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.

Michael Bitzer

Some thoughts following both the Nevada Democratic caucus and the South Carolina Republican primary appear to show a clearer sense of where things are headed in the presidential battles.

For Hillary Clinton’s campaign, coming off a thumping in New Hampshire’s primary, Clinton needed the first state where minority voters would be influential, and she managed to achieve that in Nevada.

With the release of the ‘contingent’ congressional district maps by the Republicans, my immediate reaction upon seeing the map was an emphatic “wow.” There were some very dramatic changes to at least eleven of the thirteen districts, and the effects of such a change will be significant in this hyper-partisan election year.

With the unexpected death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the 2016 political landscape has shifted

Michael Bitzer

The scramble for what happens next in North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional districts is well underway now that a federal 3-judge panel has declared their Republican-drawn maps unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, this pattern of judicial ‘holds’ on North Carolina legislative and congressional maps is nothing that we haven’t experienced before.  

Michael Bitzer

In the past few weeks, two news stories implied this year’s election could be determined by not only "independent" voters but a possible ‘independent’ presidential candidate.

Recently, Franklin Graham announced that he was going on a 50-state tour to call on evangelicals to go to the polls and vote for “godly leaders.”

And while he promised not to endorse any candidates and expressed dismay with the Republican Party (“I’m as disappointed in them as I am the Democrats,” Graham remarked), it is clear that there is a partisan approach to any religious rally among conservative Christians to the cause of politics.

Now that the State Board of Elections has finalized the ballot for North Carolina’s March 15 primary election, some have commented that voters will face a ‘closed’ primary ballot.

In the parlance of primary elections and political science research, North Carolina uses one of several different forms of primary systems that states have for their election processes.

For an ‘odd-year’ in the election cycle, it was a pretty intense one, from the local level in Charlotte to the state and the nation. I’m reminded of just how intense taking a look back at some of the blog posts I wrote in 2015. 

With the controversy surrounding the I-77 toll lane project ­­continuing to swirl, the policy issues of whether the contract should be canceled, and who has that power, has become a political hot potato.

While Gov.  Pat McCrory this week made a “formal” announcement video via Twitter for his re-election bid, another video released a week earlier also provides a good sense of how the incumbent is planning a campaign strategy.