North Carolina, in light of the HB2 fiasco and the ill-fated state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, may seem a strange candidate for “purple state.” But that’s the way pollsters and pundits are seeing it as the presidential election approaches, meaning the state could go Democratic for Hillary Clinton (blue) or Republican for Donald Trump (red).
This explains why the candidates were in North Carolina at the same time for the second time in the last six weeks. Both have made multiple visits to the state, and there will be more to come.
Both came to North Carolina for a couple of appearances, including one at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Charlotte. Clinton was politely received there Monday, though Trump holds more sway with vets at this point. Nevertheless, Clinton reminded the veterans of her father’s World War II service and held her own. Trump will bring more bombast, but his attack-style politics may wear thin before the campaign is over.
It will be interesting to see what impact North Carolina Republicans will have on the election given voter suppression laws. But it’s clear this state is sharply divided. That Clinton is competitive in North Carolina isn’t a good message for legislative Republicans. And it reflects that the state isn’t, yet, a hard-core ally of Mississippi and Alabama.
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The advantage of being diverse enough to maintain purple status is that it draws the presidential campaigns of both parties and the gratitude of the winner.