddance, Mr. McCrory!