In North Carolina, Some Democrats See Their Grim Future

The GOP’s moves have many on the left worried their bare-knuckle tactics will spread nationally.

The road to political morass began six years ago in North Carolina, when national Republican donors and strategists launched a concerted effort to create a bulwark against the emerging multiracial, center-left coalition that swept Barack Obama into the White House. They sank millions of dollars into cheaply bought local and state races, seizing control of the statehouse for the first time since a now-unrecognizable Republican Party that supported racial integration and voting rights for African-Americans held it during Reconstruction.

.. the new Republican majority gerrymandered districts in which Democrats couldn’t win—which resulted in ever-more-hard-line conservatives winning primaries in each election.

.. Only a third of North Carolina’s registered voters were Republicans, but McCrory and his allies in the legislature ruled as if it were a one-party state—cracking down on abortion, slashing social services and banning state officials from considering climate change when planning development along the state’s vulnerable coastline. It didn’t matter how many would-be voters this angered, because the redrawn districts guaranteed Republican supermajorities in the statehouse and U.S. Congress.

.. Legislators also took advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rollback of the Voting Rights Act to restrict voting in black and other Democratic-leaning communities. When voters unseated McCrory and chose the Democratic attorney general, Roy Cooper, to be governor this fall, the Republican legislature greeted him with a slate of new laws stripping his powers and handing them to the legislature and Republican-controlled agencies.

.. Progressives and moderates watching across the country have been horrified about the evolution of a resolutely purple state into a hard-core bastion of untouchable conservative power—and what that might portend for a country where Donald Trump is in the White House and Republicans will control both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and 32 state legislatures—25 of which will have Republicans at the helm of all three branches of government.

.. Much as segregationists had used fears of racially integrated bathrooms as a cudgel during the civil rights era, fear-mongering about the specter of transgender people—imagined by many small-town conservatives to be mostly perverts and deviants

.. “How many fathers are now going to be forced to go to the ladies’ room to make sure their little girls aren’t molested?”