The Party Line

The Party Line: Raising the Curtain on Carolina Politics, is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development.  The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

There are different ways of looking at the possible electorate, based on past presidential elections. For example, North Carolina’s electorate might be reflective of the composition of registered voters in the state.

So let’s start with the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won the state by 13 percent—and was a continuation of what North Carolina had traditionally voted at the presidential level. As was evident in previous elections, North Carolina was a state where the Republicans won by double-digits over a series of elections, and was classified as “safe” GOP state.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement, and that government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 -- he starts off with a huge number.

When the United States was in the midst of World War I, U.S. Sen. Hiram W. Johnson, an isolationist from California, is credited with coining the phrase “the first casualty when war comes is truth.”  So it seems the same could be said for this year’s political campaigns.

This year’s campaign seems to be taking the “cut and paste” approach by both sides, and highlighting a minute piece of what a candidate says and creating a firestorm out of a dust-up. 

Had Enough Presidential Ads? Prepare For Increase

Sep 13, 2012

We know that North Carolina continues to be in the crosshairs of the presidential campaign; NBC News conducted an analysis of both spent and booked advertising, on television and radio. Only Ohio, Virginia, and Florida came in ahead of North Carolina in terms of advertising dollars.

Some Thoughts From Charlotte’s DNC

Sep 11, 2012

Before the convention, we heard a lot about the lack of Democratic enthusiasm among the electorate, but the delegates in the arena were not having any of that. It was obvious from the beginning, with Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker’s platform address, that the attendees started at a high energy level.

Modern national conventions are often described as being nothing more than “infomercials” for the two major campaigns and political parties.

But for those delegates attending the conventions, it is a chance to show the public who the members of the parties are and what each party stands for.

First, some background on how the delegates got to each party’s convention.  Both parties select their convention attendees in a series of elections, usually beginning at the local level and working their way up to the state level.

Pay Attention! It’s Time For Pol. Conventions 101

Aug 27, 2012

With the Republican and Democratic national conventions about to take place, it might be good to have a Convention 101 lesson. 

Don’t worry — there won’t be an exam (well, not until Nov. 6 — but there will be more study guides along the way).

First, we think of conventions as being unruly and hotly contested meetings, but unfortunately, modern conventions haven’t lived up to this historical image.

Romney VP Pick An Appeal To Conservatives

Aug 14, 2012

In the game of politics, each team needs its captains. And now, we know who the captains are: for the Democrats, it’s still Obama-Biden. And for the GOP, it’s now Romney-Ryan.

The 2012 election shifted gears Saturday with Mitt Romney’s surprise announcement that Congressman Paul Ryan is his vice presidential nominee.

No matter how you cut it, this year’s presidential race, from a national view, is one of the closest that we have seen a very long time.  According to various tracking polls, such as at Talking Points Memo, the race is a coin-toss

While this will be the feature of many commentators and pundits going into the conventions and the general campaign, the national picture isn’t where the focus necessarily should be — but rather on the states.

Voter Registration Trends Different From 2008

Jul 25, 2012

Now that the players are set following last week's runoff primary, we can move on to the next stage of the campaign.  And in order to understand the ensuing competition, we need to first survey the lay of the electoral land.