Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Slow Erosion of Swing Counties in North Carolina

By Christopher Cooper

Anyone with even a passing familiarity of American politics is well-aware of the "swing state" concept--the idea that most states are increasingly locked into one party or the other, whereas a small number of swing states can "swing" from one party to the other. 

In the past few elections, there has been increasing attention on swing counties--counties (often situated in battleground states), that could swing from one party to the other, from one election to the next. As this brief post will demonstrate, North Carolina counties are increasingly red or blue and the number of "swing counties" is at an all-time low. This trend has important implications for polarization and for the future of North Carolina and American politics.

Monday, February 8, 2021

When Parachuting Journalists Don't Even Bother Jumping Out of the Plane

By Michael Bitzer 

A recent article in The Atlantic is getting a lot of play in the Old North State's political arena by asking the question, "What Does This Man Know That Other Democrats Don't?", regarding the success that North Carolina governor Roy Cooper has had over his political career. 

In the article, the author traces Cooper's time as a state representative up to currently serving as the state's chief executive officer (note to author: we don't call our state representatives "general assemblyman," but rather our legislature is known as the General Assembly, with representatives and senators who compose the bicameral body).

And while several of the state's leading political strategists weighed in on Cooper's success and trying to define it, there was no mentioned made of several important facets that could have helped further explain, or at least address, the question "what's so different about Roy Cooper winning in North Carolina?"

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Georgia, North Carolina, and the Illusion of "Turning Blue"

The Asheville Citizen Times is kind enough to give me some space every now and again to write about politics. This piece is about the similarities and differences between Georgia and North Carolina (TLDR? Their outcomes were almost identical, despite the fact that one "turned blue" and the other "stayed red.") I thought it might be of interest to readers of this blog. Please click through to read the whole piece and, if you're not already a subscriber, please consider a subscription to the Citizen Times.

By Chris Cooper

On Nov. 4, 2020, the eye of the constantly moving political storm shifted to the 59,425 square miles that make up the state of Georgia. Not only did Georgia surprise political observers by giving its 16 electors to Joe Biden on Nov. 3, but thanks to quirky runoff rules, and a nationally competitive environment, majority control of the U.S. Senate was ultimately determined by voters in the Peach State. 

Georgia was generally considered a “second tier swing state” prior to the election, as opposed to North Carolina, which was generally considered one of the states most likely to swing.  After the votes were counted, a series of articles soon appeared attempting to explain why Georgia “flipped blue” and North Carolina “stayed red.”

Please click through to read the rest:


Chris Cooper is Madison Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University. He tweets at @chriscooperwcu