The following editorial appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday, Dec. 20:
Political hardball is an American tradition. After Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama as president on Jan. 20, he’s likely to issue far-reaching executive orders undoing Obama policies on a wide range of issues, just as Obama did after succeeding George W. Bush in the White House. It’s to be expected.
But what has happened in North Carolina goes far beyond hardball. It feels transgressive of U.S. political traditions. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost to state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, in a race so close that McCrory refused to concede for nearly a month. Republicans with supermajorities in the North Carolina legislature responded with a special session that last week saw measures passed that shift much authority over state public schools from the State Board of Education, which will have a majority of members chosen by the governor, to the elected state superintendent of public instruction, soon to be a Republican, and that gave Republicans de facto control over the most important decisions of the State Board of Elections. They also passed measures reducing the number of state government positions Cooper can directly fill by more than two-thirds; that require the next governor’s Cabinet appointees to be approved by the state Senate; and that end the governor’s ability to nominate members to the board overseeing the University of North Carolina’s 17 campuses. McCrory is expected to sign all the bills before leaving office next month.
Given that McCrory is the only incumbent governor in state history to lose a re-election bid, these actions clearly don’t reflect the will of voters. Such hyperpartisanship bodes poorly for North Carolina.
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It bodes worse for the nation if heavy-handed partisan wrangling is deemed acceptable in other states.