For the first time in 140 years, the GOP in North Carolina controls both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, a feat that many find surprising for a state that up until 2008 had not voted for a Democrat for President since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The May 26 edition of The Washington Post chose not to describe this as local politics in the Tar Heel State catching up with its federal voting patterns but rather an example of a “hard turn to the right.”
In a 25-paragraph front page article, author Michael Fletcher lamented the state’s changing political dynamic, highlighting the “dozens of liberal demonstrators” who are “subjecting themselves to arrest each Monday at the state legislature” before going into details of how the North Carolina GOP capitalized on the state’s poor economy during Democratic stewardship to capture the legislature and governorship.
After devoting several paragraphs to the legislative ambitions of the newly-minted GOP legislature, Fletcher then returned to hyping opposition to GOP control, including quotes from the liberal group the Advancement Project, which objects to new laws requiring a photo ID to vote.
The Post’s decision to label North Carolina as shifting hard to the right is likely language that was not used to describe states like Maryland who have seen strong shifts to the Left in recent years. Instead, the Post has chosen to paint North Carolina as politically extreme, with liberal groups such as the NAACP using, “some of the tactics of the civil rights movement” to oppose GOP policies in the state.
Predictably Fletcher glommed on to the liberal obsession with “voter suppression," insisting that moves by the state government "sharply limit[ed] early voting" in a way that would be detrimental to the "high turnout of minority voters in the past several elections.” The implication is clear: limiting early voting has a racist outcome and is motivated by racial animus, as well as craven partisan scheming. There's no evidence to back that up, of course, but that's the narrative that the liberal media loved to further last year during campaign season to alarm Democratic voters and bash Republicans as racists.
For its part, Fletcher did include quotes from the conservative organization Americans for Prosperity who points out that the GOP agenda, especially regarding taxes, “showed widespread support across the state.” But instead of spending the majority of the article highlighting the successes of the state GOP, Fletcher used the final eight paragraphs of the article revisiting the liberal protestors in the state.
To liberals at the Post, Democrats never make extreme shifts to the left, but are seen as representing the majority of America, particularly after major Democratic gains like the 2006 midterms and the 2008 election of President Obama. By contrast, instead of portraying the political landscape in North Carolina as representative of the will of the people, Fletcher promoted North Carolina’s version of Julian Bond, NAACP State Chairman Rev. William J. Barber II, to trash the GOP’s leadership as “want[ing] to make our state a place of deeper stratification and inequality.”
Strangely, Fletcher claimed that, “as it stands, there is very little opponents can do to alter the will of the governing majority” instead of mentioning that the “will of the governing majority” is actually the view of the majority of North Carolinians.
The article concluded with a quote from a liberal professor from the historically black North Carolina A&T University, Derick Smith, who lamented that liberal activists "want to bring attention to what’s happening. And you’ve got to hope that the governor will listen and back away from some of the more divisive provisions."
Concluding the article on that note serves on to cast aspersions on the majority of North Carolinians, who, after all, elected Republicans to office and booted the Democrats from power. Leave it to the Washington Post to look down its nose on the Tar Heel State for daring to do that.