North Carolina Democrats may have found the solution to their electoral blues - a dozen Democrat legislators in Raleigh have announced the formation of a new “centrist” Democrat caucus that will focus on pro-business policies, while trying to 'right' a ship they feel has tilted too far to the left in recent years.
Their ship is in treacherous waters. After over a century of firm control of both chambers of the NC General Assembly, Democrats lost their majorities in historic fashion in 2010. Then 2012 saw a super-majority of Republicans put into power, along with a new GOP governor.
After a less-than-appealing performance in 2014, and serious issues registering new voters, left-leaning North Carolina politicos embarked on some soul-searching in hopes of making the Democratic Party competitive in the state once again.
Tarheel Democrats think they have their answer, calling it the NC Main Street Democrat Caucus:
“This caucus will promote common-sense policies that improve the day-to-day lives of our citizens,” Rep. Ken Goodman said in a news release. “We are going to promote a platform that is attractive to pro-business, Main Street voters..."
Goodman said the group would focus on making sure that “traditional North Carolina Democrats” find a place in the General Assembly, after having lost a number of middle-of-the-road legislators in recent elections.
Not only will they work to try and elect more moderate, business-friendly Democrats to the state legislature, but they also hope to contain party defections to the GOP that started earlier this month:
State Rep. Paul Tine left the Democratic Party [now registered as unaffiliated] just in time for the start of this year’s legislative session…. Republicans welcomed his switch and will allow him to meet with them in private meetings where they’ll discuss their legislative strategy and agenda...
Rep. Ken Waddell said he’s one who hasn’t ruled out a switch.
“I always keep my options open,” said Waddell, a Columbus County farmer. “Most of the constituents I have in my rural area are conservative Democrats that are somewhat dismayed with some of the positions that the national Democratic Party has taken.”
No word yet on whether the elected Democrats will have (or even seek) the support of the state Democratic Party, which has been plagued with infighting, embarrassing sex scandals, fundraising issues, and high-profile resignations.
Regardless, the creation of this centrist group will be a welcome sight for longtime Democrats desirous of more moderate voices from their elected representatives in local and state government.
Sister Toldjah is a contributing writer for IJReview. She is based in Charlotte, NC, and has a passion for political and culture war issues. She blogs at SisterToldjah.com and can be followed on Twitter at @sistertoldjah.