The Life and Legacy of George H.W. Bush

CHARLOTTE, NC — The funeral of the 41st president is Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., with President Trump and the first lady in attendance, as well as former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and their wives, and world leaders such as Charles, prince of Wales. They will honor the life and legacy of Bush — the former World War II pilot, vice president and president — which is both outstanding and complicated.

N.C. Lame-Duck Session Begins, with Voter ID the Chief Task

CHARLOTTE, NC —  In the midterm elections, North Carolina voters delivered a check on the state general assembly’s Republican super-majorities, while also approving a voter ID amendment to the state constitution. Will state lawmakers be able to craft and approve a bill before the holiday break, a new year and new membership? GOP lawmakers hope so. Previous attempts at voter ID bills and voting restrictions did not pass muster with the courts.

While Republicans and supporters say photo voter ID is needed for security and to prevent fraud, opponents say it is a form of voter suppression, mostly affecting minorities, the elderly, students and the poor, a way to solve a problem that does not exist. (Mary C. Curtis)

And what else is on the docket for this lame-duck session?

Four-year Terms for Charlotte City Council Members?

Charlotte, NC — It’s not a new idea, a switch from two-year to four-year terms for members of the Charlotte city council. Those in favor say it would decrease turnover and allow the council to get more done. But even its members are split on whether this is the right course, and whether voters should weigh in. A move to lengthen County Commissioners’ terms failed with voters; would a similar move by the council do any better?

The State of America’s Election System

CHARLOTTE, NC — The United States of confusion – at least that’s one way to describe the way we run our elections, with each state responsible for its own elections system. That doesn’t cause much controversy when the margin of victory or defeat is wide enough, so a few thousand votes one way or another won’t affect the outcome. But when elections are close – as many are in these divided times – it’s an invitation to lawsuits, chaos and doubts from voters on whether and if their ballots count, or are counted. The 2018 midterm elections show just how this formula does and does not work.

2018 Midterm Takeaways

CHARLOTTE. NC —  North Carolina may not have had a senator or governor’s race on the ballot, but there was no shortage of drama in contests that determined GOP super-majorities in the state legislature, controversial amendments to the state constitution, Charlotte bond issues and judicial races. Several U.S. Congressional contests in North Carolina also drew national attention. (Mary Curtis)

WCCB political contributor, Mary C. Curtis offers more context on key local and national takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections.

President Trump Wants to End Birthright Citizenship

CHARLOTTE, NC — President Trump is returning to one of his presidential campaign themes; immigration. The President claims he can defy constitution and end birthright citizenship with an executive order. The move is seen as President Trump’s latest immigration talking point with less than a week until midterm elections. WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis offers more perspective.

Mary C. Curtis: Governments and the Media

CHARLOTTE, NC —  The president and the press.

It was not the first time. When President Trump recently praised Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a reporter during Gianforte’s campaign last year, calling him his kind of guy, it was not that surprising. The president has called the press enemies of the state. He has called journalists “sick people,” accused the news media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage” and questioned their patriotism. “I really think they don’t like our country,” he has said.

And in his rallies, he often makes members of the press his foil, pointing them out to the crowd.

When Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing (and now it is clear he was killed) after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, Trump at first was muted in his response, though he has now called it a terrible “cover-up,” and his administration has revoked visas for some of the country’s agents.

What will be the eventual fallout from the antagonistic relationship between the president and the press, in a country where freedom of the press is protected in the first amendment to the Constitution?

Early Voting Starts in North Carolina, with a Lot at Stake

CHARLOTTE, NC — Though the general election is not until Nov. 6, early voting sites open today in Mecklenburg County. 19 sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The final day for early voting will be Sat., Nov. 3, with all 19 sites open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What’s at stake? A lot, nationally and at the state level, with six controversial amendments to the state constitution causing additional electoral drama.

Is enthusiasm high? Voter registration numbers are up, with more people, especially younger voters, registered unaffiliated.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Nikki Haley Resigns at UN Ambassador. Why Now and What’s Next for Her?

Nikki Haley rose quickly in politics, from governor of South Carolina to a player on the international stage as ambassador to the United Nations. She became a standout in the Trump administration, one of few high-profile women serving. She says she is stepping down at the end of the year because it’s time for a break, though many are speculating on the timing and what her future political plans may be. At a White House appearance with Trump on Tuesday, both expressed admiration for one another — and she denied plans for a 2020 run for office. (Mary C. Curtis)

How Will Charlotte Stay Above the Partisan Fray for RNC 2020?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte was out in front, and almost alone, in vying to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, set – for now – to nominate President Trump for a second term. The city won, and now we have more details.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel made the announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center this week alongside Mayor Vi Lyles and White House Senior Advisor (and presidential daughter-in-law and North Carolina native) Lara Trump: The convention will take place at the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte from August 24, 2020 through August 27, 2020.

So, as planning seriously starts, how will the Queen City pull it off, peacefully and professionally?