A Herculean battle is raging in North Carolina as opposing forces struggle for domination in the North Carolina Legislature.
You might think it is the Moral Monday demonstrators who have been a thorn in the side of the Republican-led legislature since the 2012 elections; calling for voting rights, women’s rights, Medicaid expansion and a number of other social imperatives.
Or it is possibly the North Carolina Public School teachers who have been both lauded and reviled during this legislative session by those who think that many, perhaps most, are unworthy of their pay, or should work harder for it, or don’t need extra hands in the overcrowded classroom.
No, you say, it must be the women of North Carolina who must give over their health decisions to their bosses and travel half-way across the state to find the health services they need. Or could it be environmentalists who are appalled at the slipshod manner in which the legislature has moved forward with plans to begin fracking in the state.
Surely it must be the unemployed struggling to hold on to their homes and feed their children while their weeks of eligibility are whittled away.
Well, recent polls by both the conservative group Civitas and the left-leaning Public Policy polling say none of these groups have great love for the 2014 North Carolina Legislature. But the battle between these groups and the Republican-led legislature pales in comparison to the battle within the ranks of the NC GOP itself. A three-way tug-of-war between the House, the Senate and the governor have all but paralyzed the state.
While one would think that a party that controls both chambers and the governor’s mansion would whiz through the short session, piling up victories as the opposing party gnashes its teeth and beats its chest in defeat, not so in North Carolina. In fact, the Democrats have ordered popcorn and a coke as they watch the GOP implode.
The short session, which has languished into July, has produced few victories for the GOP as they battle each other with the vigor of mortal enemies. A budget battle has positioned the GOP in opposition to educators and state workers. The move to use lottery earnings to fund teacher pay raises has enraged many on the religious right. The GOP appears baffled as to how to address Medicaid issues. They cannot even decide how much of a short-fall to anticipate, much less how to rectify it.
It would seem that the NC GOP would be relishing its victory over redistricting, voting rights restrictions, budget cuts, reductions in unemployment benefits, and the taking of both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s mansion. But let us not forget—they are the party of “No.”
It turns out they know how to fight much better than they know how to legislate, and so they fight one another.