Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Southern Path to the White House

by Charles S. Bullock, III

In media reviews of the prospects for a change in White House occupancy, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin occupy center stage.  Had Donald Trump not knocked these states out of the Blue Wall, he would be firing reality show contestants rather than cabinet members.  Trump won the three states by a combined total of less than show up in most SEC stadiums for football games in non-COVID years.  If Trump loses these states in 2020, it is unlikely that he will win reelection and, accordingly, Trump and his surrogates are campaigning there. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Lay of the Political Landscape: One For The Books: The Hagan – Tillis 2014 Senate Race

By Susan Roberts

Going into 2020, we are awaiting the outcome of the Trump-Biden showdown, but we need to remind ourselves that every single House and Senate race has its own story to tell.  Following last night's first debate between incumbent Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, here is a brief case study of 2014 race between then Democratic Incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and Republican challenger and Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives Thom Tillis. If you skip the rest of the article, here are three takeaways that capture the tenor and substance of this race:

  • One, the wave giveth, and the wave taketh away. 
  • Two, follow the money. 
  • Three, you can call North Carolina a battleground state or a swing state or a purple state, just call it competitive and critical.

My focus here is on the Hagan-Tillis race, but I can’t resist the temptation to begin with a few preliminary similarities between the 2014 and current 2020 North Carolina Senate races. Of course, I am speaking as if 2020 is over, but I think these distinctions will remain. Both elections were labelled “toss-ups” by Larry Sabato of Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report. Both campaigns could capitalize on high presidential disapproval by tethering the incumbent, Hagan to Obama and Tillis to Trump. Both 2014 and 2020 were held during voting law confusion. And sadly, both campaigns were dealing with global health emergencies, Ebola in 2014 and Coronavirus in 2020. 

Monday, September 14, 2020