North Carolina is the latest location to provide an example of bare-knuckle politics that leads to the kind of cynicsm among voters that politicians like to criticize.
After a Democrat was elected governor in a close race, the lame-duck Legislature called a special session to strip him of much of his power, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
A bill that passed the House Thursday calls for making Cooper’s Cabinet appointments subject to approval by the state Senate and drastically cutting the number of state employees the governor can hire and fire. The Senate approved a bill that would evenly split election boards between the political parties rather than keep them under control of the governor’s party.
A bill being finalized today also strips the governor of power to appoint members to the governing authority for the state’s university system.
Who gets the power under this move? Legislators, mostly.
“People feel that they were not given notice, that these bills were not given due process,” one Democratic lawmaker said. “It has all the appearance of a vendetta against a newly elected governor.”
North Carolina may be a bit of a lab rat for whether divided government can govern, the New York Times says.
Few states are quite as bitterly divided as this one, but there are hints here, too, of what may be in store for a nation that is just as divided and bruised after the presidential election.
On Thursday afternoon, the chants of liberal protesters filled the area outside of the Senate viewing gallery. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” they chanted.
The police led a number of protesters, who had refused to leave the House gallery, away in plastic wrist ties.
“Thank you; we love you!” the protesters cheered as they were escorted out. The group, which numbered in the hundreds, chanted and sang.
Keith Ellison, the Minneapolis DFLer trying to become the national chairman of the Democratic Party, issued a blast against North Carolina Republicans today.
“Republicans are attempting a coup in North Carolina right now, and the whole country needs to pay attention,” he said.
Citizen protests this afternoon disrupted final action on the controversial measures, the Washington Post says. At least 10 have been arrested.
The special session was called to help flood and wildfire victims.