A post-mortem on Tuesday. (Look, Ma. We’re goin’ backwards.)


For Republicans and conservatives across North Carolina, there was not a whole lot to cheer about Tuesday night.  Our side got out-hustled, out-strategized, out-raised, out-marketed.  *Out-EVERYTHINGED.*

To satisfy the folks who have been nagging me all morning via text and tweets to offer up my  thoughts, here goes:

The Good News.  It’s always good to get this part out of the way first.  You don’t want to kill the mood up front.

One good piece of news was the passage of the voter ID amendment.  Granted, the lefties will go judge-shopping (Justice Anita Earls?) to try and take it out the good ol’ fashioned authoritarian way.

It was also good to see that we didn’t lose the three GOP seats in Congress the media insisted we were going to.  Mark Harris will be a conservative star in the US House.  Mark Meadows has taken him under his wing.  

The Big Winners. Obviously, the ethically-challenged, highly-sketchy Wayne Goodwin comes off looking like a genius.  (But that’s not so hard when your competition is Dallas Woodhouse.)

On the GOP side you can toss in Mark Meadows and Donald Trump.  ANY GOP successes you saw Tuesday night are attributable to those two guys.  Their influence played big among GOP voters.  The folks they campaigned for directly all WON.

Shooting ourselves in the foot.   Yes, I am talking to my home crowd in Moore County.  The candidate marketing effort was lousy.  We actually allowed a Hoke County Democrat to unseat a long-serving Moore County Republican judge.  For the second time this cycle, we passed on the opportunity to have a state senator FROM Moore County.  For the second time this cycle, we voted to RAISE our own taxes.  We also ended up replacing one of the top sheriffs in the state with Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey & The Bandit.   I don’t get it. 

Going Backwards.  It seems like JUST YESTERDAY the NCGOP owned all facets of state government in Raleigh.  Since the Hayes-Woodhouse team came aboard, the party has lost: the governor’s mansion, a Supreme Court majority, multiple Appeals Court seats, and a supermajority in the North Carolina House.

In European parliamentary systems, failure on that grand of a scale usually results in mass resignations-in-disgrace.  EVERYONE at NCGOP HQ needs to be pink-slipped and shown the door.  But, sadly, promotions and pay raises (and how to blame Tuesday on THIS SITE) will likely top the party’s 2019 agenda.

If this keeps up, it will be as though 2010 and 2012 never happened. 

A Palace Coup?   Prior to the election, we heard from various GOP sources on Jones Street that a member of GOP House leadership was approaching members on the down-low seeking support for a challenge to Tim Moore’s continuation as speaker.  From what I hear, some folks in the House GOP caucus are growing weary of hearing Moore’s name in connection with so many scandals and sketchy deals.  I am betting the loss of the super-majority will light a fire under that kind of talk.

The Shumaker Spiral.  Scott Dacey.  Robert Pittenger.  Robert Edmunds. Barbara Jackson.  What do they all have in common?  They were Paul Shumaker clients over the last two years.  And they all LOST winnable races.  Yet, Shumaker continues to be held in high-regard by the party elites as the go-to campaign consultant.

An epidemic of nose-holding.  Despite their flurry of  nasty, vile behavior toward other Republicans, an indictment against a legislative aide and campaign manager, and a sketchy contract and payoff surrounding an Asheville basketball tournament that is screaming for law enforcement scrutiny,  Bob Steinburg and Bobby Hanig got their tickets punched for Raleigh.

(Another sitting legislator from the western end of the state, facing a lawsuit for child support from his estranged wife, also survived at the polls.)

Three examples RIGHT THERE of faith in President Trump, a blind devoting to the almighty ‘R’, and fear of the leftist mob, overruling common sense and decency.

Message? What Message?  I’ll never forget sitting in front of the TV with a less-than-political friend during the campaign.  As we were bombarded with campaign ads, my friend turned to me and said: “I can’t tell which one is the Republican and which one is the Democrat.”

He was right.  No actual political party or platform was being sold.  No mentions of Trump by Republican legislative candidates.  There was a lot of talk about spending more on public schools and solar energy.  “Fighting for Our Kids.”  “Fighting to create jobs.” Who’s against THAT?

Refusing to give voters a diehard reason to jump on your bandwagon can result in: (1) their sticking with their Democrat heritage, (2) going with the names on the last yard signs they see before entering the polls, or (3) taking the advice of the hags on ‘The View.’  None of those options are good for the future of the GOP or conservatism.

Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms helped sell conservatism and Republican-ism to a lot of folks who didn’t necessarily embrace the almighty ‘R’.

There will be an instinct — egged on by the driveways — within Raleigh Republicans to shift left and make deals with Democrats.  Those guys didn’t come right when you owned it all in Raleigh.  Conservatism needs to be aggressively advocated for, and the voters need to understand the harm statism brings. 

Unless you want to return to the pre-1972 political environment in this state, when Republicans showed up on election day with hat in hand awaiting their biannual butt-kicking and were all pretty much centered in Charlotte, Greensboro and western NC,  things have got to change dramatically. 

Somebody on the right needs to step up and be a leader.  Somebody needs to sell the Republican gospel to the masses.  Dan Forest is in Raleigh.  He has ambitions for 2020.  Unless he wants some more of THIS, it would behoove him to boldly step forward and lead.

12 comments for “A post-mortem on Tuesday. (Look, Ma. We’re goin’ backwards.)

  1. Gail
    November 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t think Barbara Jackson’s loss was solely the fault of Paul Shumaker. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s slime, but he had plenty of help from our glorious supposedly conservative lawmakers in Raleigh. Whose bright idea was this no primary thing for the Supreme Courts? We lost an Appeals seat as well because of this insanity. Tim Moore and his cohorts need to straighten up and do their jobs. Maybe Nelson Dollar’s loss will scare Timmy straight.

