My last blog – a scenario wherein Donald Trump wins the Presidency – depressed some Democrats. And more than a few Republicans. So here is a Happier New Year scenario, in the form of a news story that might be written at the end of next year:
In the wake of sweeping election defeats in 2016, Republican leaders in North Carolina are joining the call for the party to address its national image problems.
Defeated incumbents Pat McCrory and Richard Burr said in a joint statement, “It is clear that our party is not appealing effectively to young people, women and minorities, especially Hispanics. That must change.”
Burr and McCrory agreed with national Republicans that Donald Trump’s unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination left the party with a negative image among many voters. They blamed the party’s defeats here and across the nation on the bruising GOP Presidential battle, which led to Trump’s angry speech and walkout at the party’s national convention.
There was also widespread agreement among Republicans that the Ted Cruz-Carley Fiorina ticket dug the hole even deeper. Voters learned why Cruz had become the most hated man in the Senate. Fiorina’s suggestion at a debate that America save Social Security by euthanizing recipients at age 70 was widely viewed as a fatal gaffe.
Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, carried more than 35 states and won more than 400 electoral votes. They carried North Carolina by a surprising four-point margin.
Democrats in North Carolina celebrated not only the defeat of Burr and McCrory, but also significant gains in the General Assembly.
Democrats exceeded their goal of taking House seats from Republicans and overcoming the GOP’s super-majority there. Four Republican House seats in Wake County alone flipped to Democratic control. Democrats are now within easy striking distance of a House majority by the 2020 elections.
Democrats bemoaned not having recruited more candidates for General Assembly races, as they won districts that had been considered safely Republican. They even made surprising gains in the state Senate.
Republican legislative leaders, meanwhile, suggested that now may be the time to pass a non-partisan redistricting plan to end gerrymandering.
The biggest upset of the election was the victory of Democratic blogger Thomas Mills in the 8th Congressional District, long a Republican stronghold. “When I filed to run last December, I never expected to win,” Mills said. “Now I have to actually serve in Congress. I don’t know if I’ll ever live it down.”
Recently, national Republican leaders announced plans to – once again – address the party’s lack of appeal beyond its aging white base. “Our base is dying, and we can no longer allow its anger to overwhelm our positive message,” said Marco Rubio, who is seen as positioning himself for another presidential run in 2020.
So Merry Christmas to all – Democrats, Independents and even Republicans!