Washington Post: NC Senate Race Most Important In Country
The front page of the Washington Post by Dan Baltz says the race for the Senate seat currently occupied by Kay Hagan is the most important in 2014. The individual page says it sets the stage for the 2016 presidential election. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, or no way, it certainly highlights the difference between the GOP and the insane Democrats
North Carolina is this year’s ground zero in American politics. There are other highly competitive races around the country, but no contest so neatly captures all the conflicting currents of ideology, money, demographics and political tactics as the one between Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and her newly nominated Republican challenger, Thom Tillis.
Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House, more than survived his first battle as a Senate candidate. Facing a primary challenge Tuesday from both an opponent backed by tea party activists and another by some in the party’s evangelical wing, he cruised past the 40 percent mark he needed to avoid a runoff – with considerable help from the GOP establishment.
One of the killers of the Tea Party candidates and others vs “establishment” Republicans is what CAC called the Baskin Robbins problem. In essence, there are too many choices, so the big backed candidate, in this case the supposed “establishment” pick, wins. Tillis achieved 46% of the primary vote, which means 54% voted for someone else. Of course, many of us voted who we thought was the best candidate. That’s why I voted for Tillis, and back him. I like his policies, I mostly like where he has pushed the NC General Assembly. I trust him, as much as someone can trust a politician. Some say he will be an amnesty proponent. All I need to do is look across the Neuse River to the 2nd District rep, Renee Ellmer, who had been a Tea Party favorite, who is also a big amnesty supporter. Tillis is making noise about no amnesty, upholding the law. He was disappointed in NC gov Pat McCrory over his attempt to relax rules for illegals. Anyhow
For the next six months, Tillis and Hagan will square off in a state that was the scene of fiercely contested presidential elections in 2008 and 2012 that produced a split decision, and where a conservative shift in its state politics will be every bit as central to the debate as will President Obama and his national record.
In a year in which each party considers turning out its base as critical to success, both sides have plenty of fodder to work with. Republicans will run against Hagan by linking her to an unpopular president, trashing the Affordable Care Act as big-government overreach and portraying her as a generally ineffective legislator. Democrats will attempt to connect Tillis to a series of new laws in North Carolina that provoked a strong backlash and generated “Moral Monday” protests in the state capital by Democratic interest groups. And they will tie Tillis to the billionaire Koch brothers, who have shown that they are prepared to spend down their fortune to help defeat the incumbent.
OK, so Team Tillis will link Kay to Obama and the failure policies of Obama and the Democrats, along with the majority unpopular Obamacare. Team Kay will rely upon loony people (who are welcome to be loony as they use their first amendment rights) and the silly “Koch brothers” meme. Most people have no idea who these supposed boogeymen are, and attacking private citizens engaged in First Amendment rights won’t play all that well with anyone but those who plan to vote Kay anyhow. Which, of course, is the point, turning out the base. Team Tillis’ method will turn out the base, along with the causal Republican voters and those who could vote either way.
With Tillis as the Republican nominee, North Carolina’s Senate race offers perhaps the best laboratory in the country for a test of whether voters think the new Republican Party has shifted too far to the right or it stands for a smaller-government agenda that has a broader appeal than Democrats believe.
Despite the tortured phrasing in an attempt to paint the GOP as “extreme”, there might be some truth to that. Of course, Baltz, like other Dems, is upset about the restrictions on abortion providers, ie, holding them accountable for reasonable medical standards. Voter ID. Not engaging in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
All of this could become a trial run for the national debate in the 2016 presidential campaign – a choice between the record of the Obama administration and the record of Republican governors and legislatures in states where the GOP has unified control.
Remember, it is in the States where the GOP has been making big inroads, opposing the insane federal government policies. In 2010 and 2012, the GOP won control of quite a few governorships and general assemblies. In NC, the GOP took control of both the House and the Senate for the first time in over 100 years. They now also have the governor’s mansion (though McCrory is a somewhat squishy Republican). Baltz is 100% right on one thing, this will be a costly and highly visible election, pitting those who are tired of the hardcore liberal agenda against all the carpetbaggers who have ruined their own states and moved away from the damage, then bring the same insane policies to NC.