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Carolina Journal Radio No. 904: Comparing N.C. response to Spanish Flu and COVID-19

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2020 8:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 904: Comparing N.C. response to Spanish Flu and COVID-19

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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September 14, 2020 8:00 am

More than 100 years ago, North Carolina addressed problems linked to the Spanlsh Flu. Today the state continues to cope with ongoing challenges linked to COVID-19. In a recent column for Carolina Journal, Brenée Goforth of the John Locke Foundation contrasted the state’s responses to the two worldwide pandemics. She shares highlights from her research. The year 2020 has featured plenty of political turmoil. Andrew McCarthy, senior fellow at the National Review Institute, placed today’s troubles in historical context during a recent online forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. McCarthy offered ideas for addressing today’s polarized political climate. Greensboro businessman Louis DeJoy has generated controversy ever since taking the job as U.S. postmaster general. During a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, DeJoy rebutted critics’ complaints about his plans to improve post office efficiency and finances. The John Locke Foundation has endorsed efforts to boost privacy protection for donors to nonprofit groups. During a recent online forum, JLF featured comments from Ashley Varner, vice president of Washington state’s Freedom Foundation. Varner discussed that group’s fight against the forced release of donor information. Voters head to the polls this fall amid a climate of deep partisan divisions. Even the parties themselves face internal divisions. Andrew Taylor, N.C. State University political science professor, analyzes the impact of intraparty conflicts. He discusses the potential influence of those fights on on fall election campaigns.

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From Cherokee to Kuretuk, from the largest city to the smallest town, and from the statehouse to the schoolhouse, it's Carolina Journal Radio, your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most important public policy events and issues.

Welcome to Carolina Journal Radio, I'm Mitch Kocke. During the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. The year 2020 has featured plenty of political turmoil.

National Review's Andrew McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor. He places today's troubles in historical perspective. Greensboro businessman Louis DeJoy has generated controversy ever since taking the job as U.S. Postmaster General. You'll hear DeJoy defend his proposed post office reforms.

The John Locke Foundation is promoting efforts to protect privacy of donors to non-profit groups. You'll hear highlights from a recent forum on the topic. And a top North Carolina political scientist offers his perspective on the impact for 2020 of intra-party conflict. That conflict involves both Republicans and Democrats. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline. When it comes to COVID-19 compared to the Spanish flu, there's been a lot of talk about the similarities and the differences in these two pandemics. But if you ask any historian, they're likely to tell you that history often repeats itself, sometimes with just some slight variations.

That seems to be the case in our current situation. Our next guest took a fascinating look at North Carolina's responses to the two different pandemics. And she joins me now. Brene Goforth is the John Locke Foundation's social media manager. She also is a writer for CarolinaJournal.com.

Brene, welcome back to the show. Thank you for having me. This is such a fun piece and people can read this at CarolinaJournal.com. So I say that fun in quotes because obviously the subject isn't fun, pandemics, but it's really interesting what you did. Before we get started and talk about the similarities, why did you get interested in even looking at this?

Absolutely. So there was a lot of people talking about the similarities and the differences and how pandemics come every 100 years, all of that kind of thing. And so it piqued my interest and I thought, well, what about North Carolina?

I mean, every state, particularly back then, would have been a little bit different in the way that it handled these kinds of situations. And I started a deep dive into historical newspaper articles, reading all about it. And there was just so much there that I had to write something. And in fact, some of those images from those long ago newspaper pages are actually part of this story.

And that's why it's so important. Go ahead and read this piece at CarolinaJournal.com, the headline comparing North Carolina's responses to Spanish flu and COVID-19. All right. Masks. We know right now we're under a statewide mandate from Governor Roy Cooper about masks.

Tell us what you found when you looked back 100 years. Yes. So masks back in the day were recommended, but they weren't recommended the way that they are now. So we're about 60 days into Roy Cooper's 30 day mask mandate from June. And every person in North Carolina is required to wear these masks when they go out and about healthy sick, what have you. That wasn't the case back during the Spanish flu. The recommendation was really only for people who were taking care of the sick, doctors, nurses, or people who had somebody who had the Spanish flu in their home and were taking care of them to wear the masks.

They weren't meant for just going out and about and all of those kinds of things. And they were usually made at home and they were made from gauze or buttercloth, which would be called butter muslin now. It's similar to cheesecloth and they would be four layers as opposed to kind of the guidance that we saw at the beginning of don't wear a mask for the general population. And then once we got orders to wear a mask, it could be anything.

