A Tar Heel political Thanksgiving

| November 30, 2014

turkeyby Brent Laurenz, NC Center for Voter Education, published in The Asheville Citizens-Times, November 26, 2014.

The holiday season is upon us in North Carolina. It’s a time to give thanks and enjoy moments with family and friends. For some, it may even be a time to argue politics with the in-laws as well.

Politics aside, hopefully all of us can take a moment and be thankful that we live in a state with unmatched beauty from the mountains to the coast.

As we’ve seen in North Carolina over the last five years, and as we just saw in this year’s U.S. Senate races, political power can change hands quicker than one might think. But this year, everyone, and all political parties, can have something to be thankful for as they settle down for turkey and pie on Thanksgiving.

For Republicans in North Carolina, it might be a little more obvious what they have to give thanks for this year. Their candidate for the U.S. Senate, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, edged out incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and will soon be making his way to Washington.

In the state’s U.S. House races, Republicans won the open District 7 seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre, which now gives the GOP a 10-3 advantage in North Carolina’s congressional delegation.

Republicans even managed to knock off an incumbent Democrat in the state Senate, further expanding their super-majority to a 34-16 advantage over Democrats in that chamber.

All is not doom and gloom for Tar Heel Democrats though. In the midst of a very good year for Republicans at home and across the country, Democrats managed to beat four incumbent Republicans in the N.C. House of Representatives.

While Democrats this year never had a realistic shot at winning back either chamber in the N.C. General Assembly, or even threatening to break Republican super-majorities, they can give thanks for winning those handful of competitive races in the N.C. House.

Let’s not forget about the Libertarians either. Their nominee for the U.S. Senate, Sean Haugh, captured 3.75 percent of the statewide vote in that race, far outpacing recent performances by Libertarian candidates in our state.

No matter what side of the aisle you might fall on, hopefully you’ll take a few minutes this holiday season to reflect on the blessings of our democracy. The American experiment in democracy is rare in human history, and we should all be thankful that we live in a place where, even if the elections don’t go your way, you can have confidence that the results are legitimate and the next election is just around the corner.

It’s a notion we too often take for granted, as evidenced by more than half of North Carolina’s voters not casting a ballot this year. Our system may be imperfect and in need of some important reforms, but it’s the place where we can all come together as equals and make our voices heard. And for that, I’m thankful.

Brent Laurenz is executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education and a contributor to TheVoterUpdate.com. He can be contacted at [email protected]

 http://www.citizen-times.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/11/26/tar-heel-political-thanksgiving/19541457/

Category: NC SPIN Perspectives - Opinions from NC Leaders & Organizations

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