In the spring of 2012, some people believed that Mitt Romney might beat Barack Obama and Republicans might win both houses of Congress. What would have happened then? What will happen in 2016 if Marco Rubio wins the White House and has GOP majorities in both houses?
Well, Republicans took control of the entire state government in North Carolina in 2012, and The Washington Post tells us what's happening:
Legislators have slashed jobless benefits. They have also repealed a tax credit that supplemented the wages of low-income people, while moving to eliminate the estate tax. They have voted against expanding Medicaid to comply with the 2010 federal health-care law. The expansion would have added 500,000 poor North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls....Republicans have two ideas at this moment in time: massively increasing income inequality and massively decreasing the participation in democracy of Democratic-leaning groups. That's why I cut President Obama and other Democrats quite a bit of slack, even when they flat-out refuse to bring the financiers who destroyed the economy to justice, or pursue Bush-like national security policies, or otherwise let us down. To me, the #1 political issue in America is how badly the poor and middle class are going to be screwed. When Republicans have their way, their answer is: the poor and middle class are going to be screwed as much as we can get away with screwing them. They are far, far worse than Democrats.
Lawmakers are also considering proposals to reduce and flatten income tax rates while expanding the sales tax, perhaps to even include groceries and prescription drugs -- which some advocates see as a first step toward eliminating the state income tax.....
There are also measures pending to require drug testing for low-income people applying for job training and welfare benefits....
The North Carolina House has passed a law requiring voters to have a government-issued identification card, and legislators are considering bills to roll back the state’s law allowing same-day voter registration and to sharply limit early voting....
The GOP takeover In North Carolina happened in a curious way:
The victories were aided by the strong financial support of Art Pope, a multimillionaire who spent heavily in support of the state’s GOP candidates. The Institute for Southern Studies, a North Carolina-based research organization, said Pope's advocacy network spent $2.2 million on 22 legislative races, winning 18. Overall, conservative organizations largely supported by Pope accounted for three-fourths of the outside money spent in North Carolina legislative races in 2010, according to the institute.Oh, nice. And, of course, this sort of buying of elections is what the federal courts continue to ratify. (The IRS scandal will only make election-buying by rich right-wingers easier.)
One of [Pat] McCrory's first acts after being elected governor was to install Pope, a former legislator, as the state budget chief.
The Post story claims that North Carolinians have mixed feelings about what's happening in their state:
Liberals may be up in arms, but North Carolina conservatives are applauding the new direction of the General Assembly. After the state Senate unveiled its tax reform plan this month, the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity released a poll that it said showed widespread support across the state. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the state tax code is in need of reform, and nearly half backed moving to totally eliminate the personal income tax within four years.An Americans for Prosperity poll? Seriously?
The results of a recent Public Policy Polling survey are, um, rather different:
48% of North Carolinians disapprove of the Republican government to just 41% who approve. Republican legislators score even worse at 37% approval to 49% disapproval. The General Assembly overall gets a 25% positive rating to 51% negative and 24% unsure.... Voters believe by a 45% to 31% margin that the General Assembly is causing the state national embarrassment.Oh, and here's public opinion on a the GOP's gun agenda, which isn't mentioned in the Post story:
Specific Republican proposals are extremely unpopular. Voters oppose the House and Senate tax plans by 41%-11% and 44%-14%, respectively. When told the details of these plans, opposition soars to 68%-13% for the Senate’s plan and 55%-21% for the House's. 81% of North Carolinians oppose raising the sales tax on groceries from 2% to 6.5%. Only 10% support it.
Respondents stated by a 73% to 17% margin that concealed weapons should not be allowed in bars. They oppose allowing concealed weapons in parks and on college campuses. Voters want to keep guns out of parks by a 65% to 29% margin and off of college campuses by 69% to 25%.Of course, the GOP is the honey badger party -- it doesn't give a shit what voters think once it's in power.
I know a lot of you think the GOP can never win another presidential election. I think that's true if Hillary Clinton is up for the race and is in good health and is as much admired as she is now. Otherwise, it's a toss-up. I don't think I've seen a single poll in which any other Democrat beats one of the GOP's marquee names.
A GOP sweep can't be allowed to happen. If the GOP really had its way unfettered, America would become a Cayman Islands for the business community and a Bangladesh for workers. I don't think we'd fall that far in one term under an all-GOP national government. But that's the direction we'd be heading in.