Cawthorn’s social media branding also reinforces the notion that a trip to Johnston County, while not helpful to his NC-11 constituents, may play into larger, statewide political aspirations. His Twitter handle is “CawthornforNC,” not “CawthornforNC11” or “CawthornforWNC.” While this might be dismissed as a coincidence or a small detail that should be ignored, Cawthorn’s behavior and decision-making suggests that one thing he is unusually attuned to is branding. After all, he built his team around “comms, not legislation.”
And because it looked as if it covered everything in sight, few people realized that the vine often fizzled out just behind that roadside screen of green. And that, perhaps, is the real danger of kudzu. Our obsession with the vine ... veils more serious threats to the countryside, ... or more destructive invasive plants ....
The political vine is growing. Its runners are ready to expand their reach. Maybe it should be asked, what's hiding behind the vine, lest the kudzu engulfs everything in its path.
Dr. Michael Bitzer holds the Leonard Chair of Political Science at Catawba College, where he is a professor of politics and history and author of the Redistricting and Gerrymandering in North Carolina: Battlelines in the Tar Heel State. He tweets at @BowTiePolitics.