North Carolina historically has had extremely high thresholds for third parties to get on the ballot, and for independent candidates to run for office. Our ballot access requirements have been much more stringent than almost every other state in the union.
Brock's bill would reduce dramatically the thresholds for required signatures to gain ballot access. It provides the change that is very much needed.
North Carolina's establishment media has not reported on the progress of the bill this week as far as I can tell. But it is a big story that reflects a major breakthrough potentially occurring in the state of North Carolina. Whereas citizens have been mostly chained to a two-party duopoly, this bill would provide the wherewithal for us to have more choices available to us.
My hope is that the House will continue to proceed with passage of this important piece of legislation.
Skip Alston has prevailed with his battle within the county Democratic Party and will return to the Guilford County Commissioners' board. The Guilford Democratic Party has become a virtual three-ring circus; and it was very unlikely this crowd would produce anyone even remotely good for the county.
This is a development, however, that changes the dynamics instantaneously on that board.
There has not been nearly as much racial strife and division since Alston left. He was a very divisive figure, and loved to pick fights and race-bait. His initial rise to power a quarter century ago occurred around the time he was leading huge demonstrations to get his constituents free medical care at the county health department in the face of Republican budget cuts.
But he is a wily politician who can successfully co-opt unprincipled Republican politicians. He also loves to coddle criminals and undermine law enforcement. And of course, his period of representation on the county board under Democratic control brought numerous tax and spending increases over a period of nearly two decades. That left the current set of Republicans a huge mess they had to clean up.
The Republicans are going to need a strategy to deal with Skip Alston. He has every right to a vote representing his district. But I think they ought to strictly limit the degree to which they engage with him; and instead might need to isolate him because he is bad news. They must emphasize that they are working for the taxpayer, and for the citizen who wants public safety. They also need to explain repeatedly that they are trying to create an environment that will attract good jobs.
And they ought to proceed with truly conservative governance even if it means split 5-4 votes. Don't feel that you must get Democratic votes to proceed, because with Skip aboard, that will be more difficult. Limit the time commissioners can speak at meetings, allow him his time, and move on. County citizens need to be deeply suspicious of any Republican commissioner who cozies up to Alston.
Earlier this week, the Republican commissioners were discussing a 2 cent decrease in property taxes. Good. Find more budgetary reductions also with the upcoming budget. Guard against the temptation to buy into feel-good programs and initiatives.
Our county must act as a counterweight to the brazen irresponsibility of the Greensboro City Council. And that remains a priority even with Skip Alston serving on the board.
While this is a vast improvement over the status quo, it falls far short of what the national Republicans were promising over a period of six years.
It would also place some of the most important decisions in the hands of Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly. Should we feel good about that?
After the Republicans took over the General Assembly after the 2010 elections, they produced a lot of good legislation for a period of four years. While their work was by no means perfect, and fell short of the conservative ideal in some important respects, they did a good job nonetheless.
After 2014, however, things went quickly downhill. The last couple of years have been pretty bad overall in the General Assembly.
Years ago, to their credit, Raleigh Republicans took a bold stand that they would not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. They took some political heat for that stance, but it was the right position to adopt.
If some of the most important aspects of Obamacare are thrown in their lap, they would need to be equally bold in the face of public pressure. Unfortunately, they have shown little sign over the last couple of years that they are equal to the task of insisting upon limited government and freer markets. They have shown little sign that they possess the fortitude to dismantle a highly politicized welfare program.
Conservatives throughout the state need to communicate to their state representatives-- in both the NC House and the NC Senate-- that they expect Obamacare to be completely and utterly dismantled. They need to communicate this clearly and emphatically. Otherwise, the crowd we currently have in Raleigh will act in a cowardly manner; and will refuse to take action in order to protect themselves, just like their counterparts in Washington.
But the benefit to the state of North Carolina would be enormous if they remove this albatross from our necks. The reduced cost of insurance would attract many more employers to the state of North Carolina. Conversely, if our legislators fail to take action, we will lose many jobs to other states that act as better stewards.