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What NC Dems did wrong, the GOP did right in election 2020

Cash Michaels / November 12, 2020

If the final numbers hold up after they’re counted and certified on Friday, Pres. Donald Trump should still enjoy a slim but sturdy election victory in North Carolina over now projected President-elect Joe Biden, no doubt due to the numerous campaign visits Trump made to the Tar Heel state as late as the night before Election Day.

Trump and his campaign surrogates flooded North Carolina in the weeks leading up to the big day and were rewarded with strong voter support in the 75 mostly rural counties, giving him an edge over Biden’s dominance in just 25 mostly urban North Carolina counties, analysis shows.

Ultimately, Trump won 58 counties with between 1,000 and 20,000 votes. What put the icing on the cake for the Republican president and the rest of his down ballot candidates were the GOP turnout-the-vote campaign, where volunteers, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, canvassed neighborhoods, knocking door-to door, asking voters to show at the polls for their candidates.

Fearing COVID-19, Democrats didn’t do that until very late in the campaign. Dems did push, especially in communities of color, mail-in absentee ballots, but African Americans were unfamiliar with them and returned many that were not legally complete in terms of required signatures from voters and witnesses, thus spoiling and eliminating them from predominating counts.

When the smoke cleared nationally for Democrat Biden, he benefited from a strong Black vote (especially from women) and strong support from new voters. Mail-in ballots proved to be a blessing in battleground states like Pennsylvania which put Biden over the top in electoral votes.

But Democrats nationally also lost seats in Congress and did not take back the Senate as promised (a Jan. 5, 2021 duel runoff in Georgia is expected to decide the Senate majority.)

Here in North Carolina, however, Democrats did not take back the General Assembly as hoped for, did poorly in the Council of State and judicial races, are waiting see if they’ve held onto the state Supreme Court chief justice’s seat, and lost the lt. governor’s seat that seemed all but assured.

In addition, Republicans, not Democrats, will once again be in charge of redrawing the voting districts for the next ten years.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Election 2020 for Democrats. The question is, can they meet the challenge?

Cash Michaels is an award-winning journalist and editor, who covers state and national news for the Carolina Peacemaker. He is based in Cary, N.C.


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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