Michael Bitzer

Political Columnist

Dr. Michael Bitzer is an associate professor of politics and history at Catawba College, where he also serves as the 2011-2012 Swink Professor for Excellence in Classroom Teaching and the chair of the department of history & politics.  A native South Carolinian, he holds graduate degrees in both history and political science from Clemson University and The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Bitzer’s studies have focused on Southern politics, campaigns and elections, and a variety of topics in American politics.

The state Fraternal Order of Police is still upset that the office of Attorney General Roy Cooper prosecuted former CMPD officer Randall Kerrick last summer in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. FOP members walked out on Cooper, the Democratic candidate for governor, as he was speaking at the group's annual conference. The group also endorsed incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory.

WFAE political analyst Michael Bitzer of Catawba College discusses the FOP's actions, early voting hours, and voter registration demographics in this week's election roundup.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

On the day that the state of North Carolina asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision regarding the state's voting law changes, especially voter identification and early voting, Mecklenburg County’s Board of Elections, on a 2-1 partisan vote, voted to cut 238 hours from early voting.

Much has been made about the role that white voters will play in this year’s election, especially those without a college education who are seen as the backbone of Donald Trump's support.

With the continuing division of the electorate based on a number of factors (partisanship, gender, age, race, and ethnicity), it is not surprising that the continued coalition-building by both parties are honing in on discrete groups that have traditionally been core groups.

Much has been made about the favorability, or more notably, the lack thereof, of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Along with all of the other aspects that the 2016 presidential election has "rewritten" in terms of how we normally expect campaigns to play out, this year’s election is shaping up as one of "who do the voters detest the least?"

Modern-day nominating conventions have become nothing more than ‘infomercials’ for both political parties, and this year's Democratic and Republican national party conventions were indeed that. However, both presented stark contrasts in terms of the product they were selling to the American electorate for purchase this coming November.  

As is tradition, the party out of power of the White House went first, and the one word that seems to sum up the Republican’s nomination of Donald J. Trump was anger.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

Heading into the general election, I'm analyzing the voter registration pool for North Carolina at the beginning of each month, watching for key trends and development of certain voting groups.

With any general election, there are two aspects that most political analysts will start to evaluate: the composition of the possible electorate (‘who shows up’) and the behavior of that possible electorate (‘how do different groups vote?’).

Granted, North Carolina’s potential electorate can expand between now and November, but an early breakdown of the voter registration pool can give some hint of who is eligible to cast their ballots in the fall.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

With Republican voters solidified behind their presumptive nominee, Donald Trump has turned his focus to the general election.

Now that both Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s Chairman, Reince Priebus, have declared Trump as the presumptive presidential nominee, the attention turns to the general campaign and the November election.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

With the decision by federal judge Thomas Schroeder upholding the North Carolina’s election law overhaul that Republicans approved in 2013, the 485-page opinion is a massive analysis of the legislative intent and, at times, a stark dismissal of opponent’s criticisms.

The ruling can only be viewed as a solid win for the Republicans when they were desperate for any news of a victory for their party’s policies in the state.

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