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North Carolina Politics

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Information about North Carolina Politics
Education

Published on November 8, 2008

Author: EdgrT

Source: authorstream.com

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North Carolina Politics : North Carolina Politics Introduction to North Carolina Studies NCST 2000 Dr. Tom Shields Fall 2008 References : References Luebke, Paul. Chapter 1, “The Heritage of the Democratic Party Elite.” Tar Heel Politics. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1998. 1-18. Lyons, Schley R. “Government and Politics.” The North Carolina Atlas: Portrait for a New Century. Ed. Douglas M. Orr and Alfred W. Stuart. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2000. ---. “Government and Politics.” The North Carolina Atlas Revisited. Ed. Alfred W. Stuart. 10 Nov. 2003. Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 8 Nov. 2008 <http://www.ncatlasrevisited.org/>. The North Carolina Court System. North Carolina Court System. 8 Nov. 2008 <http://www.nccourts.org/>. Powell, William. Chapter 26, “A New Face for the State,” and Chapter 27, “A State Looks to the Future.” North Carolina Through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1989. 517-59. The Structure of North Carolina Government : The Structure of North Carolina Government The General Assembly The Executive The Judicial General Powers of the Branches : General Powers of the Branches General Assembly The legislative branch Creates the laws, including the state budget Executive Branch The Governor, including his gubernatorially appointed state agencies The Council of State, that is, the elective state agencies Carries out and enforces the laws Judicial Branch Judges/Courts Interprets the laws The General Assembly : The General Assembly Two bodies, both apportioned by population and both whose members are elected biennially: State Senate—50 members State House of Representatives—120 members A part-time or citizen’s legislature Since 1973, meets annually rather than biennially: Long session—held in odd numbered (i.e., non-election) years, meant to determine budget goals for the next two years. Short session—held in even numbered (i.e., election) years, meant to adjust budget and take care of any other pressing business. Long sessions are held during non-election years in an attempt to have less immediate political pressure on the budget process. The Executive Branch—The Governor : The Executive Branch—The Governor Governor—implements and enforces the laws created by the legislature The state’s chief executive officer Supervises the work of state employees Helps to identify policy agenda for the state Influences the legislative and budgetary decisions of the General Assembly Promotes intergovernmental cooperation at the national and state levels Commander in chief of the National Guard during state emergencies such as natural disasters and civil disturbances Leader of his or her state party organization Elected every four years Gubernatorial Powers : Gubernatorial Powers Appointive and review power over nine departments: Administration, Corrections, Crime Control and Public Safety, Cultural Resources, Commerce, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Revenue, and Transportation. Limited veto power The Executive Beyond the Governor : The Executive Beyond the Governor Several administrative units in North Carolina headed by elected officials rather than by appointees of the Governor Attorney General; Auditor; Commissioners of Agriculture, Insurance, and Labor; Lieutenant Governor; Secretary of State1; Superintendent of Public Instruction; Treasurer. The Governor serves as the chair of this Council of State. These elective offices can be help by people not in the Governor’s party or by people in different factions than the Governor’s within his or her own party. 1 Department of the Secretary of State Mission Statement: To serve and protect citizens, the business community and governmental agencies by facilitating business activities, by providing accurate and timely information and by preserving documents and records. Gubernatorial Veto : Gubernatorial Veto In November 1996, the citizens of North Carolina voted to amend the State Constitution to allow for a gubernatorial veto: Veto must occur within ten days after both houses pass a bill or for bills passed at the very end of the legislative session, within 30 days after adjournment. It takes 3/5 (60%) of present and voting members in each house to override a gubernatorial veto. Limited veto power: Veto the entire budget. (Governors in 43 other states enjoy some form of line item veto.) Veto bills that effect the entire state. (Cannot veto local bills, that is, bills that apply to 15 or fewer counties; appointments to state boards; or revisions to state legislative or US Congressional districts.) The Judicial Branch : The Judicial Branch Three Tiers: Trial Courts District Courts—Trial courts that deal with smaller issues, such as motor vehicle violations, child support, etc. Superior