North Carolina House Democrats are calling foul on their Republican colleagues for voting to override the governor’s budget veto on Wednesday while most Democrats were not present.
The uproar began after GOP Rep. Jason Saine made a motion early Wednesday morning to reconsider the budget that was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper earlier this year, according to The Raleigh News & Observer.
Democrats excoriated Republicans on social media and the few who were present in the House at the time of the vote furiously protested the decision. Only 12 Democrats were in the House, but they did not all have an opportunity to vote and their microphones were cut off, the paper reported. The vote passed 55-9. The issue now moves to the state’s GOP-controlled Senate.
“How dare you do this, Mr. Speaker!” said Democratic Rep. Deb Butler, who was surrounded by fellow Democrats on the House floor as she shouted in protest at the decision, according to a video posted online by a Democratic colleague. “If this is the way you think democracy works, shame on you. This is not appropriate and you know it. The people of North Carolina, you will answer to the people of North Carolina.”
Bulter later told The News & Observer that the Republicans were practicing “scorched earth politics.”
House Democratic leader Darren Jackson told the paper that he informed Democrats that they did not need to be present because Republican Rep. David Lewis said there would be no recorded votes. The North Carolina House is a 120-member body and Republicans hold a 65–55 majority. However, last year Democrats won enough seats in the House to end the GOP’s supermajority, which had allowed them to override a veto.
“If we can’t trust each other, this place will fall apart, it’s just too big an entity to run, too many processes to require for everything to be in writing,” Jackson said.
Cooper was attending a 9/11 memorial when the chaos unfolded. Speaking at a press conference later on Wednesday, Cooper blasted Republican leadership as “deceptive” and “beyond desperate.”
“On a day when tragedy united our country, we should be standing together despite party. But instead Republicans pulled their most deceptive stunt yet,” he said. “Republicans waged an assault on our democracy. They cheated the people of North Carolina.”
Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson said the vote was “a new low.”
“There have to be consequences for this kind of behavior,” he said. “Just another lesson in why they must lose their majority.”
House Speaker Tim Moore defended the move, denying that Republicans told colleagues there wouldn’t be any votes.
“I said when I realized we had the opportunity to do the veto override, we’re going to do it,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “I’ve always been very clear. When I’ve told folks there’s not going to be votes, there are not votes. I’ve kept my word on that.”
Wednesday’s vote comes amid an ongoing debate in North Carolina about Republican-led partisan gerrymandering. A panel of judges last week ruled that the state’s legislative maps “do not permit voters to freely choose their representative, but rather representatives are choosing voters based upon sophisticated partisan sorting.”
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Elizabeth Warren edges out Joe Biden in Des Moines Register Iowa poll
The poll out Saturday night found Warren was the top choice for the Democratic nomination with 22 percent support among likely caucus-goers, while Biden had the support of 20 percent of respondents. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fell to third with 11 percent.
The poll was conducted of 602 likely Democratic caucus-goers from Sept. 14-18. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The last Register/CNN poll, in June, had Biden leading with 24 percent and Warren in the third spot at 15 percent, slightly behind Bernie Sanders, who came in second with 16 percent support.
While there have been several other recent polls of the crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state, the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, conducted by Des Moines-based pollster Ann Selzer, is widely considered to be the most accurate, so its Saturday night releases have become must-watch events for Iowa politicos.
The poll was released after the entire 2020 Democratic presidential field gathered in Des Moines Saturday for the annual Steak Fry, a fundraising event hosted by the local Democratic Party club.
Warren surged 7 points in the poll since the June survey, while Biden lost a bit of ground, putting them neck-and-neck inside the poll’s margin of error.
Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, both slipped significantly, down 5 and 6 percentage points, respectively, leaving Buttigieg at 9 percent, down from 15.
The rest of the field, meanwhile, is mired in the single digits.
California Sen. Kamala Harris held steady at 6 percent, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker gained a couple of points to land at 3 percent, while coming at 2 percent were Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, billionaire Tom Steyer, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Everyone else was at 1 percent or below.
Still, just one-in-five likely Democratic caucus-goers said they had already made up their minds so the race remains fluid. Almost two-thirds said they were open to being convinced to support someone else.
“The data in this poll seem to suggest the field is narrowing, but my sense is there’s still opportunity aplenty,” Selzer told the Register. “The leaders aren’t all that strong. The universe is not locked in.”
But the data is unquestionably good news for Warren, who is now both the best-liked candidate in the field (75 percent view her favorably) and the candidate being considered by the most likely caucus-goers (71 percent).
Voters go ‘center-left’ on issues, but not on candidates
WASHINGTON – When it comes to issues and issue agendas, there is good news and bad news for Democrats in 2020 in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
On the good news side of the ledger, there some key issues where voters seem supportive of left-leaning ideas and approaches. The bad news, a leftward-lean does not mean a leftward rush. If Democratic candidates push too hard in the primaries they may find themselves with problems in the general election.
The issue agreements and differences with registered voters and Democratic primary voters are eye-opening and, in some cases, surprising.
One number that jumps out of the data, 58 percent of registered voters in the survey say they support “providing free tuition at state colleges and universities.” That’s lower than the 81 percent of Democratic primary voters who support the idea and there’s a lot of wiggle room in how respondents may have interpreted the question (would it be means-tested?), but it’s still a majority.
And there are a series of issues like that one, where Democrats seem to have registered voters in their corner on topics ranging from immigration and student debt to health care and the environment.
For instance, 67 percent of registered voters and 89 percent of Democratic primary voters say they favor allowing young adults who were brought illegally to this country to stay here to attend college. On student debt, 64 percent of registered voters and 82 percent of Democratic primary voters favor forgiving student loans after someone has paid 12.5 percent of their income every year for 15 years.
The two groups are also in agreement on offering a health insurance “public option” for people younger than 65 who want to buy into it, 67 percent and 78 percent favor that idea respectively. And both registered voters and Democratic primary voters favor “shifting the country to 100 percent renewable energy and stopping the use of coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power by the year 2030” – 52 percent and 81 percent support that idea.
Those are numbers that should bring smiles to the faces of Democrats. They show a lot of broad support on some major issues that Democrats say they favor and seem to suggest Democrats are in a good spot to win voters in 2020.
For the record, the data also show that both registered voters and Democratic primary voters oppose building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and oppose eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
But there is another set of numbers in the poll that show the challenges Democrats could face on these same issues if their nominee heads down a path that goes a little further to the left.
On immigration, 64 percent of Democratic primary voters want to give undocumented immigrants government health care, only 36 percent of registered voters want that. When it comes to student debt, 60 percent of Democratic primary voters say they favor immediately canceling and forgiving all current student loan debt, but only 41 percent of registered voters support that idea.
A solid 63 percent of Democratic primary voters back a “Medicare for all” single-payer health care system “in which private health insurance would be eliminated” – only 41 percent of registered voters agree. And while 58 percent of Democratic primary voters support an end to the practice of “fracking” for oil and gas production, only 41 percent of registered voters feel the same way.
Those are some wide gaps and the splits show that winning general election support is not just about talking about the right issues (clean energy, fixing student debt), it’s about talking about them in the right way.
The registered voter answers on these questions suggest that the U.S. electorate become a center-left entity in the last few elections, one that is embracing more liberal action on issues such as climate change, health care and college costs.
But these numbers also suggest that the “center-left” is not the “left” and that’s where many Democratic primary voters reside.
The next six to eight months will determine where the Democratic nominee eventually ends up on these issues. And if the party’s nominee moves too far too fast to placate primary voters, he or she may end up standing on uncomfortable ground next November.
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