There are times I miss living on the West Coast. Pacific Ocean, Redwoods and Sequoias, Sierra Mountains, and acres of Liberals. Born and raised in Western Washington, then living many years in Northern California, I always appreciated the Left Slant of the politics. And I was very aware of differing opinions (even radically divergent points of view) among Liberals.
Now that I live in Western North Carolina it suits me to live in another area full of progressive-minded, freedom-loving Liberals. But here in the mountains, a short drive out of town into the countryside reminds us that we’re surrounded by radically different perspectives on what matters and what “America” is–not all neighbors share our views on what this country is, or should be.
Several friends back on the West Coast (one each in California, Oregon and Washington) have poked and joked a bit about how North Carolina voted in the last election. I can joke along, but have to admit it stings a little, and makes me miss my Lib-roots in the West. But I like it here, on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I want to make sense of the landscape, both natural and human.
It’s worth a closer look at what’s going on here.
North Carolina (like The South in general) has a bad reputation in some quarters. So I read up just a bit and checked a few stats that may surprise those who judge us harshly.
NC has been purple for many years. We’re a very moderate state (“one of the most competitive states,” as one analyst says) and votes can swing across the razors-edge of division in any election, which it may do in 2022 and 2024.
In fact, NC has elected more Democratic Governors in the past 100 years than any state!
This year, we re-elected our Democratic Governor (Roy Cooper, who is excellent in my opinion) while the state voted for a Republican President by roughly the same spread (a little over 1M votes).
And yet, just 12 years ago, the state went for President Barack Obama. And only 16 years ago (2004) NC voted for Bush (by 12 percentage points) AND a Democratic Governor (by 12 percentage points). Hillary Clinton lost by only about 170,000 votes in 2016 but the state elected Cooper for Governor.
And here’s the breakdown of votes in 2020:
With a population of about 10.5 million, NC voters chose:
Biden= 2.6 million votes (48%)
The Other Guy= 2.7 million (50%)
-I’m always curious how Unaffiliated voters will swing (I tend to be one myself).
-btw, Biden might have won if the 70,000+ Libertarians and others chose him. Yet, as we know, “might have” doesn’t win elections.
Here’s the thing: Look at the numbers of registered voters:
2.6 million registered Democrats
2.2 million registered Republicans
2.5 million registered Unaffiliated
Where does that leave us? I’m not sure. But IF North Carolinians could communicate and compromise more, maybe there wouldn’t be such a sharp knife-edge slicing us apart. We might even have something to teach the rest of the country? As someone said recently, instead of demanding we get everything we want NOW, it’s more realistic to get what you CAN right now, and do the hard work to get the rest.
In other words, when it comes to Politics (not to mention Religion. . .oh, there I go again, I mentioned it) change can be excruciatingly slow … though Change Must, and Will Come!