There are bigger battles to fight
Published September 26, 2019
By Thomas Mills
Yesterday, Democratic House Minority Leader Darren Jackson called out the GOP leadership for lying about the circumstances of the budget veto override vote last week. He says a look at security footage shows Republicans calm and clearly understanding what was happening, contrasting Speaker Tim Moore’s assertion that the vote was unplanned and called hastily. Jackson’s probably right. Still, he should let it go.
The GOP has become a party where truth is relative and winning is a core value. Rules are for suckers and nobody’s been able to hold them accountable because of the partisan nature of our politics and the gerrymandered districts that protect them. It’s a sorry state of affairs, but I don’t think Jackson’s complaint has any long term strategic value.
Democrats like Jackson feel like they’re at a breaking point. Trump lies, destroys norms, breaks laws and Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in Congress have made clear they will never hold him accountable for anything. As Gene Nichol pointed out in a column last weekend, the GOP in North Carolina has long history of distorting facts to move their agenda along. They may have even lied to a federal court in one of the gerrymandering cases. They’ve seen few consequences for their actions. For people like Jackson, it’s especially frustrating when their deception leads to a big win like the budget veto override vote.
That said, there won’t be any consequences this time, either. The veto override is such insider ball that most North Carolinians don’t even know it happened. Republicans don’t have any compelling reason to change their story or any sense of shame. Making public accusations won’t change the circumstances of the vote or even their behavior in the future.
There are bigger battles to fight. Getting some form of redistricting reform will have greater long-term consequences. The state is growing rapidly and the newcomers will change the face of the state. North Carolina is trending blue but it’s going to be awhile before Democrats make up a clear majority. Fairer maps, though, will force some accountability. Trying to make GOP legislators admit they lied won’t.