It could be made out of an old t-shirt, things like that. We didn't have this similar guidance for four layers of this particular material or anything like that. It was kind of a free for all and it caused a little bit of confusion as we can see. Meaning that a hundred years ago, they're not going to be ordering masks online or trying to get the most stylish mask, but people were making them at home.

And you said four layers. That's interesting to me. Do we know at all if that is related to any science or medical recommendation or were they just kind of using common sense and thinking, okay, the thicker I make this thing, maybe the less likely I am to get infected? Yeah, so we don't have any information necessarily. This did come from the health organizations of the time. This was their recommendation.

And so we don't have any information about how they came to that conclusion, but I'm assuming that it was a mixture of as much protection as you can get and still be able to breathe. Exactly. So these days we have been reading stories about in different cities, you will have people who are essentially snitching on others for not wearing a mask. And there's been a lot of shaming, particularly with social media these days. I mean, it's kind of gone rampant. Was there shaming or telling on people a hundred years ago?

Yes. So North Carolina didn't have, like I said, a statewide mandate. Other states and other cities did.

So San Francisco and California is one of those examples of places where they had mandates. And there was, you know, snitching and all of those kinds of things. But in North Carolina in particular, there were pieces that would show up in the newspaper that would criticize people who said that they didn't want to wear a mask or anything like that.

You've got the piece right there and it's on CarolinaJournal.com if you want to go check it out. But it's very interesting. They compared somebody not wearing a mask to somebody who wears fancy socks or silly ties or anything like that. That sounds so similar to some of the arguments today.

You know, you're ridiculous for not wearing your mask and all that. So I guess people are people, whether they were living in the early 1900s or in 2020. So that's pretty fascinating. Quarantines, were people put away so that they would not infect other people?

Yeah. So we have kind of a quarantine that we all did where everybody was recommended to stay at home, all of those kinds of things kind of statewide. So quarantines typically weren't actually given out to an entire state or an entire city unless it showed evidence of a particular outbreak. So quarantines typically were kept for people who are actually sick. If you were found sick, you would be quarantined in your home and there would actually be quarantine officers who came and made sure that you were staying at home and all of those kinds of things enforced these. And if you broke a quarantine, you could be threatened with now what is what in today's money would be up to a thousand dollar fine or 10 to 30 days in jail, which would start after you got better.

They wouldn't just throw you in jail while you were still sick. But on top of that, there was an instance in Rockingham in North Carolina where they shut down the whole city after they got, you know, quite a few cases there. They had police officers stationed outside of the city, making sure nobody came in and out.

They put placards on barbershop doors, all of these kinds of things. It was very different from what we're seeing now. But it was, interestingly enough, pretty strictly enforced. It sounds like during the Spanish flu that you had local officials who were making their decisions for their particular area versus what we're seeing right now from Governor Roy Cooper is in large part a one size fits all mandate for everything. And local officials can do something if they want it to be stricter than what the governor has outlined. But was is that difference really that stark that it was local people back then? It really does seem pretty hyper local, the reactions that all of these places are getting. And you can see that when you go back and look at these historical newspapers, because there were so many.

We have kind of a consolidation of newspapers now, but there were so many, you know, 100 years ago when this was the only way for people to get their information. And you know, the the amount that they were enforcing in certain areas would be different than they were enforcing in other cities. So you'd get some really stern enforcement, you'd get some really lax enforcement. And actually, the quarantine officers had quite a bit of responsibility on their shoulders, because you could be fired or given a misdemeanor if you weren't doing your job, which happened a couple of times in North Carolina to those quarantine officers.

Now in today's situation, we have not only Governor Roy Cooper, but Dr. Mandy Cohen, who's the Secretary of Health and Human Services, making the decisions. And we now all know about the three W's, the wait, wash and wear during COVID-19. Did we have three W's or something like it 100 years ago? No, the health advice that was going out then was similarly, you know, pretty basic, right? So they would tell you to, you know, wash your hands, stay away from crowds, all of those kinds of things. So similar to today, but maybe just not branded as the three W's.

They didn't have a Bernay Goforth working for them. But on top of that, they had some interesting things that they would do. They had something called Dakin Solution, which they recommended you sprayed in your throat. And, you know, too much ingestion of that can be dangerous. So I would not recommend that one.

