Is the North Carolina GOP Moving Left for November?

The media, here in the form of The New York Times, appears to be feeding into the notion that the North Carolina GOP has to cave on the very principles that won it a long sought state legislative majority in order to win state-wide in November.

The newly empowered lawmakers cut taxes, pared unemployment benefits and eliminated business regulations. They allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, curtailed access to the voting booth and enacted new rules for abortion clinics. It was the most activist session in memory. 

If a party divided cannot stand, neither can one without principles. Then, again, this may all be more media hype than anything. What will matter more is where the party is in September when many vacationing would be voters start paying attention to politics, again.

But this summer is a different story. One of the leaders of the revolution, Speaker Thom Tillis of the House, is trying to win a United States Senate seat. Another, Gov. Pat McCrory, is eyeing a tough challenge in 2016, and the legislature is unpopular.

The article suggests that Republicans should run away from their accomplishments and one can almost hear the footsteps of D.C. consultants in their loafers running to the state to push the same notion. Not everyone agrees.

John Hood, the president and chairman of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative group based in Raleigh, does not believe that Republicans have in any way moderated their agenda “because they were burned by the blowback from 2013.” 

“I don’t discount the political value of avoiding controversy in an election year,” Mr. Hood said, “but Republicans are very pleased to go home and run on their record.”

Avoiding controversy is one thing, surrendering on the very principles that got you elected is another. At some point the Republican Party needs to stop running scared and learn to exhibit the strength and vision to run on reasonable conservative principles, not run away from them because the Democrats, the media and often out-of-state consultants tell them they should.