Good Morning, BlueNC. It's been ages since I voyaged onto this front page, and I want you to know I've missed you! The following was posted at Scrutiny Hooligans earlier today, and I'm posting it here as well because I would like to broaden this conversation to include everyone who cares about progressive politics in North Carolina.
Buncombe County was almost perfect last night in its election of candidates who care about progressive values like the environment, labor, and education. Heath Shuler, Martin Nesbitt, Patsy Keever, Susan Fisher, Marvin Pope, Patricia Young, Van Duncan, and the others won through cooperation and the help of a mighty county Democratic Party GOTV effort. Elaine Marshall even won in Buncombe County!
However, with the ascendancy of the GOP in the House and Senate in Raleigh and in the House of Representatives in Washington, it’s time to reflect on our progressive goals and strategies for the near term and long term. Where Republican leaders want to work together and come to common solutions, we ought to greet them with open arms while stifling our surprise. Where they want to steamroll, we ought to provide a spirited opposition.
It was going to be a tough budget year no matter who was in charge. Now it’s going to be a tough budget year led by folks who’ve promised to reduce revenue and cut services from our state government. It’s also time to redraw the lines of our electoral districts, and a monopoly on power during this process does not bode well.
I will huddle with folks at the municipal level to determine our legislative agenda going forward and to figure out what to do if legislators restrict Asheville’s revenue choices even further. I’ll huddle with social justice leaders to determine what to do if anti-marriage forces determine that bigotry ought to be enshrined in a constitutional amendment. I’ll huddle with Democratic Party leaders to plan a strengthening of our organization in the 11th Congressional District. I’ll huddle with political leaders to determine how to cope with the possibility of a decimation of our public education system, mental health services, and homelessness services.
Republican leaders in North Carolina may choose to govern by recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable among us. They may recognize the need to loosen the legislative shackles placed on Asheville. They may decide not to openly discriminate against LGBT North Carolinians. Here’s hoping. And while we wait and hope, it’s vital that we also get to work. This election is not a call for progressives to fall back, it is a call to redouble our efforts and refocus our politics.
I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. It’s time to put ideas on the table. Criticism and gloating are acceptable, though I’ll urge you to be as constructive as you can.