Pat McCrory’s Call for ‘Diversity’

Curious—he’s never said much about it before


Published:

McCrory

WBT

WBT Radio talk show host Pat McCrory, the ex-North Carolina governor, said some things on the air Wednesday morning about an emerging trend in the city where he lives and served as mayor for 14 years:

We have become a very segregated political system here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. First of all, we’re one-party … The Democratic Party controls every political body in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The school system. The Mecklenburg County commissioners. The Charlotte City Council and mayor’s office. And now the Sheriff’s Office. Total control by the Democratic Party, unlike the diversity we had in our political system 10 years ago. A short 10 years ago, we had a very diverse political system.

McCrory did not explicitly condemn this development. But he is a Republican, and he used the word “segregated”—bit of a loaded word choice there, don’t you think?—numerous times, and he made this commentary with The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as the background music, so you can assume what you will.

He continued:

The Black Political Caucus has total control over the Democratic Party because in the primaries, the demographics, the African-American vote dominates the Democratic primary. So, therefore, if all elections in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are determined by the Democratic primary, all primaries are then determined by the Black Political Caucus, a small group of individuals who hand out fliers at the polling places, like McCrorey YMCA—different spelling—and that determines the election for all of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

A few points:

1. The phenomenon of a small group of people voting in low-turnout primaries and determining the policy direction of an entire civic entity is pretty much the exact way North Carolina Republicans assumed control of the General Assembly in 2010 and beefed it up to a supermajority, which still holds, in 2012.

2. The Republican-controlled General Assembly redrew Congressional and legislative district lines to, among other things, cram as many African-American voters (who generally vote Democratic) into as few districts as possible in order to lock in Republicans’ hold on the legislature and Congressional delegation.

3. McCrory was governor from 2013 to 2017. Here’s the breakdown, by party and race, of the General Assembly during his first two years: 110 Republicans, 60 Democrats; 136 white legislators, 34 black. During his second two years: 108 Republicans, 61 Democrats, one unaffiliated; 133 white legislators, 37 black.

4. McCrory was Charlotte’s mayor from 1995 to 2009. During that time, a group of five to 10 corporate leaders, including Hugh McColl, Ed Crutchfield, and Rolfe Neill, drove the civic direction of the city. They were known collectively as “The Group,” sometimes as “The White Guys,” for reasons you also can deduce yourself.

5. During McCrory’s 14 years as mayor, he presided over seven incarnations of the City Council. Six of them were, in fact, majority-Democratic. But of the seven, five had 7-4 white majorities. Two had 8-3 white majorities.

6. After checking the archives of the Observer and other publications, I can’t seem to find any instance before Wednesday—the day after the county’s voters for the first time elected black people sheriff and district attorney, resulting in just about all of the chief positions of power in local government in Charlotte now being held by African-Americans—when McCrory expressed any concern about the “political segregation” of his city or state, or the lack of “diversity” that the voters’ will engendered.

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