Virginians are at least one or two steps ahead of us North Carolinians. OK, maybe more. We are in no position to make suggestions, I know. But Virginia has a unique chance to at least hold one house in the GA, to “get it left,” so to speak. As I explained in a recent diary, Virginia has a Democratic governor, who compared to those I will mention in a moment, causes many Dems across the country to have “governor envy.”
Governors from many GOP-held states occupy a “Governor’s Hall of Shame.” Abbott of Texas, Brownback of Kansas, Walker of Wisconsin, Snyder of Michigan, Scott of Florida, and McCrory of North Carolina are bringing their states down. There are others, of course. Though they lie about their negative “accomplishments,” they are not fooling many.
Their legislatures are even worse. Some are actively trying to tie the hands of their state governments for all time, with the oxymoronically named Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). This clone of the awful Colorado ALEC-driven TABOR is eyed by NC legislative destructos and winding its way into discussions. Such an amendment would cement austerity and relegate public schools, roads and other good things states once did to history. The Tea Party owned GAs package it as a “bill of rights,” specifying in part that taxpayers must be treated with respect. It’s about so much more than that. But low-information voters won’t get it until their public schools shutter.
So many of the NC schools, their students and their teachers are amazing. The quality and rigor is astonishing. But instead of rewarding teachers, the GA finds ways to rig the data and punish them. The GA is hell-bent on driving away experienced teachers, who are leaving in droves. Schools start Monday and TAs have no contracts. Some teachers haven’t been hired. According to NC Policy Watch, there is a 27% drop in students signing up for teacher education programs at UNC. The top salary for senior teachers is now down to $50,000. Some veteran teachers have gotten pay cuts. It takes 10 years to get to $40,000. However, as the legislative assault on public schools continues, no school, even the high-achieving ones in NC are really lucky. All the accomplished, hard working students who succeed do so despite the legislature.
What is also clear is that there must be a huge correlation between legislators doing poorly in school themselves and those who chose to run for public office in states like NC. It is the high school underachievers/bullies revenge.
Voters in NC understand how dreadful our legislature (GA) is. And voters’ opinions tend toward the progressive. They want Medicaid expansion, public schools funded, the minimum wage increased, and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan supported. Voters are not impressed with Sen. Thom Tillis (how that title rankles!) either. The question is: Will they do anything about it? And more to the point, if we do something electorally, will the GA nullify the effects of our elections, as they did for Wake County, the city of Greensboro, and the NC State Supreme Court. Folks voted in ways our GA didn’t like, so the GA made sure it couldn’t happen again.
If you don’t defeat the GOP, you will have things like TABOR, election nullification and more to deal with too. You will also have a state like ours which, despite constitutional requirement, thinks it can abolish all environmental regs and “flip off” the EPA. Oh, yeh, Virginia doesn’t have such a Constitutional requirement. There’s one good thing about NC, for as long as it lasts.
It is hard to overcome all the low information voters out there. To do it, you need conversations better than a phone bank call permits. 10 conversations a week could help. Talk to folks outside of phone banking. (People hate those calls.) Talk to your locker room buddies, friends over a weekend drink, family members who think it doesn’t matter if they vote, and all those who want better for their kids’ schools. Tell them to watch what is happening in our state. And tell them not to NC Virginia.
[Note: Aside from politics, I really love my state, my family and friends here. There are so many wonderful aspects about living here, just not the politics]