The Tea: NCGA Republicans launch a desperate attack on democracy

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The Tea: NCGA Republicans launch a desperate attack on democracy

Tommy Mozier, Opinion Editor

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Last week, North Carolina’s democracy came under attack. Not a physical attack by an outside invader or deranged citizen. This time, the attack came from within our own government. 

On Sept. 11, North Carolina General Assembly House Republicans called a vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on their budget proposal, shortly after 8:30 a.m. The catch, however, is most Democrats were conveniently not in the chamber. Some were downstairs working to redraw GOP-rigged electoral maps, which must be finished by Sept. 18. The final vote: 55-9, with 64 of 120 House members present.

Evidence suggests Republicans planned this vote for some time. The GOP second-in-command, Rep. Jon Hardister, made sure to text House Republicans to be in their seats before the 8:30 a.m. vote. Hardister said this is a routine text. If so, how bad are our representatives at their jobs if they need daily reminders to show up to work?

The GOP has scheduled a budget vote every day since Cooper’s original veto on June 5, but didn’t call one until most Democrats had left the chamber, as Republican Rep. David Lewis reportedly assured House Minority Leader Darren Jackson that no vote was about to happen. 

Although the bill still needs to pass the Senate before it’s law, this is yet another desperate attempt by North Carolina Republicans to subvert the democratic process. If you cannot win, cheat. Call surprise votes on 9/11. Draw voting districts that ensure you stay in the government majority, even if you don’t have the popular majority. 

Congresswoman Deb Butler, one of the few Democrats present for the vote, said it best.

“If you usurp this process in this fashion, you will answer to the people of North Carolina,” Butler said in a now-viral video. “Absolutely cowardice. Childishness. Cowardice.”

The 2020 election is 414 days away. “The people of North Carolina” need to ensure Butler’s statement is prophetic. If we cannot, how much further will our state fall?