Courts—Trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases Appellate Courts Court of Appeals—Created in 1967 to relieve workload of Supreme Court Supreme Court—“Court of Last Resort” All judges are elected District court judges for four-year terms All other judges for eight-year terms. The Judicial Branch : The Judicial Branch District Courts Civil cases such as divorce, custody, child support and cases involving less than $10,000. Criminal cases involving misdemeanors and infractions. Juvenile cases involving delinquent children under the age of 16 and undisciplined, dependent, neglected or abused children under the age of 18. Superior Courts All felony criminal cases, civil cases involving more than $10,000 and misdemeanor and infraction appeals from District Court. Appellate Courts : Appellate Courts Court of Appeals The state's only intermediate appellate court and is composed of 15 judges who sit in rotating panels of three. The Court of Appeals decides only questions of law. Cases in which there is a dissent in the Court of Appeals go to the Supreme Court as well as to those that the Supreme Court accepts for review through petition. Supreme Court The state's highest court—there is no further appeal in the state from their decisions. The court has a chief justice and six associate justices. The Supreme Court has no jury, and it makes no determination of fact; rather, it considers error in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law. NC and US Government Structures : NC and US Government Structures Similarities: Three branches with checks and balances over each other General powers of each branch Major Differences Both NC House and Senate elected every 2 years (US House elected every 2 years, Senate every 6 years) Many NC Department Secretaries (Heads) elected, i.e., the Council of State (US Presidential Cabinet Secretaries all appointed by the President) NC judges all elected for either 4 or 8 year terms (US judges all appointed for life) Party Politics in North Carolina : Party Politics in North Carolina Traditionalism vs. Modernism From One-Party Dominance to Partisan Competition Historical Roots and Party Politics : Historical Roots and Party Politics The turmoil represented by the Wilmington Race Riots of 1898 helped create one-party state politics in North Carolina dominated by the Democrats. The economic roots of the turmoil in the late 1890s was a Populist attempt at economic reform that tried to control large business, for example the railways, to help the small business owner and the farmer. These reforms were opposed by Democrats and by many Republicans, despite the Republicans being in a coalition Fusionist government with the Populists. The Democrats used racial tensions to regain the legislature, where they turned down the proposed Populist reforms as well as created new election laws that disenfranchised virtually all African Americans. Traditionalism vs. Modernism : Traditionalism vs. Modernism As North Carolina’s social history in the first half of the twentieth century can be described as being split between social conservatism and economic progressivism, its politics has revealed a similar split. Paul Lubke (1998) has argued that North Carolina politics in the twentieth century can be best defined by a division between traditionalism and modernism: Traditionalism: Allied with the traditional agriculturally-based industries of North Carolina, such as cotton (both growing and textile production), tobacco, and furniture manufacturing. Modernism: Allied with urban based industries (particularly in the Piedmont), such as banking, development, retail merchandizing, the news media, etc. Democrats as Traditionalists : Democrats as Traditionalists Because North Carolina's industrial base was found strongly in textiles, the Democrats’ turning down economic reform in the first part of the twentieth century was a traditionalist activity. Even Governor Charles Aycock’s emphasis on education in his term of office (1901-1905) could be seen as traditionalist in nature—an attempt to eliminate illiteracy among white men so they would be eligible to vote under the new election laws, helping maintain the status quo of white political supremacy. Taxation, especially in the twentieth century has emphasized sales taxes over income taxes—or more generally, regressive taxes over progressive taxes (the wealthy and big corporations pay a lesser percentage of their earnings in taxes than do the less well off). Post-World War II Changes : Post-World War II Changes Slowly, since World War II, the party affiliations of traditionalists and modernists have changed: With increased connections to social programs within the national Democratic Party, North Carolina Democrats (and Southern Democrats in general) felt less and less connection with the Democratic Party. Breaking away from the Democratic Party but not aligning themselves with Republicans, many traditionalist Southern Democrats were know as Dixiecrats. Increased connection to social and economic traditionalism among Republicans on a national level has made the party more