On Friday the 13th, UNC's Board of Governors is meeting to orchestrate their $2.5 million payout to white supremacy. The racist cowards at the BOG negotiated behind closed doors "settle" a lawsuit that had no legal standing and had not yet been filed. Come out bright and early to tell the Board of Governors that their Silent Sam Sham is morally reprehensible and puts our communities at risk. NO Payout. No BOG. No Racist UNC. Friday, 12/13, 7:45 AM - 9:45 AM, Center for School Leadership Development at UNC-CH.

We open this week with a bang: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is running against Gov. Cooper in 2020, uttered a falsehood so complete that it flew straight over shock and landed in Eyeroll Territory: he claimed at an immigration forum last month that there were "tens of thousands of children in our state that have been victims of these [undocumented] violent criminals already" who will "grow up with that on their mind." It's not just a wrong number; it's a wrong number by several orders of magnitude: “North Carolina crime statistics show just about 2,000 reported rapes of all kinds in the state annually.” Granted, that's only reported cases; the true amount is higher. Even so, Forest's claim is both par for the Republican course these days and yet another ticked box in the very, very, very long list of reasons why they've got to go in 2020.

It's my pleasure to introduce you to (or remind you of) this shiny-new website: thehofellerfiles.com. The entire database isn't up there yet, but hopefully it'll be exactly what it says on the tin, curated by none other than Stephanie Hofeller, the late Thomas Hofeller's daughter. I also recommend you follow her on Twitter.

gif via giphy

This week and last week have seen several groups of students, faculty, and staff protesting the UNC Board of Governors' decision to hand over Silent Sam to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with an obscenely bloated figure of $2.5 million for its “safekeeping”. They're also speaking out against interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz's lack of desire to do anything except allow the deal to go through, thus legitimizing UNC's payout to an organization that values white supremacy. Full disclosure: I am an alumna of UNC, and it pains me to say that more and more often now, I'm ashamed to call myself so. This Friday I will stand with the students, faculty, and staff demanding the payment be retracted, and I hope you all will stand with me.

If you haven't read Patti's post from last Thursday, hie thee thither. I refer you to it today not to prepare you for updates on the lawsuits or the map-drawing; that part of the saga is, as Patti said, over for now. What I'd like, instead, is to shift focus from the process of map-drawing and the maps themselves to the consequences of that process.

First, I must quote the same piece from Billy Ball that Patti linked last week, specifically this line:

“Feel that anger. Indeed, feel it white and hot in your guts. Because if there is anything in this moment that plays to the majority leadership’s advantage, if there is anything that our unrepentant gerrymanderers want you to feel, it is nothing at all.”

A great tidal rage is-- should be-- one consequence. The other one is-- should be-- a gladdening and galvanizing thing: two districts which used to belong to Republicans now are majority Democrat, and Rep. George Holding of the 2nddistrict, has announced he will not run in that district again. Rep. Mark Walker, who represents the other red-turned-blue district (6th), is “exploring other options”, namely, challenging Thom Tillis. We have the best chance at flipping these districts, but we must not stop there.

State Rep. Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland)'s district was redrawn to include more registered Republicans, and his seat is both vulnerable and a must-have for both parties. So far, another Democrat has filed to run against him, but Republican challengers are not far behind. If you know any Democrats in this district, urge them to get involved and protect this seat!

Candidates have had a little over a week to file for office (filing closes Dec. 20th), and so far things are looking rather more red than blue on the House and Senate filing lists. Good news waits, though, when you hit those retirement trackers and see a sea of Rs. Use every little bit of good news as kindling to keep the light of your anger bright, because Gov. Roy Cooper, along with every other Democrat running, will need us in the coming months. Gov. Cooper is officially running for reelection, but so far he's the only Democrat. Two Republicans have risen to oppose him, including our friend Lt. Gov. Dan "I'm So Racist I Physically Cannot Avoid Using Racist Dogwhistles When I Talk About Immigrants" Forest.

Hold your light and remember: a large part of the Republicans' strategy is cooperation and partnership on a level Democrats find it difficult to achieve and maintain, because we tend to value freedom of thought more than ironclad commitment to a single ideal. But it's this authoritarian bent that allows Republicans to do what the GOP appellate court judges in North Carolina are doing for the first time ever: band together and run as a group. Though the strategy could backfire if one candidate runs into trouble in their campaign, it stands to pay off well. On a national level, we've seen the damage a Republican court can do-- and we know what it might do very soon now. North Carolina's Supreme Court is overwhelmingly Democrat (thank goodness), but now, the Republicans are doing what they can to turn the tide again.

Hold your light and take heart: Republicans are drawing together in protective huddles because they sense their grip on power is weakening. To wit, three North Carolina public officials have abandoned the Republican party. I urge you to read and absorb their reasons for doing so, and take a valuable lesson from their words: while we on the left are straining to pull the Democratic party even further left, championing some progressive ideals that some unaffiliated voters, including these three individuals, might find “too partisan”, we also have a critical opportunity, even a responsibility, to draw in these defectors and others who find the extreme partisanship that has plagued our state and country so distasteful. We do that by reframing the ideals of progressivism to be attractive to these people who find themselves shut out of the mainstream political conversation. We adapt the messaging of progressivism to speak to the values these people already hold. We emphasize the common ground between progressivism and their worldviews. This might seem difficult, but it is possible. We, like the three Transylvania Commissioners, believe that “Leaders should honor and defend fundamental American institutions, leaders should value truth and integrity, and leaders should strive to represent all citizens.” Like them, we also believe “that GOP leadership has strayed from those principles.” Where there's common ground, there is partnership.

I hate to say it, but we could stand to take a lesson from the Republican appellate court judge candidates. In order to win in 2020, we must not only roll the blue tide on; we must make sure it is strong enough to overtake the bulwarks, breakwaters, and bulkheads the Republicans are so good at building.

Tags: (ICYMI, NCGA, immigration, Dan Forest, Silent Sam, 2020 elections, redistricting)

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