But washing hands is still great advice. It's a really interesting read, this piece that Bernay Goforth has written at CarolinaJournal.com. Comparing North Carolina's responses to Spanish flu and COVID-19. Bernay, thanks so much for joining us. Thank you for having me.

Stay with us. Much more Carolina Journal radio to come in just a moment. Tired of fake news?

Tired of reporters with political axes to grind? Well, you need to be reading Carolina Journal. Honest, uncompromising old school journalism you expect and you need. Even better, the monthly Carolina Journal is free to subscribers. Sign up at CarolinaJournal.com.

You'll receive Carolina Journal newspaper in your mailbox each month. Investigations into government spending. Revelations about boondoggles. Who the powerful leaders are and what they're doing in your name and with your money. We shine the light on it all with the stories and angles other outlets barely cover.

But there's a bonus. Our print newspaper is published monthly, but our daily news site gives you the latest news each and every day. Log on to CarolinaJournal.com once, twice, even three times a day.

You won't be disappointed. It's fresh news. And if you'd like a heads up on the daily news, sign up for our daily email. Do that at CarolinaJournal.com. Carolina Journal, rigorous, unrelenting old school journalism. We hold government accountable for you. Welcome back to Carolina Journal radio. I'm Mitch Koch. Recent months have exposed deep fissures in American society.

How should we address them? Andrew McCarthy of National Review discussed the topic during a recent online forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. McCarthy placed our current political turmoil in historical perspective.

The one good thing that you can say about that if you're going to reach for a silver lining is that we have been through this before. And it's in the historical memory, at least of the old fogies like me. But I grew up in the Bronx in the 1960s and 70s, high crime. And it also turns out, I know this is out of the historical memory of a lot of people, but it was a time of a lot of domestic terrorism in the United States. And it's kind of a forgotten era because we've had really a generation of domestic tranquility beginning in the early 1990s up until very recently.

But for example, this is always an eye opener for people. In 1972 alone, just that year, there were 1900 bombings in the United States. 1900. We're not talking about bombings like the World Trade Center attack, either one, or the kinds of terrorist bombings where you had organizations that were projecting power on the level of a nation state. But we did have a very steady stream of domestic terrorism. We did have hard left and anarchist organizations, black separatist organizations, all working together against not only the federal government, but the governments of the states and the municipalities.

So this is not something we haven't seen before. McCarthy looks to history to see how America will emerge from a time of turmoil. Eventually we come out of it and we came out of it strongly. I think there's a lot of things to be worried about in connection with this current era of it compared to that time. Back in the 1960s, 70s, even into the 80s, I think the institutions, particularly the academy, were stronger than they are now. We're now having to deal with this under circumstances where we've turned the institutions of opinion and education in our country over to the left for the last three generations. And a lot of that is the reason, the rationale for what we're seeing today. But I think basically what's going on right now is you have a strong cultural movement that's anti-American and that is organized around a lot of what we would regard as irrational principles. But what I learned prosecuting terrorists who also have a kind of an ideology that's fundamentalist and on fire is that something always beats nothing, particularly when you're dealing with young people. And on one side of the equation here, I think you have a very strong ideological movement that is crazy, but it knows what it believes and it's rabidly anti-American. And on the other side of the coin, I think it's at sometimes we're not sure we deserve to survive. We're not as proud as we used to be as a country of who we are, what we stand for and what our principles are. And what I worry about is that you have something as noxious as it is fighting against people who aren't sure that they're worth saving. And I think until we reach back into that spring well and realize what's great about America and why America is so essential, why America has been like God's gift to the world, we're going to have a problem.

And I don't know that you turn that around in a day or on a dime, but it's got to be turned around. That's Andrew McCarthy of National Review, featured speaker in an online forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. Some people argue that we need stronger law enforcement. McCarthy addressed that idea. Law is very limited in what it can do to fix a society, and it's even limited in what it can do in terms of keeping order. If you think about it, back in May into June, right after George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis, the big argument that we were having was whether the president had the authority to dispatch troops into some of these cities that were in upheaval. And the reason that became a serious discussion is because I think having had 30 years of record low crime, economic flourishing, domestic tranquility, what people forget is that that took a long time to build and to put into place. And what it creates over time is the presumption of the rule of law, the presumption that the law will be enforced. The police are, as long as you have that in place, police, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the like can keep that in place for a long time.