and more attractive to traditionalist Southern Democrats. The presidential elections of 1968 might be seen as a major turning point, with Southern Democrats better able to support the conservative Richard Nixon than the liberal Hubert Humphrey, a pattern reiterated more strongly in 1972 when Nixon ran against George McGovern. Social Traditionalism and Modernism : Social Traditionalism and Modernism Representative Late Twentieth-Century Politicians Traditionalists: Jesse Helms Modernists: Terry Sanford, Jim Hunt Though each political tendency has a basis in economics, they each have social biases as well: Traditionalists: “The Tar Heel Republican version of this myth has ‘Uncle Jesse’ as the defender of down-home traditionalism . . . . This traditionalism would have men at the head of the household, mandatory Christian prayer in public schools, and abortion and homosexuality outlawed” (Lubke ix). Modernists: The modernist myth “affords to modernizers a status of ‘would-be liberalism.’ that is to say, a Terry Sanford or a Jim Hunt would have taken more liberal stands, especially on tax reform, education, and public transportation, if only the Tar Heel electorate would have allowed it” (Lubke viii). Elections of the 21rst Century : Elections of the 21rst Century Consider the senatorial elections of this new century: 2002—Elizabeth Dole (R) defeated Erskine Bowles (D) when long-time Republican Senator Jesse Helms retired. 2004—Richard Burr (R) defeated Erskine Bowles (D) for the seat opened by John Edwards when he became the Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate 2008—Kay Hagan (D) defeated incumbent Elizabeth Dole (R) Think about other elections you may know about, such as Heath Schuller, a conservative Democrat, being elected to the US House of Representatives from the western-most district in the North Carolina Mountains, or the election/reelection of moderate Republican Pat McCrory (who lost to Bev Perdue in the 2008 gubernatorial race) as Mayor of Charlotte seven times since 1995. In what ways does Lubke’s portrayal of Traditionalism and Modernism hold true and in what ways may it be changing? Does this split occur within the Republican and Democratic Parties rather than between them? From National to Local Politics : From National to Local Politics Since the 1970s, North Carolina has almost always voted Republican in presidential elections. The chart to the right continued to be reflective of presidential elections even after its 1988 end date until this year, when Barak Obama seems to have won a close vote in the state. While more and more Republicans have been elected to state offices, Democrats still maintain a majority in state and local positions in North Carolina. Recent Party Politics Trends : Recent Party Politics Trends ECU’s Dr. Tom Eamon (Political Science) has noted that while North Carolina voters have tended to continue to vote strongly for Democratic Party candidates in state and (in many areas) local elections, and while over the past several decades North Carolina voters have begun to vote for Republican Party candidates in national level elections, the makeup of the two parties’ constituents is not uniform. He sees Traditionalist and Modernist voters in each party, making sometimes “strange bedfellows” coalitions. The following two slides show Dr. Eamon’s outline of these coalitions. Recent Republican Patterns : Recent Republican Patterns Current Republican Coalition of Voters: Country Club Republicans More from manufacturing and similar sectors Tend towards social liberalism Emphasize the importance of fiscal conservatism Holy Roller Republicans Social conservatives Often promote social programs Shotgun and Pickup Republicans Libertarian, protecting rights such as gun ownership Recent Democratic Patterns : Recent Democratic Patterns Current Democratic Coalition of Voters: African Americans Socially conservative Also stress the importance of social programs Women Both social liberals and social conservatives Tend to stress the importance of social programs Country Club Democrats Social liberals Strongly service sector occupations, such as lawyers. Tend to stress the importance of social programs Recent Presidential Elections : Recent Presidential Elections Since 1980, Republican candidates have won North Carolina’s electoral votes. The current distribution of Republican versus democratic support can be seen in the map of the 2004 (Bush vs. Kerry) Presidential election. As of Friday, November 7, 2008, I still cannot find a useful county by county map for this year’s election. Regionalism and Party Politics : Regionalism and Party Politics North Carolina Congressional Districts 2007-2008 (2006 Elections): Red—Republican; Blue—Democratic The formerly Republican 11th District (far west) was won in 2006 by conservative Democrat Heath Schuler. The 3rd District (far east) is held by Walter Jones, who switched from Democrat to Republican in 1994, but who is now a socially conservative, anti-war Republican. With the prior slide, is there a regional pattern?

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