Here’s the situation right now in North Carolina: After a contentious governor’s election, a Democrat, Roy Cooper, will be taking over as governor in January. However, the state legislature is still dominated by Republicans, thanks to gerrymandering that has since been ruled illegal. The state, which is roughly evenly split between blue and red, will not vote for legislators under the new redistricting plan until next year.
In an effort to ensure that they don’t lose any power under a Democratic governor, shifting demographics, and redrawn districts, the North Carolina Republicans have sought to strip the incoming Governor of much of his power. They have sought — and succeeded now — in passing bills to reduce the number of Civil Service appointments from 1500 to 30, they’ve stripped him of his ability to appoint University of North Carolina trustees, and they have passed a bill forcing the Governor to submit his cabinet picks to the State Senate for approval for the first time in the state’s history.
Those bills were passed despite massive protests outside of the general assembly last night.
Peaceful protestors were arrested and forced to leave.
Even journalists who were not protesting — and only doing their jobs — were arrested.
Now being told to leave. Am told this includes media and I'll be arrested if I don't leave. Politely said they'll have to arrest me. #NCPol— JoekillianPW (@JoekillianPW) December 15, 2016
Will continue live-tweeting as long as I can. Looks like I'll be arrested shortly. #NCPol— JoekillianPW (@JoekillianPW) December 15, 2016
Safe but arrested. Losing phone shortly. In transit to jail. Keep covering things until I am out. Could be a long night.— JoekillianPW (@JoekillianPW) December 15, 2016
In other words, the Republicans are making all of these changes behind closed doors — the door are locked and police surround the building — and these are same Republicans whose gerrymandering plan targeted African Americans with “surgical precision.”
You can call it a power grab, or you can call it a coup. Whatever one wants to call it, it is f*cked up. Not only are Dems displeased with it, but even former Republican governors are disgusted with it.
This morning, during an “open session” (again, this open session has barred the public from attending, and police are surrounding the building), Republicans are planning to pass another law that would change the makeup for county election boards. Currently, there are three board members in each county, two from the controlling party and one from the other. With Cooper in charge, they plan to even the numbers — two and two.
But here’s where it gets even more infuriating: Ultimate control over election decisions will alternate years, with the Republicans controlling election decisions during high-turnout election years and Democrats controlling during off years.
Left out of this so-called “bipartisan” bill debate? GOP chairs all 100 county boards of elections in high-turnout even-numbered years #ncga— Democracy NC (@democracync) December 16, 2016
This is insane. This is the end of Democracy in North Carolina, and if it survives court rulings, look out other swing states.