Tuesday, May 10, 2016

North Carolina GOP Braces for "Bathroom Law" Blowback

What some in the North Carolina Republican Party thought was a ingenious way to rally the Christofascists in the party so as to sweep them to re-election in November is now looking more likely to sweep them out of office, especially Gov. Pat McCrory who appears to be falling further behind in the polls with every passing day.  McCrory is trying to play the victim of an over reaching Washington, D.C., but other than rabid Christofascist simpletons, most North Carolina residents do not seem to be suckered into support for McCrory and his party that are now defined by anti-LGBT bigotry.  A piece in Politico looks at how the North Carolina GOP seemingly out smarted itself by a mile.  Here are excerpts:
Republicans in North Carolina are increasingly worried that the state’s new “bathroom law” blocking protections for the LGBT community will cost the GOP dearly in November’s elections.
They say the reason is simple: The party that took over North Carolina as champions of small government is now seen by moderate voters as the party of the bathroom police.
Republican lawmakers and strategists in the state say the GOP is badly losing the public relations battle over House Bill 2, the law banning local nondiscrimination ordinances, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed in March. That trend only worsened Monday, when U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the law “state-sponsored discrimination” and compared it to Jim Crow-era laws while announcing new legal action.
The GOP argument that the law is about public safety has been overrun by a coalition including some of America’s biggest businesses, which says HB2 discriminates against transgender people by, among other things, forcing them to use bathrooms that may not correspond to their gender identities — and the law has come to define the Republican Party in North Carolina.
“The reality is that HB2 hurts,” said state Rep. Charles Jeter, the GOP lawmaker responsible for maintaining his party’s majority in the state legislature. “It doesn’t matter that I’m opposed to it or that I’ve called for its repeal … because the mailer to voters [in my race] is going to say that I was a part of the Republican majority that passed the most discriminatory bill in the state. HB2 is going to have reverberations for our party no matter what we do, in November and probably beyond that.”
[T]he strategist said. “Republicans could lose their veto-proof majority in one or both [legislative] chambers, with a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the governor’s race.”
McCrory has staunchly defended the law, especially after the Department of Justice told the state last week that it was in violation of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX, jeopardizing billions of dollars in federal funding.
“Had [McCrory] been a strong leader, he still could’ve fixed this,” Cooper said. “He could’ve vetoed the legislation and said it was too broad and it would hurt our economy, like Gov. Nathan Deal did in Georgia, but he chose not to.”
The Democratic Governors Association started airing TV ads last month targeting McCrory and Republicans for “taking North Carolina backwards,” highlighting economic fallout as companies like PayPal have backtracked on planned expansion in North Carolina since McCrory signed the law.
[O]ther North Carolina Republicans have been eager to keep the conversation on HB2 going because it is popular in rural areas of the state, which have become GOP bastions as the Democratic Party has shifted into the growing cities and melting-pot suburbs.
“When I saw [HB2], I could not believe they were going to pass that legislation,” Cooper said. “I spoke out immediately and said discrimination was wrong, period. We should not write discrimination into our law and it was going to hurt our economy, but they passed it anyway and the governor signed it that night, and that has come true.”
Perhaps the most amazing thing about HB2 is that it is a self-inflicted wound for the North Carolina GOP.  Its sole purpose was to pander to Christofascists - a group that more and more Americans are rightly being seen as motivated solely by hate and bigotry - with no thought of the likely repercussions.  I continue to believe that North Carolina needs to be crucified if you will so that no other state will ever opt to embrace anti-LGBT bigotry again. 

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