This article recently appeared in the pages of Charlotte's Creative Loafing:
It will be a historic week of celebration for Democrats when President Obama comes to Charlotte for his party's convention in September, but the scene is likely to be an ironic footnote before a period of darkness. Come November, state Democrats are at high risk of losing statewide elections that would shift political power for years to come — and unravel decades of their predecessors' work.
What is at stake for state Democrats? Control of both the General Assembly and the governor's mansion, at least one of which they've held since the beginning of the 20th century.
When Graham stood for election in 1950, he faced a semblance of the old Democratic party in arch-conservative Willis Smith. It was the ugliest election in nearly 50 years, as Smith accused Graham of having communist sympathies — and painted him as an anti-segregationist, a widely unpopular label in a state still in Jim Crow's clutches.
"That was a milestone," Campbell said, "and also the birth of the progressive wing of the North Carolina Democratic Party and the conservative reactionary wing that would become the Republican Party of today."
The rest can be found here: http://clclt.com/charlotte/a-donkey-of-a-different-color/Content?oid=2798911