    Bob Edmund’s loss 2 years ago was another mistake, this time by NCGOP leaders. Apparently, they thought Edmunds couldn’t lose and did very little to help him get re-elected. I think it’s time for Woodhouse and Hayes to go anyway, but I thought they never should have been in those positions to start with and have been working in the party to get rid of Hayes ever since. The “Party Faithful” are wrapped around Robin’s finger and continue to vote to keep him in charge. The GOP has no one to blame but themselves for this fiasco in the judicial races, and I am disgusted with their ineptitude.

    • john steed
      November 7, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Edmunds loss was also a serious mistake by legislators in putting the Supreme Court race on the ballot as a non-partisan race, something Democrats always prefer because it helps them, instead of a partisan election like the Court of Appeals was that year. It is not all legislators who were to blame, just the leadership. The rank and file voted in the caucus to make the race partisan. It was Tim Moore who refused to honor that vote of the caucus and pushed through a bill with Shumaker’s preference for a non-partisan election. The Democrats said “please, please do not throw us into that briar patch”.

      If the legislative leadership had not played the stupid games they did with election methods in 2016 and 2018, Edmunds and Jackson would still be on the court.

    • J.P. Jones
      November 7, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Our leadership and their leadership seem to be working for the same ends. As for the State Republican Party leadership, that party coup a few years ago is the gift that keeps on giving.

      This state of affairs is not acceptable. There needs to be mass resignations. Decent people demand it.

    • NorthCack34
      November 7, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Agree that Justice Barbara Jackson’s loss was almost totally due to the General Assembly. In 2016 and 2018, they got too cute by half each time, and two halves make a whole lot of mess for conservatives. They tried a “retention election” in 2016, which was declared unconstitutional, and then failed to put Rs and Ds on the ballot for the Supreme Court race, which led to Edmunds’ loss. Then, this year, the General Assembly decided against judicial primaries, so a vanity candidate – or a spoiler – was allowed to steal votes from Justice Jackson. As a result of the General Assembly’s incompetence, conservatives have the fewest number of justices on the NC Supreme Court since the ‘90s. In 2006, we had 6 of 7 seats. Now, our Supreme Court delegation can fit on a liquor cycle. Thanks a lot, General Assembly.

      • Larry G. Pittman
        November 8, 2018 at 8:07 am

        I argued against and voted against the retention election scheme and told them it was unconstitutional. Did they listen? No, who would listen to a working class small church Pastor and forklift operator they never thought should be in Raleigh in the first place? They (leadership) always know better. But who was right on that one?

    • Larry G. Pittman
      November 8, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Bob Edmunds insisted on keeping his race non-partisan. I did not agree. Our leadership let us down by not listening to those of us in the House who kept urging them to make that race partisan and by not talking sense to Bob. Actually, I keep telling them that all races should be partisan, even down to the soil and water commission, but they don’t like listening to conservatives. I get sick of hearing how bad it was to be in the minority. As a conservative member of the House, I already know how it feels. The formation of my new district was designed for Carl Ford to take me out. They didn’t even know enough to know we wouldn’t run against each other. So they stretched me all the way up to China Grove in Rowan County and moved me over into more liberal RINO and Democrat territory in Cabarrus. Well, thank God, Carl ran for the Senate and won, and Rowan pulled me through, making up by more than double what I lost in Cabarrus. Can you say “backfire”? I fear that there will be a further move to the left “to work with the Democrats to get things done.” If so, I will continue to fight that move all the way.

  2. Jon
    November 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks Brant, been waiting for your response to this election. I am very happy Voter ID is now law, but I am suspicious about how this will be challenged. Believe me, the NC Dems were anticipating this passing and have some plans in the future. It would be pretty brazen to overthrow the will of the people on this though, so I’m not sure how they will go about overturning this…..

    A positive note, in 2020 Trump will be in NC and so will the RNC, right in Charlotte. I think this will bode well for Republicans in NC and they can hopefully ride his coattails in 2020 as they did in 2016. Also, Cooper will be up for re-election in 2020.

  3. Fed Up
    November 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    When are they going to clean house at HQ? I was told that Dallas was sending out emails just after the polls closed making excuses for Justice Jackson’s loss. Love the idea of LT Dan stepping in. Life issues work, didn’t see much on that. NCGA passed the NC Promise for affordable college, never heard about that. Messaging was awful. Hopefully this was simply a purge and we can win these seats back.

  4. john steed
    November 7, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    How many of those close races did we lose due to blowing off Christian conservative voters with the cowardly repeal of HB2? Moore and Berger own that fiasco, along with John Hood, Dallas Woodhouse, and Grandpa in supporting roles.

    On solar energy, only the totally ignorant would fall for that scam. Expensive and unreliable solar and wind energy is why Germans pay three times what we do for electricity and why voters are kicking the political parties that support the wind and solar boondoggles out of office around the world. Ontario and South Australia are two prime examples.

    • Larry G. Pittman
      November 8, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Amen! I was one of 38 in the House who voted not to repeal HB2. I would reinstate it if I could. I also vigorously oppose giving ANY taxpayer funding to private businesses, and especially any subsidies for the film industry, solar or wind. That should never happen. Being business friendly should never mean fleecing taxpayers for corporate welfare, the waste of farmland or cutting down woodlands for solar panels or windmills and the environmental and higher cost of energy they cause.

      • Larry G. Pittman
        November 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        meant to say “environmental problems”

  5. Whoslungdung
    November 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    The dung slung shines brightly across more and more of N C farmland. It’s not kind to the eyes or the rate players pocket. It’s a hustle. When is a serious revolt aimed at the Solar friendly members of the General Assembly going to metastasize?

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