My column comes out on Thursdays, which means Thanksgiving this week, but I’m having a hard time writing a thankful piece.
It’s hard to feel thankful when my inbox is still filled daily with commentary from the governor’s office on the election.
To summarize the 2016 election, let me say that Republicans kicked the Democrats’ butts across much of the country, and also here in North Carolina. Except for the gubernatorial race. Or shall I say the goober-natorial race since it would take a complete goober to be a Republican and lose in a GOP state.
In the Tar Heel state, Donald Trump and Richard Burr easily took the vote, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest received a whopping 93,500 more votes than Gov. Pat McCrory.
Think about that last part a minute. A lot of folks have no idea what the lieutenant governor does, and the public often votes for the governor they like and chooses the Lieutenant of the same party. However, many Republicans didn’t vote straight ticket just because of McCrory.
Roy Cooper proclaimed himself the new governor two weeks ago, but McCrory insisted there were still votes out there that could come his way. That turned out to be true, but not the way the governor thought.
Cooper had a lead of 4,987 votes at the close of election night. So far after adding in provisional and absentee ballots from many districts, Cooper’s lead has grown to 6,154, according to the State Board of Elections.
So now McCrory wants a recount — even before all 100 counties have finished their canvassing duties. And his staff is claiming that McCrory is being ousted by voter fraud.
Let’s face it, Pat. You lost. And you managed to lose while all these other Republicans were winning convincingly. If there were voter fraud, Hillary Clinton would have carried the state.
You lost because of House Bill 2.
There was no baby daddy scandal like the one that knocked John Edwards out of running as Barack Obama’s vice president in 2008. This isn’t Gary Hart dropping out of the 1988 race after being photographed with model Donna Rice.
No, this is backlash from a political move done in an election year — which must have made his campaign manager distraught.
House Bill 2 upset a lot of people for a variety of reasons; and if the bill had been modified to ease some of those reasons, McCrory probably would have won the election.
HB 2 is known as the bathroom bill, and as such a bill, it likely would have received enough support in this Bible Belt state to ensure re-election. However, the bill included a lot of extras that caught the attention of watchdog groups and many citizens.
Anyone who thinks HB 2 is all about bathrooms needs enlightenment. The governor (the former mayor of Charlotte) saw a bathroom ordinance in his hometown about to go into effect April 1. He wanted it stopped and got tremendous support in the General Assembly — once a bunch of additions were put in.
There is a phrase “pork barrel” that refers to sweetening a bill so that it draws more votes. In order to attract votes, the writers of a bill include a bunch of completely unrelated addenda.
Some senator says, “If you want my vote on school reform, you’re gonna have to give my home district $100,000 for road paving so I look good in the public eye.” This sounds preposterous, and yet this sort of thing goes on all the time while crafting bills.
Look at HB 2. The first part deals with bathrooms, which was plenty controversial on its own. But then comes other sections, which deal with wages, hours of work, benefits, as well as requirements for contractors working for a municipality. There was even a section that limited where a person could file a lawsuit, but that section was later amended after public outcry. What in the world do these things have to do with public restrooms? Nothing, but in order to get votes, someone insisted that this stuff be included.
It was bad enough to make enemies of the LGBT community, but these other sections affected regular working stiffs who could vote for an outspoken non-PC presidential candidate, and yet not vote for their governor.
And now Pat wants a full recount, which the Associated Press is stating could cost taxpayers another $1.5 million. You gambled and you lost, Pat. It’s time to quit stalling and admit defeat.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.