Don't feel bad if you're not able to keep up with all the utter craziness going on in the NCGA right now. Not even the GOP, who started all this mess, seems to understand the consequences of its own actions (the linked article will make you chuckle; I promise).
On Monday, a three-judge panel once again ruled North Carolina's Congressional districts to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered, upholding its original ruling from January. This puts a pretty big question mark beside the primary elections that have already been held, as this ruling makes them based on illegal maps. The News & Observer hosts two excellent explainers here and here that answer many questions you may have about what could possibly happen to our elections in November. We wait. But the (possible) good news is we won't have to wait for long, as election day is a scant two and a half months away. There have been murmurs that the November election might include a new primary for US Congressional seats and the general election for those seats would be held at some point before the new assembly convenes in January, however that's just one of the many choices the courts proposed to solve the gerrymandering issue. We WILL elect all the other seats on the ballot on Nov 6, so our get out the vote work continues!
In yet another special session, the NCGA also retooled the ballot language for two constitutional amendments after having lost a lawsuit brought by Governor Roy Cooper. The changes are not to Governor Cooper's satisfaction, and he has said he will pursue further legal action this week. Check Monday's post for more information on these amendments. The GOP is frustrated that courts have relied on the Constitution to stop its attacks on the separation of powers, so it's attempting to change the Constitution itself. This is about much more than a political power struggle. These amendments will affect the everyday lives of all North Carolinians. They were crafted in secret and designed to deceive, and they should not be put to voters at all.
In slightly better news, the courts confirmed on Monday that Chris "the Enemy" Anglin would be able to retain his Republican affiliation on the November ballot. The GOP, fearing he would split the Republican vote and hurt their supermajority, changed their own rule--which allowed a candidate to hold of declaring party affiliation until the filing deadline--in the middle of the election season. Here's some more background on the Anglin case.
Dig a bit further into the subtext of these three developments and you'll find a profound connection between them: they're all symptoms of the disease that has gripped the GOP in the last few years, that compels them to do anything and everything– within the boundaries of law and order and beyond them– to retain and grow their power.
From the Washington Post on the gerrymandering ruling:
"The North Carolina case presented a stark example of partisan intent, with legislators making clear that the map was drawn to help one party over another.
"'I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,' said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly, addressing fellow legislators when they passed the plan in 2016. 'So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.'
"He added: 'I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.'"
Directly from the source: the NC GOP is abandoning good faith, fair play, and the rule of every kind of law there is and directly injecting a narrow-minded, undemocratic, un-American agenda into an entire political system upon which an entire state's well-being rests.
With the absentee ballot mailing date– mandated by federal law as Sept. 22– so close at hand, trying to redraw the Congressional district maps would require multiple levels of bureaucratic wizardry and miracle-making, and I don't know about you, but the phrase "bureaucratic miracle" is a tad oxymoronic. Couple this with the tangle of constitutional amendment updates and shifts– with a Sept. 1st deadline for the finalized ballot language–and you have what promises to be an interesting next few weeks.
Hang in there. Remember everything that's happening here. Remember how meanly GOP is treating our government, our state, our people. Remember, remember, we vote in November.