Politics

NC Republicans Want to Destroy Representative Democracy So More Poor People Will Die

The Raleigh News & Observer has an editorial about the grotesque actions of North Carolina Republicans Paul mentioned yesterday that really ties everything together:

But this isn’t a case simply of hardball politics and sly legislative maneuvering. This is a case of breaking faith with the people of North Carolina and with all who strove and sacrificed over generations to protect and advance North Carolina’s political system as one based on a true representation of the people’s will, a true democracy.

And the legislation at issue isn’t a bill of limited scope. It is the state budget. It is how North Carolina defines itself by the priorities it sets in spending. And it’s being held up by a dispute over a major issue that involves billions of federal dollars and ultimately affects everyone in the state, Medicaid expansion.

The governor wants North Carolina — like 37 other states (including Washington, D.C.) — to expand the federal health insurance program to include more of the working poor. Republicans do not. The dispute — plus the governor’s call for bigger raises for teachers — led to the budget veto that the Republican majority — in any honest fashion — lacks the votes to override. The impasse should bring negotiations, concessions, alternatives and compromise, also known as the democratic process. Instead it brought forth a Republican shortcut — legislative deceit.

Not only was the House vote dishonest, it was carried out by a Republican majority that courts have repeatedly found to have gained seats through illegal gerrymandering. It was an illegitimate majority acting in an unethical way. These Republicans may be incapable of shame, but North Carolinians should be outraged. First by gerrymandering and now by a high-handed vote, something new has been taken from them. It’s called democracy.

Procedurally, what the Republicans did was a disgraceful, anti-democratic act done by lying grifters. But it’s also important to emphasize that the primary substantive reasons for this extreme act of constitutional hardball was…to prevent the state from accepting federal money to implement the popular program providing health insurance to the poor. That’s what they’re going to the mats for — to stop 634,000 poor people from getting healthcare, and also 37,200 people from getting jobs. Not because they have some alternative plan for offering them coverage, but because they just want more poor people to suffer avoidable suffering and death. That’s it. That’s what they think is worth disenfranchising African-American voters with “almost surgical precision” and then to blow up the legislative process for. It is impossible to overstate how incredibly vile these people are.

Incidentally, that Jacobin piece about how ACTUALLY Republicans loves them some Medicaid will stand as some of the finest comic writing of the 21st century.

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