Sometimes I can barely stand to be alive in this bizarro state of North Carolina, where otherwise thoughtful people seem to have lost their minds and morals. What I don't know is whether it's just my imagination. Is the NC GOP really that bad?
In one of his early campaign events, Joe Biden cautioned against painting the entire Republican party with the Trump tar brush. Biden says Trump himself is the problem, not the whole GOP. It's almost like he thinks Trump hypnotized everyone into being amoral traitors and liars. It's not really their fault? I can't quite buy it.
Here at home, we have a legislature and a Congressional delegation that eagerly carry Trump's banner and flex their authoritarian muscles on every issue they can think of. The greedy old party is suddenly the party of fascism, with assaults on local government, personal freedoms, and the very earth we depend on to sustain life. It's like they're so focused on destroying things -- institutions, the rule of law, people's lives -- that they don't even stop to consider the damage they're doing. One writer said, "cruelty is the point."
All of which raises an important question: In 2020, how closely can NC candidates themselves to Trump and still hope to win?
The two elections that matter most to me are governor and US Senate. In the governor's race, you can already see that Dan Forest has all but hand-cuffed himself to Trump, with no sign of fear on his part that will backfire. Forest is counting on ignorance, greed, and bigotry to sell like hotcakes in 2020. He has hitched his wagon to a steaming pile of crap and there's no turning back for him.
Tillis is playing it a bit cagey with all of his recent "bipartisan" happy talk, but once you scratch below the surface, he's just like Forest -- he's another one of Trump's buttboys. In Tillis' case, though, you can sense he's not so certain about the deal he's made with the devil. If he thinks Trump could become a liability, Tillis will do that chameleon thing all day long.
I don't know what either candidate will do as Trump becomes even more unhinged over the year ahead, but I suspect they'll try to distance themselves. Our job will be to make sure that doesn't happen. Tillis and Forest support and condone Trump's lies and corruption, and it's a stench so gross that no amount of scrubbing will ever wash it off.