Saturday, August 29, 2020

Old-Line Rural Republicans Hold the Key to the Election in North Carolina

I believe Trump will be defeated. I believe he won't. I believe the Democrats will take control of the NC House. I believe they won't -- and in fact, that they'll probably lose some of the seats they gained in 2018. I believe Democrats will take control of the US Senate. I believe they can't and that they'll lose Doug Jones in Alabama in the bargain. I believe that even conservative rural Republicans have understood the deep tragedy of Donald J. Trump and will stay home this year. But I know good and well that they're itching as much as me to get to the polls to reelect the great businessman and owner of "the libs"; yes, they'll show up with no masks and sharp elbows, and people will get hurt.

Hope has a companion, despair. He comes dressed in black and wearing a plague masque. While Hope squeegees on the softsoap -- "The polls reflect reality!" Despair blasts a cold water hose --"You should doubt the polls, because ... history. The polls don't know shit because they don't know the right ones to talk to."

It's not just the polls nurturing Hope. It's ground-level narrative -- rumor and hearsay. Like this we heard: Old-line rural Republicans in Watauga County seem more embarrassed by Trump than energized, and if they decide not to show up on November 3rd, then Hope, she is a prophetess.

Politics is an art, but it's also divination -- reading the signs -- and intuition, taking the surrounding temperature, looking for that high fever on the other side that will mean trouble for you and for the candidates you work for. We don't feel any fever over there (except among the most ardent Trumpists, the ones pushing guns and God, but there aren't enough of them to lift a jalopy to the roof). 

(I used to hope, oblivious to arithmetic, but I've learned better. The loss of Harvey Gantt in 1990 scarred my soul. But scar tissue is useful education, along with math.)

Judge Bob Orr,
of Henderson County

Arithmetic was trending my/our way, really since the day after Trump's inauguration when millions of women revolted, and it manifested itself in special election after special election in 2017, where the progressive Democrat regularly won, and culminated in the 2018 Midterms, when Trumpism was rejected every time in the suburbs. Why should we think that that resistance has ebbed by 2020? If anything, it's exploded. Republicans like Judge Bob Orr and the others who are organizing a splinter National Republican Party combined their membership with other never-Trumpers to hold their own on-line convention in Charlotte at the same time as Trump's convention

Judge Bob Orr is the living embodiment of an old-line rural Republicanism that is stand-up virtuous. Judge Bob Orr speaks for a silent minority of other old-line rural Republicans who can hear that splintering sound as a sign from God. Perhaps they know a cult of personality for what it is, a surrender of religious values. Might be something they like to avoid, like a cow patty in the path. How those old-line rural Republicans play will determine the election in North Carolina. 

I hope one thing; I fear another.

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