Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.

What does an Ohio special election say about the November midterm elections?

In an Ohio congressional district that has sent Republicans to Washington for decades, the special election race on Tuesday is currently too close to call, with Republican Troy Balderson leading Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than one percentage point. What does it mean for chances of a November blue or red wave? Did President Trump’s weekend rally there help Balderson? What about suburban GOP women? What about turnout? Will Democrats re-think Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and will that to help their chances?

More questions, as the two Ohio candidates will meet again in November.

Opinion: We Just Can’t Shake That Old-Time Religion

“Bless your heart” is a phrase I got to know well when I moved from the Northeast to the South several years ago. Though often spoken in soft, sympathetic tones, there was nothing blessed about the sentiment. And when those three syllables were delivered in an email, usually after I wrote a column a reader did not like, they landed like a punch to the gut.

Oddly enough, it was commentary on faith and values that elicited quite a bit of high dudgeon, topped only by the historically reliable topic of race, which, like religion, carries the taint of a North versus South, “them” against “us” spiritual split.

It was no surprise, then, that one of the most recent dust-ups in the sandbox called the U.S. House of Representatives was over religion — most specifically, the faith, message and suitability of the chamber’s chaplain — or that it, too, had its share of regional side-choosing.

Opinion: Showing Your Gun — A New Campaign Strategy?

A U.S. House race in South Carolina may depend on how you define the word “brandish,” as in, what exactly do you call it when Republican Congressman Ralph Norman pulls out his gunin a Rock Hill diner meet-and-greet with constituents?

Though the state’s law enforcement division and attorney general have concluded “this is not a prosecutable offense,” Republicans and Democrats are weighing the political plusses and minuses of the recent event in light of a midterm race that gets more interesting by the day.

Opinion: A Veteran Takes on a House Incumbent — and Other N.C. Political Tales

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Purplish-red North Carolina is hard to figure out. That may be why national eyes tend to watch local, state and federal races for clues of political trends, particularly whether or not the Donald Trump phenomenon is fading. Or perhaps it’s just the state’s unpredictability and the entertainment value of its outsize personalities who make news, even when they wish they had not.

Mia Love is black, Mormon, Republican and blowing people’s minds

Mia Love is already getting more attention than most of her newly elected congressional colleagues. She is Haitian American, a woman, daughter of immigrants, Mormon, Republican and from Utah, all things that she seems eager to boast about, except when she isn’t, as those who contrasted her post-election speech with a subsequent CNN interview noted. But her own confusion about when to tout her history-making achievement and when to downplay it is more than matched with the contortions of others who are trying to figure her out.

 

The House now turns to the Violence Against Women Act

Even as most of the headlines coming out of Washington these days contain the word sequester, another bill is moving along, making progress without quite so much drama. But the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in the Senate and due for action in the House, is no less important.

House Republicans last week released their own version of the legislation and are prepared to take it to a floor vote this week. While House Republicans are confident of the effectiveness of their bill, it has not resolved disputed differences with the Senate proposal.

“I cannot say enough about the revolution that was the Violence Against Women Act,” said Sarah Tofte, director of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation. “Those of us who work on these issues, who care about these issues, see it as forming the core of our country’s response on violence against women and girls.

 

 

How will the Violence Against Women Act fare in Congress?

A bill reauthorized twice since its inception in 1994 stalled last year. Will a new version gain bipartisan support?

Sanford vs. Sanford? Dream on, political (and drama) junkies

Pop some popcorn and take a front-row seat. The South Carolina electoral scene, endlessly mesmerizing in a train-wreck sort of way, could feature a Sanford vs. Sanford contest. Though it’s unlikely, that imaginary race tops the holiday wish list for anyone who likes politics with a heavy dose of soap opera.

Former governor Mark Sanford is seriously considering a run for the U.S. House seat now held by Tim Scott, a former top aide first told CNN late Thursday. On Monday, Scott was chosen by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the Senate seat of Jim DeMint, who is departing to run the conservative Heritage Foundation. Mark Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, was on the short list to take DeMint’s place. Many observers, though, thought being nominated was honor enough for Haley’s long-time ally, especially helpful if she expressed interest in running to replace Scott. He is set to be sworn into the Senate in early January.

All the players in this particular game of political musical chairs are Republicans, this being South Carolina, a virtual one-party red state. Though all share conservative positions, each lugs very distinctive baggage.