But if it's lost, they're not capable of establishing it on their own. We don't have enough police and the array of people who are involved in keeping law and order. We don't have enough of that that you can establish what you need in the first place in order to have the rule of law, which is stability and order. The federal government is especially poorly equipped to address law and order nationwide. In New York City alone, we have 38,000 cops who patrol that geographically small, but by population, very large city. There are only 13,000 FBI agents in the whole country. And most of them don't work on violent crime matters.

They have federal programs that they deal with. So that's a long-winded way of saying, I think law enforcement is at the end of the string. And we always think of everything as being downhill or downstream from culture. I think politics is more important than law, but culture is much more important than politics. And part of the problem that we have, which is showing itself to be an enormous problem right now, is that we've fallen into the trap of thinking things like law enforcement can address the deeper cultural problems that we have.

When in point of fact, when things get as intense as they are now, law enforcement can't even do the job that we expect it to do. McCarthy explains why our political divisions don't yield easy solutions. Part of the big problem that I think we have is that we don't have a consensus about what we mean by what good government is. And we don't have a consensus about what we mean about what freedom is and how freedom and equality are actually, unless you have a consensus of what they mean, they're in eternal tension. And the reason that that's important is because while our idea of government, good government, is one that protects rights, that's what it exists to do, we have a very strong movement which has a lot more of a following in the country than I think that we often like to realize that sees government as a tool to address what it perceives as structural inequalities in the society.

And it sees governance as basically a power that you can have at your disposal in order to make social change, rather than government being something that reflects the values of the governed and actually operates legitimately with the consent of the governed. That's Andrew McCarthy of National Review speaking about today's political turmoil. He offered featured remarks during a recent online forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. We'll return with more Carolina Journal Radio in a moment. If you love freedom, we've got great news to share with you. Now you can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place. North Carolina Conservative dot com. It's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom movement. At North Carolina Conservative dot com, you'll find links to John Locke Foundation blogs on the day's news. Carolina Journal dot com reporting and quick takes. Carolina Journal radio interviews, TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke Foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, commentary and polling data from the Civitas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

That's right. All in one place. North Carolina Conservative dot com. That's North Carolina spelled out conservative dot com. North Carolina Conservative dot com.

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I'm Mitch Kocai. Greensboro businessman Louis DeJoy has faced critics ever since he took over as U.S. Postmaster General. During a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, DeJoy answered those critics. I believe there is an opportunity for the Postal Service to better serve the American public and also to operate in a financially sustainable manner. Congress established the Postal Service to fulfill a public service mission to provide prompt, reliable and universal postal services to the American public in an efficient and financially sustainable fashion. Our ability to fulfill that mandate in the coming years is at fundamental risk. Changes must be made to ensure our sustainability for the years and decades ahead. Our business model, established by the Congress, requires us to pay our bills through our own efforts.

I view it as my personal obligation to put the organization in a position to fulfill that mandate. This year, the Postal Service will likely report a loss of more than $9 billion. Without change, our losses will only increase in the years to come. It is vital that Congress enact reform legislation that addresses our unaffordable retirement payments. Congress must allow the Postal Service to integrate our retiree health benefits program with Medicare. The Postal Regulatory Commission began a mandated review of our pricing system four years ago.

Our current system is not working. We urgently require the PRC to do its job and establish a more rational regulatory system. Had the Congress and PRC fulfilled their obligations to the American public concerning the Postal Service, I am certain that much of our $80 billion in cumulative losses since 2007 could have been avoided and that our operational and financial performance would not now be in such jeopardy. The Postal Service must also do its part.

We must adapt to the realities of our marketplace, generate more revenue and control our costs. I have also had the chance to observe the many hidden strengths of the organization and appreciate our critical mission of service to the American public. Despite our deep, long-standing financial problems, there is an incredible strong base to build upon and a tremendous desire of the public for the Postal Service to succeed. As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time.

This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day. In every community in America, we continue to work to keep our employees and customers safe as we fulfill our essential role delivering medications, benefit checks, and financial statements the public depends upon. There has been a public outpouring of support for postal employees as they perform their essential service throughout the nation. I look forward to working with you and this committee and our stakeholders to restore the financial health of the United States Postal Service and to improve the way we serve the American public.

