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.

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The Party Line
3:33 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Republicans Would Hurt Themselves If They End Early Voting

Michael Bitzer

Now that North Carolina is out from under federal oversight from the 1965 Voting Rights Act, speculation is that the GOP super-majorities in the General Assembly will have free reign to rewrite the state’s election laws.

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The Party Line
12:08 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Justice Kennedy Consistent In Gay Rights Decisions

Michael Bitzer

In the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the writer of the majority’s opinion has been a justice who has been the lynchpin of the major developments in gay rights since 1996. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee who garnered a 97 to 0 Senate confirmation vote in 1985, has become what some court watchers have labeled the new swing vote on the Roberts Court. 

Generally, Kennedy has been seen as one who tends to side with the conservatives on the court, with the strong exception in gay rights cases. 

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The Party Line
11:58 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Analyzing Voting Rights Decision And Its Effect On NC

In the 5-4 ruling in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority has effectively sealed the fate of one of the 20th Century’s two most important pieces of legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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The Party Line
3:52 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Hagan, Democrats Have Rough Road In 2014

North Carolina is already facing the kind of national attention that has become the new norm in presidential campaigns, but next year’s mid-term election may bring a whole new set of focus on the state.

The National Journal casts the U.S. Senate race as one that could determine which party controls the chamber.

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The Party Line
10:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Rise Of 'Moral Monday' Protests Similar To Tea Party

Michael Bitzer

In the beginning, there were a few diehards, committed to raising awareness of their vision of the perceived injustices being perpetrated by an overbearing government. They believed that speaking up and taking action was the only way to draw attention to the problems they saw.

Their main weapon was to gain notice, but they needed an outlet to gain the attention. So staging rallies and protests, all under their recognized 1st Amendment right to “assembly and petition” their government, was at first small. But as time marched on, so did their numbers and strength. 

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The Party Line
11:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Tillis Begins 'Invisible Primary' For U.S. Senate

North Carolina’s 2014 U.S. Senate race is starting to shape up as most had expected—one of the closest fought in the nation. And when early punditry call it “a close fight,” voters can usually expect an ugly, knock-down drag out battle.

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The Party Line
4:08 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Ranking NC General Assembly's Conservatism

With the Republican-dominated North Carolina General Assembly nearing the end of its long session, many observers have taken to characterizing the legislature’s work under unified GOP control.

For left-leaning groups, the legislature’s treatment of minorities, the poor, education and environmental protections have led some leaders to describe the Republican-controlled state government as “Robin Hood in reverse.” 

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The Party Line
5:02 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

12th District's History, Future Will Be Getting More Attention

North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District has a storied and controversial history and the likelihood is that the district will garner even more attention when a variety of events converge within the next few months. 

With Congressman Mel Watt’s nomination to head the Federal Housing Financing Agency, an open-seat contest has already attracted considerable attention, especially from black Democratic candidates seeking to replace the 20-year veteran legislator. 

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The Party Line
5:10 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Sanford's Win Shows Political 'Experts' Don't Know Voters

Michael Bitzer

As post-election commentaries pronounce a host of reasons why former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won his congressional race Tuesday (the better candidate in political workmanship, the novice challenger, etc.),, we might want to view a more important component of his victory: The voters of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

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The Party Line
3:10 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Watt's 'Liberal' Ranking Slides As Congress Gets More Partisan

Michael Bitzer

My most recent post was entitled With Nomination in Hand, Foxx Faces GOP Delay Machine.  While several cabinet nominees have faced delaying tactics by the minority GOP conference in the U.S. Senate for reasons perhaps other than the nominee’s qualifications, this week’s other Charlotte nominee may face not just delay, but a possible denial of his appointment.

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