Pat McCrory may be North Carolina’s Governor-elect and a hyper-gerrymandered legislature may be solidly in conservative hands, but there was one man who was the biggest winner in the state last night and his name is Art Pope.
The chain store magnate and failed politician of the last century has clearly become the single most powerful figure in the North Carolina political world of the early 21st Century. Through the steady application of boatloads of cash and an incessant drumbeat of fear-based messaging from a multi-tentacled propaganda machine, Pope has emerged as the state’s de facto boss.
From the Governor’s mansion, to the General Assembly to the courts to the university system to the regulatory agencies to the increasingly conservative mainstream news media, Pope lackeys and apologists now run the show in our state (or soon will). Like some long-bullied kid in a horror movie who quietly and ruthlessly engineers the demise of his tormentors, Pope has suddenly emerged as the unchallenged kingpin of the Tar Heel state.
And, barring a miracle, North Carolinians (and the public structures and systems that once set them apart from the rest of the old confederacy) are about to experience the full effects of his backward-looking agenda.
Progressives who want to resist this agenda have their work cut out for them.