That's U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Greensboro-based businessman. We'll return with more Carolina Journal Radio in a moment. We're doubling down on freedom.

At Carolina Journal Radio, we're proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet. And now, get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast, Headlock, available on iTunes and at johnlock.org slash podcast. Now Headlock is a little bit different.

It's a no-holds-barred discussion that challenges soft-headed ideas from the left and the right. But like Carolina Journal Radio, Headlock is smart and timely. But with Headlock, you'll hear more about the culture wars and you'll get some more humor as well. We guarantee great information and a good time. Double down with us, listen to Carolina Journal Radio each week and listen to Headlock too. Remember, you can listen to Headlock at johnlock.org slash podcast or subscribe or download each week at iTunes. Carolina Journal Radio and Headlock, just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained. Both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke Foundation.

Welcome back to Carolina Journal Radio, I'm Mitch Kocai. The John Locke Foundation supports legislation to protect the privacy of donors to private nonprofit groups. A recent online forum helped explain why. Forum panelist Ashley Varner is vice president of the Freedom Foundation, a labor-focused group based in Washington state. There are real world consequences if you make the wrong donation, you know, if you make a donation that you think if you do believe in it, it's something that's important to you. But someone else in this cancel culture that we live in decides that they want to take out their frustrations against you. And unfortunately, Freedom Foundation, our employees, our leadership, our donors and our board members have all been subject of harassment and intimidation because they simply either work for Freedom Foundation or they support what we do.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of creepy people out there and we've experienced a lot of that. Varner referenced an important 60 year old Supreme Court case involving civil rights. The NAACP versus Alabama. In the decision, the justices wrote that this exposure could lead to economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercion and other manifestations of public hostility. And that is what the donors, the board members, our leadership and even just our regular employees like myself have been experiencing at the hands of some union backed groups. I'm not even going to say their name because it's I'm not going to give them the notoriety, but we have a union backed front group who comes through our 990 tax forms filings and they got information on our leadership and our our board. And we've been targeted ever since. They've they have sent letters to the neighbors of our board members, of our staff with their name and address telling their neighbors that these are bad, dangerous people because they work or are associated with the Freedom Foundation. They have accused them of being racist and anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ. And they've even had demonstrations outside of some of our board members businesses. They've gone to great lengths to even set up web pages to elicit bad customer service responses from people who have purchased something from our board members. It's really scary stuff.

I've got so many examples. It's really it's scary what people will do when they can get access to your information and then create a mob. Basically, that's what we have experienced. Varner warned people that the threat of donor intimidation is more than just theory.

It has already happened. I mean, they want to destroy your business, your livelihood, your professional reputation and physical intimidation. So we have a former board member who owns a winery and event hall in Washington State. And this group I mentioned, they sent emails to all of the event planners in the area accusing this person of being anti-LGBTQ and told the event planners to boycott this event hall. This person knows that he lost at least one same sex wedding due to event planners being told that he's a bad person and he's anti same sex weddings.

So he knows that he's lost at least some business. We have a home builder who every time he has a site go up, you know, you put your sign up saying that you're the home builder building this site. And we've had groups of people protest outside the home building site, also protest outside the home building headquarters trying to drive away business. They've also sent emails to people who are home purchasers or who have previously purchased a home from this person asking if they feel like they had a bad business dealing or did they feel like they were discriminated against because of their skin color or because of their sexual orientation with a survey saying, you know, please fill this out.

Let us know just to elicit bad faith and try to drive away future business. That's Ashley Varner, vice president of the Freedom Foundation, speaking recently in a John Locke Foundation online forum. Varner talked about the misleading nature of public attacks on her group and its supporters. We don't even handle any of those issues. We work on one issue only, and that's public sector unions.

We have nothing to do with any of these other social issues. But there's actually and I'm not going to give this web page, but there is a web page devoted to doxing essentially every staff member of the Freedom Foundation. And I'm on this web page as well. It has our picture. It's a personal picture that this person has gone and sought out somewhere on our own social media, posted a personal picture, our home address, our birthdate and some of our biographical information. I mean, this is designed to cause fear, to intimidate us, to make us perhaps not want to work for Freedom Foundation. But it's also dangerous when you're giving out people's addresses and birth dates that invites people to try to steal our identity or come to our home.

