Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Lesson for the GOP from North Carolina

“From North Carolina?” my perplexed readers may already be saying. “Weren’t New Jersey and Virginia the big elections last night?”

Well, yes. And, despite amusing protestations from Democrats otherwise, those two elections were an angry repudiation of Democrat policies. Look at the margins of those two gubernatorial elections.

But I think it more important for the Republican Party to pay attention to two municipal elections in North Carolina, along with the NY-23 Special Election. John Hood sums up the two North Carolina results well:

The only major city in North Carolina with a Republican mayor going into Tuesday’s balloting was Charlotte. In a expensive and hard-fought race, a Democratic city councilman, Anthony Foxx, defeated fellow Republican councilman John Lassiter last night, thus taking the top job back for the Democrats for the first time since the late 1980s. Lassiter ran as a moderate, fudging the differences between the two men on virtually every issue and generating little enthusiasm from GOP-leaning voters.

In North Carolina’s third-largest city, something very different happened. Greensboro's municipal elections are nonpartisan, but both parties are extremely active supporting their candidates. The incumbent mayor, Yvonne Johnson, is a longtime Democratic politician in Greensboro. She was upset last night by Republican Bill Knight, who's never held political office and who ran on a strongly conservative platform on fiscal and criminal-justice issues. The GOP now holds a majority on that city council for the first time ever, as far as I can tell.

Both cities voted for Barack Obama last year. Both Democratic candidates were black. The difference was the content of the Republican message.

The lesson from North Carolina as well as from the disappointing NY-23 result? It is not enough not to be Obama and not to be a Democrat (although I suspect that will help in next two election cycles). To be successful, Republicans have to stand for something more than “me too.” The long standing tendency of establishment Republicans to back wimps and RINOs is self-destructive. It alienates conservatives, does not attract enough liberals and so-called moderates, and enables Democrats.

Now one would think the expensive disaster that was the Dede Scozzafava campaign would teach the Republican Party this lesson and teach it well. But the National Republican Party has historically been rather slow to learn this lesson.

Which, by the way, is why I will not give my political donations to the NRC, the NRSC, or the NRCC. Further, should they ask (again) for my money, I will make clear to them in no uncertain terms why I am not giving to them.

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