Thursday, June 18, 2020

Un-Trumping North Carolina: Two Easy-Peasy US House Seats for Democrats To Flip

Deborah Ross
Not to get too cocky about it, but the 2nd and the 6th Congressional district seats should be easy pick-ups for Democrats this year. After all, they were redrawn last year to favor Democrats by a Republican General Assembly eager to get the Federal courts off their backs. Democrats Deborah Ross (in the 2nd) and Kathy Manning (in the 6th) are by now well known, well funded, and certainly favored to win. Ross previously served in the NC House for a decade, rose in the leadership, but left for work in the private sector before returning to politics in 2016 to run unsuccessfully against Richard Burr for the US Senate. Kathy Manning made a splash in 2018 running for the US House in CD 13 against incumbent Republican Ted Budd. She earned a respectable 45.54% of the vote. She's back this year in a new district that combines urban Greensboro and urban Winston-Salem.

Just for giggles, I took a look at their Republican opponents, neither of whom have prior experience as public officials or even as candidates. In the right light, and if you squint a little, they look a little like sacrificial lambs, and I normally have a good deal of sympathy for sacrificial lambs, as there are also plenty of those on the Democratic side of the ballot in North Carolina.

Republican Alan Swain in the 2nd CD is a 26-year retired (and he says "disabled") Army veteran. He doesn't have a website that I could find and is limiting himself to a Facebook page. But he answered the Ballotpedia questionnaire sincerely, and though he says he's "personally passionate" about a number of proven conservative bullet-points (pro-2nd Amendment, pro-Right to Life, pro-Voter ID, against sanctuary cities for "illegals"), he does not mention the name Donald Trump anywhere and does not look so terribly ideological. He lists "optimize healthcare" as his number one campaign issue, and he does not appear to include "repeal Obamacare" in that optimization (though what he does include is not entirely specified).

Swain lists a number of founding fathers among those he looks up to, along with Army generals George C. Marshall, George S. Patton, and Dwight W. Eisenhower. The book that best explains his political philosophy -- The Science of Muddling Through, not exactly a Bible for ideologues. The fictional character he'd like to be ... Captain America (and if that doesn't melt your heart a little, you're just too frigidly cynical for your own good!).

Kathy Manning
Republican Lee Haywood is Kathy Manning's opponent in the new 6th CD, and he's forthcoming in the Ballotpedia questionnaire as the species of Tea Party reactionary we might expect in the Age of Trump. Wanna know his political philosophy? Read Atlas Shrugged (yikes). Wanna do something about healthcare in America? Make it entirely market-based (because Big Pharma made plenty off the opioid crisis and could do so again?). "Finish the Wall on our Southern border!" "Eliminate the U.S. Dept. of Education." "Limit the out of control judiciary." "The Constitution is not a living document." You get the drift. The fictional character he'd like to be -- Ironman.

Neither Alan Swain nor Lee Haywood are serious candidates for office, but I had to make sure.

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