It's very, very creepy. And it's simply because we work on the other side of public sector unions than they do. That's what this is all about. Varner has taken her story to the federal government. In February, the IRS held a panel discussion hearing where a bunch of us came and testified about how our groups are impacted by the donor disclosure requirements. It was a great coalition of a lot of state and national think tanks. I actually in my testimony, I mentioned NAACP versus Alabama and how that was required. It was needed because of the intimidation, the open intimidation factor that Alabama was trying to do and that it was being effective. But free speech is paramount to, you know, the bedrock of our society and to keeping our freedom. And so we're very glad the Trump administration recently changed the Schedule B requirements for 501 C3 groups.

It was a it was an overwhelmingly I will tell you, I was surprised because our side often doesn't organize as well as the other side. But we had more people there to talk about why it was important to protect donor information. Varner explained how intimidation tactics have affected her group. We at the Freedom Foundation, our headquarters in Olympia, Washington, we've had to take extra security precautions at our building because we had at least once a crowd tried to storm our doors. They have followed our employees to their cars, taken down license plate numbers.

This is this is what they've done to our employees. But they've tried to do the same kind of damage, personal damage to reputations to businesses of the people who choose to associate with us, knowing the kind of volatile environment we're currently living in. It is so important knowing that these tactics are used to intimidate and bully people. It's really important for state governments to take action to minimize the ability of this kind of harm and protect the private information of Americans who simply want to participate in the political discourse in their own way, however they choose as private citizens. Those who say donor privacy flies in the face of a push for more public transparency. We believe and we know that transparency is for the government.

Privacy is reserved for the citizen. That is something that has been a part of our cornerstone in our political discourse from the very beginning when we were writing the Federalist Papers under pseudonyms. That's Ashley Varner of the Freedom Foundation speaking in a recent John Locke Foundation online forum.

She's touting the benefits of laws that protect privacy of donors to nonprofit groups. We'll return with more Carolina Journal radio in a moment. Real influence.

You either have it or you don't. And at the John Locke Foundation, we have it. You'll find our guiding principles in many of the freedom forward reforms of the past decade here in North Carolina. So while others talk or complain or name call, we provide research, solutions and hope. Our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day, jobs, health care, education and more. We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control over your life. Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse, the envy of every other state. Our research has helped policy makers make decisions that ensure you keep more of what you earn, expand your choice of schools for your kids, widen your job opportunities, improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future for truth, for freedom, for the future of North Carolina. We are the John Locke Foundation. Welcome back to Carolina Journal radio.

I'm Donna Martinez. In roughly 60 days or so, we will elect a president of the United States. North Carolina is already seeing a lot of President Trump, his family members and their surrogates. And with Joe Biden reportedly set to begin making in-person campaign stops, we will no doubt see him in our state as well.

Perhaps the candidate's biggest challenge, however, is to heal the rift inside their own parties if they expect to win in November. Dr. Andy Taylor is professor of political science at NC State University. He's following the presidential race, everything going on there, and he joins me now. Andy, welcome back to the show.

Thanks for having me, Donna. Let's talk first about the challenge for Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. What dynamics do you see going on there? Yeah, well, it was a pretty divisive primary, of course. Large numbers of candidates at some stage, I think about 20 each or maybe some occupying the same lane, but occupying a various number of lanes within the party that would go quite far to the left, at least in terms of modern American politics. And the kind of king of the left, Bernie Sanders, had a tremendous amount of support.

I've never heard him describe that way before, but that's good. We'll do that. And of course, took the competition, the nomination contest pretty far. And although Biden was able to unify the party, there clearly is still residue, strong residue of this divisive primary, particularly in that progressive wing. So Andy, can we tell anything from polling or anything at all as we watch these races go forward, can we tell if Joe Biden's camp believes that they have gotten the folks who are to their left into the fold and ready to actually turn out and vote?

Well, I think there's two things going on. I think there's a tremendous amount of discontent in the progressive wing that, you know, people who galvanized around Sanders during the primaries to a lesser extent, candidates like Elizabeth Warren. And that continues in terms of policy. And there is significant concern amongst them, I think, with having Joe Biden be the candidate. But then sort of tugging them in a different direction is a desire to to to get rid of Trump and win the election.

And so these two sort of feelings are in conflict. But from the polling that we see, it does seem as though the sort of desire to win sort of short term concern is overriding the long term ones. And and perhaps there's a sentiment within that wing of the party that just get rid of Trump and then possibly go to work on Biden. If the Democrats maintain control in the House, if they win the Senate, which is, you know, certainly within the realms of possibility, they might look for leadership in the congressional part of of government rather than them from the White House and a President Biden.

