Commentary

GOP support for the free market and competition? Not when it comes to NC elections

For a group of politicians so passionate about the “genius” of “free markets” and “competition,” North Carolina’s conservative leaders sure do whistle a different tune when it comes to elections. In case you missed it, the lead Sunday editorial in the Greensboro News & Record explains:

“It’s disappointing that 2016 will be another year of limited political competition in North Carolina. That’s intentional, and the design was just reaffirmed by the state Supreme Court.

While there are plenty of candidates running for governor, the U.S. Senate and some congressional seats, many legislative seats will be uncontested.

On ballots next November, 57 out of 120 state House races and 15 out of 50 state Senate contests will show just one candidate — barring the late entry of independent contenders via petition.

No wonder, when legislators drew their own districts. While they may favor competition in education or business, they fear competition in politics and do everything they can to avoid it.”

Unfortunately, as the editorial goes on to explain, North Carolina’s GOP-controlled Supreme Court recently upheld the scheme and its transparent packing of minority voters into a handful of districts:

“The North Carolina court majority found it permissible to use the 50 percent-plus standard for minority districts. It wasn’t concerned about the partisan motives of Republican legislators. Traditionally, redistricting has been an exercise meant to gain partisan advantage. Democrats did it when they were in power, and Republicans are even better at it.

The losers are voters who ought to have more choices and better government. The state should have an independent redistricting system. If such a system were proposed in a referendum, it would pass overwhelmingly, as it has in other states. But only the legislature can propose a constitutional amendment and referendum, and it’s under no political or legal pressure to allow fair competition.”

In other words, as is so often the case with the American Right, competition is a great thing — except when it interferes with the power and prerogatives of the mostly wealthy white men who dominate the American Right.

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