Democrats make gains in midterm electionsBy Cash Michaels. Peacemaker Contributor / November 8, 2018
The 2018 midterm elections will go down in the history books as the “comeback” contests for Democrats across North Carolina, and in Congress.
Buoyed by one of the largest midterm election voter turnouts in history, Democratic voters, in reaction to the change policies of President Donald Trump and his Republican Party, turned up, and turned out to “take their state and country back” at the polls, in preparation for the next presidential election in 2020 when Trump’s name is expected to be back on the ballot.
It wasn’t the massive “blue wave” that was originally predicted, but it was enough of a renouncement of GOP rule to give Democrats something to leverage for the next big election in two years.
While failing to win the two seats needed to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats were victorious in reclaiming the U.S. House for the next two years, and are expected to go after the president with mounting investigations into his business dealings, taxes, and alleged 2016 campaign dealings with the Russians.Here in North Carolina, the highest notable Democratic victory for a Black candidate was for civil rights attorney Anita Earls, who is projected to win a seat on the state Supreme Court with 49 percent, defeating incumbent Republican Associate Justice Barbara Jackson with 34 percent, and controversial GOP challenger Chris Anglin at 16 percent.
“We have a president who believes he can, by executive order, erase the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Earls said during her victory speech. “And we have misguided partisans in our state who believe that they should impeach justices who don’t rule in their favor. By working together over the past year, we’ve shown that we can stand up for the importance of an independent judiciary. Stand up for the principle that no one is above the law. And stand up for the importance of people’s right to vote.”
Associate Justice-elect Earls will now solidify the state High Court’s Democratic majority, making it 5-2.
And the Republican’s supermajority grip on the N.C. General Assembly has now been broken, with Democrats picking up enough seats in the state legislature to sustain Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes now that the GOP can no longer muster a three-fifths majority in the state House to override.
North Carolina Republicans also had some good news Tuesday night with the passage of four out of six state constitutional amendments.
Two of the proposed six controversial Republican amendments to the state Constitution were defeated – one which would limit the governor’s power to fill judicial vacancies, another to make appointments to the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. Of the four which were passed by the voters, the most consequential for African Americans was the voter ID amendment, which now will give the Republican-led legislature a literal blank check in establishing new laws requiring photo identification at the polls.
Constitutional amendments protecting hunting and fishing in North Carolina, strengthening crime victims’ rights, capping the state income tax at just 7 percent were also passed. Opponents charged that some of the amendments proposed were paper tigers used to draw more conservative voters to the polls to support the voter ID and capping the income tax amendments. Millions of dollars were spent to convince voters to “nix all six.”
While all three of North Carolina’s Democratic congress people – representatives G. K. Butterfield (NC-1); Alma Adams (NC-12) and David Price (NC- 4) – were reelected, Democratic candidates Linda Coleman (NC-2), and Kathy Manning (NC-13) fought hard, tough races losing their respective quests to unseat conservative Republican incumbents George Holding and Ted Budd respectively.
Butterfield, Adams and Price will now return to Washington in the House majority when the next Congress convenes in January.
In Raleigh, Wake County once again has an African American sheriff named “Baker.” Democrat Gerald Baker ousted former boss and longtime Sheriff Donnie Harrison to become the sheriff-elect, 55 to 45 percent.
It was Harrison, a Republican, who, over a decade ago, unseated then longtime popular Sheriff John Baker.
Gerald Baker, who just retired last May from the Wake Sheriff’s Department, vowed that if elected, he would hire more deputies of color.