So I think that that concern amongst them is to get rid of Trump is at the moment, if you'll pardon the phrase, trumping that other desire to move the party far to the left. What will happen then when Joe Biden gets on a debate stage with Donald Trump? And presumably both candidates will be asked pointed questions about what they support, what they don't support. Is that the point at which it will get tough for Joe Biden to try to do the balancing act?

Well, certainly. And the Trump argument is that Biden really is a sort of Trojan horse or even if he's not consciously a Trojan horse for these progressive ideas, he's going to be too weak to really control the party. And so if he wins, in particular, if the Democrats also win the Senate, then, you know, what you'll hear from him during the campaign isn't what you'll get when the when the Democrats are in office. So far, Biden and I think this is worked largely because of the pandemic and the fact that we don't have a traditional campaign has done a good job of sort of saying, no, you know, I'm I'm the old Joe that you know, I'm the moderate.

And, you know, I'm I'm I support, for example, I support the protests about racial injustice, but I'm against the violence and the looting and the disorder. But as you said, on the debate stage, when he's really pressed by Trump on this, it's going to be more difficult for him to make the case. Now, speaking of President Trump, he's got his own set of challenges within the Republican Party. It's been rather interesting to see disaffected Republicans who don't like Trump.

A lot of times we call him the never Trumpers, but there are several different groups of them, some of them now openly supporting Joe Biden for president. What can Donald Trump do? Can he bring in those people and convince them that, hey, you may not like me, but I'm better than the other guy?

Maybe at the margins. And then that's going to be part of the strategy during the fall that, you know, again, you don't like me, you know, I'm rough and ready and maybe even on policy matters, you know, particularly on issues like trade and immigration, which really started the rift between the never Trumpers and Trump. But if you elect Biden, you're getting, as I said before, a Trojan horse.

And I'm better than that alternative. That's the case he's going to be going to try to make. Much of the never Trump movement is at the elite level. You look amongst self-identified Republicans. Trump is doing pretty well. Not as well as other Republican presidential candidates have done, but the better than you would think. But he's going to have to work hard, I think, particularly in maintaining support at the mass level amongst conservative women in suburban areas where he has seen some erosion.

And again, I think the idea that Biden is a you would get Biden, you actually get Bernie Sanders and AOC and the squad and you get social disorder. He's going to work very hard at trying to bring them back into the party in a way that he won significant amount of them in 2016. A public safety message seems to be emerging, at least at this point from the Trump campaign. Is that really targeted to those suburban women, the moms who are concerned about their kids? Yeah, to a large extent. I think it's aimed at them.

These are people who are generally Republican, but have been put off by Trump's style and some of the policies and who are sort of genuinely concerned about some of the issues that have been raised with regards to sort of equality and racial justice, but are turned off by a lot of the much of the rhetoric of BLM and much of what they've seen, not just even on TV, but in their communities sometimes. So they're up for grabs. And I think they're a sort of pivotal group in the campaign. Andy, what about the impact of debates in traditional times?

And we're certainly not living in traditional times for all sorts of reasons, but they have been pretty important. Will they be this time? Well, I think they might be even more important just because there's not going to be a conventional campaign.

And so there's really going to be a tremendous amount of focus on them. It's hard to imagine that there are going to be any things that the candidates themselves are going to do that can really generate the kind of interest that the debates will. There won't be any big Trump rallies, for example.

There won't be any flying all over the country to hold these events. Instead, we're going to be focused on that. There may be extraneous external events that may affect the campaign, but those won't be controlled by the candidates. So the debates will really get the focus.

We are living in fascinating times as we look at about 60 days or so before we choose who will be the leader of this country. Andy Taylor is professor of political science at NC State University. Andy, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me.

That's all the time we have for the program this week. Thank you for listening. On behalf of my co-host, Mitch Kokai, I'm Donna Martinez. Hope you'll join us again next week for more Carolina Journal Radio. Carolina Journal Radio is a program of the John Locke Foundation. To learn more about the John Locke Foundation, including donations that support programs like Carolina Journal Radio, send email to development at johnlock.org or call 1-866-JLF-INFO.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-14 03:03:28 / 2024-03-14 03:20:14 / 17

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