In a Microcosm of National Politics, Bigotry May Cost Republicans Dearly in North Carolina

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

While a fair share of America is either reeling or celebrating the apparent demise of the Republican movement due to their choice of a standard bearer, there is a microcosm of the events playing out in a Republican-controlled state. Although not entirely the same, it is beginning to appear that North Carolina’s esteemed governor and avowed bigot, Pat McCrory, is in serious jeopardy of losing his job and it may affect the equally religious Republican legislature.

As told in The Star, there are valid reasons to cross the party lines according to the inexcusable actions of a party’s standard bearer. In a similar manner to how some Republicans “claim” they cannot comport Donald Trump, a nearly identical situation is occurring in North Carolina with Governor Pat McCrory.

The Star relates a story of a “Republican-leaning military veteran” who considers himself an “average American working person” who believes the country going in the wrong direction and that he will be voting for Donald Trump. So far, sounds like a typical Republican moron. However, typical GOP moron or not, the military Veteran said “he will not even thing about voting for the North Carolina Republican Governor, Pat McCrory.”

Apparently, in the same way Trump appears to have crossed a line with some Republicans, McCrory crossed a line in supporting and then viciously defending HB2, the so-called “bathroom law.” The N.C. Republican voter, Bill Hopseker, 56, said, “Doing something like this really tarnishes a person.” Something like this is signing and defending HB2 that legalizes religious, racial, gender, sexual preference and workplace discrimination and prohibits any place in the state from ever raising the minimum wage. Mr. Hopseker continued:

I wouldn’t vote for anybody that does something like that. The logic, I just can’t figure it out at all. Why you would even care? Just because they were born that way – I don’t know. It’s not comprehensible for me. It’s just too stupid.

It’s unclear how long Mr. Hopseker has been a Republican, but stupid or not, the HB2 move is a typically successful electoral ploy that pays dividends every November. Find an issue to incite religious conservatives to frenzy, like same-sex marriage, women’s choice, or in North Carolina’s case, LGBT people’s rights and then ride that frenzied rage to victory in November.

Except this time it isn’t working according to plan. It is noteworthy that Republicans likely wanted to legalize all manner of discrimination, but playing on unfounded fears of the transgender community was a mistake North Carolina Republicans will live to regret. The backlash to HB2 has been so fierce it has Governor Pat McCrory down between 4 and 6 points in polls to his Democratic challenger and attorney general Roy Cooper; analysts all cite HB2 as the reason the incumbent Republican is falling behind.

As the Star noted, this election may well be the first and only time in American history that a political party suffers a defeat over transgender rights, and according to a 15-year-old transgender boy, it is “Karma.” Sky Thompson said, “I, at least in my heart of hearts, like to believe that North Carolina isn’t exactly full of a bunch of bigoted jerks. And it looks like it’s not.”

Even though the reaction to HB2 reflects the quickening evolution of attitudes about LGBT rights, as well as the changing makeup of North Carolina’s electorate, it really reveals how powerful corporations can be as allies in these monumental civil rights wars against the religious Republican movement.

It’s true there are still many N.C. Residents that support discriminating against transgender people, but what they support more are jobs and economic growth; one of Governor Pat McCrory’s central campaign themes. But after a rash of “high-profile” corporate cancellations and job losses in response to HB2, voters are recoiling against McCrory and Republicans.

A transgender activist from Charlotte, Erica Starling, said that “what you’re finding is that the only way to get these guys to listen, really listen, is to hit them financially. And I don’t think he anticipated the blowback.” As this column noted, a major share of the “blowback” is the so-called bathroom law’s broad reach that affects every North Carolina resident who is not a white Christian male.

As a reminder HB2 prevents local governments from setting higher minimum wages, eliminates the rights of all residents to sue for unconstitutional discrimination, and abolishes all local anti-discrimination laws – even those that protect women, the elderly and military veterans. That is the real reason major corporations, high-profile entertainers and the NCAA decision to move seven college championship events, including March Madness out of a bigoted backwater like North Carolina with religious Republicans in charge.

One political science professor and N.C. Politics expert, Tom Eamon, said it may be the loss of basketball that was the final straw. Mr. Eamon said,

You talk about the father, son and Holy Ghost in the trinity. Well, the fourth in the trinity among a lot of North Carolinians could be basketball. That’s really a major preoccupation, almost a religion, among lots of North Carolinians. And all those cancellations begin to get people caring about it who had not cared about it one way or another up to that point.”

One sick twisted group that cares about keeping HB2 and McCrory firmly in place despite the gross financial and job losses to the state is the Extremely powerful religious right. According to a hard-right Christian preacher and president of “the Judeo-Christian values group, Return America,” Ron Baity,

The last five years, there have been vast changes in our state. If this thing goes down, our governor gets voted out, then we’re going to have to bow our heads in shame and say we, not only our state but our nation, has changed drastically in the wrong direction. There’s a lot more involved than finances. And that is the very well-being of oncoming generations.” Baity, like the preponderance of evangelical fundamentalists claims that “transgenderism is a mental sickness that puts its fist in the face of God.” As is typical of unlawful tax-exempt preachers, Baity “has been traveling the state asking pastors to urge their flocks to save McCrory.”

If the polls are any indication, and of course they can change, it looks as if even if the evangelical flocks rush to support McCrory, his job is in jeopardy. The religious were always going to support a bigot like McCrory and that was certainly figured into polling that shows no matter what he does, even blaming anti-discrimination law advocates, he crossed a line that cost jobs, economic growth and what little respectability North Carolina had and it was all in service to, support and defend of a heinous religious law that one hopes costs McCrory, and his religious Republican legislature their jobs.