Rob Schofield | Echoes of Trumpism continue to dominate in the General Assembly
While his serial dishonesty and corruption, his criminal negligence in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and his complicity in a failed coup have clearly combined to make Donald Trump one of the worst presidents in the world. American history, you must hand over the former CEO one thing: the man continues to inspire the servile loyalty of his blinded supporters.
In few places this is more evident than in the North Carolina General Assembly where, as lawmakers rush to meet the May 13 “crossing deadline” by tabling dozens of poorly revised bills. house to house, Trump’s reaction remains the dominant theme.
Ten years ago, when Republicans took control of the legislature, there was still a plausible idea that modern “conservatism” retained a connection (at least in some corners) to things like limited government, l equality of opportunity, shared sacrifice and selfless public service.
On the contrary, as has been the case over the past four years in Washington, raw power is the name of the game in the Legislature these days and the top political priorities are those that have long been associated with genuine and enlightened autocrats. grass like Trump: exercise control. on disadvantaged groups, using fear and emotion-based appeals on social issues to distract and incite supporters, privatizing public structures and services, and of course, profiting.
If that sounds overkill, consider some of the bills that state legislative leaders have prioritized in the spring of 2021 – a time of ongoing crisis in which hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians continue to suffer severely from the devastating effects of a deep and unprecedented situation. health and economic crises:
Teacher monitoring and micromanagement – As if teachers in public schools in North Carolina weren’t already overwhelmed by the pandemic, low salaries, often crumbling facilities, heavy paperwork, incessant testing and overcrowded classrooms, the far right , conspiracy-obsessed lawmakers are now pushing for a ‘big brother’ bill that would require every teacher to post all textbooks and other reading materials as well as videos, digital material and other applications used in classrooms on school websites. The irony here, of course, is that if there is one group of teachers in the state whose curricula need to be monitored, it is those who teach in state bond schools not accountable and defended by the state. the GOP, where students are frequently subjected to a fundamentalist religion disguised as science and history.
Riot legislation – House of Commons Speaker Tim Moore’s thoughtless response to the social unrest that ravaged the country last year following the murder of George Floyd in the tumultuous first months of the pandemic has been to promote a bill which would further strengthen criminal penalties for “Riots”. The North Carolina ACLU has rightly called the bill a “dangerous idea that undermines the very foundation of participatory democracy.”
And the list continues. During the last control, the legislators put forward bills for, among other things:
• make voting more difficult,
• extend discriminatory and non-responsible school vouchers,
• force county sheriffs to assist in immigration law enforcement against their will,
• erect roadblocks for more widespread vaccinations against COVID-19,
• make it even easier to expel and arrest students for behavior at school,
• allow firearms to be even more easily obtained and concealed in more places,
• make it more difficult to regulate polluters and predatory lenders, and
• make it more difficult for employees to sue their employers for retaliation against a protected activity.
Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion remains a pipe dream, and pro-discrimination bills targeting transgender people in North Carolinians were almost certainly removed from the 2021 agenda until after Apple Computer intervened these days. weeks as a condition of the giant corporation’s agreement to open a new campus in Wake County. .
And, of course, just to complete Trump’s picture, there was the recent State House decision to approve tax relief for those who received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program – a move that will benefit. directly to at least a quarter of the members of the organization. Now there is an action Donald Trump would understand!
The bottom line: Donald Trump is quickly fading from the national conversation, but sadly here in North Carolina his toxic and cynical brand of power politics stubbornly persists. One can only hope that another round of veto-backed governors over the next few months sends a powerful and lasting message that the Trump wave has peaked and will soon recede.
Rob Schofield, director of NC Policy Watch, has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator.