Governor McCrory and legislative Republicans have a theory: Cut taxes and regulations, and jobs will flow in. What if they’re wrong – not only on the economics, but also on the politics?
What if their theory leads to North Carolina becoming a more Democratic state?
The question arises from two recent conversations: one with an experienced economic developer and the other with a local real estate agent. Both said their prospects today are asking: “What’s going on in North Carolina?”
(Which was the first question, though he used more colorful language, that John Oliver asked in his show Saturday night. He added: “North Carolina is the meth lab of democracy.”)
That word is getting around the country. If McCrory, Berger, Tillis & Co. are wrong, companies aren’t saying: “Let’s get on down to North Carolina where taxes are low and regulations are non-existent.” They’re saying: “Are the smart, creative people I need going to go there – or stay there?” And: “Does my family want to live there?”
So here is what will happen. Cities like Raleigh and Durham and Charlotte will do what Austin did with its “Keep Austin Weird” campaign. They’ll tell the rest of the world: “We’re not like the other yahoos here. We’re different. Come on down.”
The people and the jobs will keep coming to Raleigh and Durham and Charlotte, the Democratic areas. Nobody will go to the Republican strongholds – the small towns and rural areas. Those places will wither away as their young people move away.