Democratic Freedom Caucus in NC?

Even more so since my first HB2 Compromise post, my FB feed has been filled up with my NC liberal friends complaining about the horrible sellouts of the Democratic party, primarily Roy Cooper.  A lot of “you cannot compromise on human rights!”  You can’t?  Really?  That’s a surprise to me.  Saudi Arabia recently gave women a right to vote in local elections, but not national ones.  Sounds like a compromise to me.  Should Saudi women have full voting rights?  I sure think so.  Would I have opposed local voting rights only because it’s not all the voting rights deserved?  Hell no.  You can compromise on human rights.  Would the LGBT community in NC really be better off if Cooper vetoed this?  Hard to see how that’s the case.  Are they substantially better off?  Nope.  But that’s going to take defeating lots of R legislators.

Anyway, I don’t read Thomas Mills as much as I should, but I find I pretty much never disagree with him.  (He’s my NC Kevin Drum).  Thus, very pleased to see his take on the HB2 deal was pretty similar to mine.  Some highlights:

To hear some folks tell it, the repeal bill did little. That’s not true. It restores protections to workers and the LGBT community that HB2 took away. It also gives local governments more control over their relationships with contractors doing business with them.

Fifteen of the 16 local nondiscrimination ordinances that were in place prior to passing HB2 are back in effect. Charlotte’s ordinance is not  because they repealed their NDO in the botched deal in December. Second, the bill allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice until the NCGA says otherwise. That’s the way most states operate–with no regulations. Third, local governments can require contractors to offer their employees to offer the same protections offered to government employees. Fourth, local governments can require contractors to set their minimum wages to mirror those of the local government.

The new bill bans new local nondiscrimination ordinances and prevents changes to ones in place for almost four more years. That our state legislative leaders would prevent local governments from offering protections for LGBT citizens is shameful.  It’s bullying and more heavy-handed government from the party that claims to believe in less government…

Critics complain the deadline set by the NCAA spurred the sides to action. Loss of championship games certainly figured into the calculation but once the deadline passed, the urgency for action would have likely faded. We could well have settled into the situation South Carolina faced with its flag controversy…

The compromise was painful and hurtful. The Democratic legislators I talked to struggled mightily. It was a very tough vote for people who voted for it and against it. To argue that the new law didn’t go far enough is fair, but to say it changed nothing is dishonest. People who live in places where nondiscrimination ordinances were passed now have those protections in place once again. Transgender people can use the bathroom of their choice. Local governments can force contractors to offer protections to their employees. That’s better than where we were when we woke up yesterday…

So, yeah, it sure ain’t the whole loaf, just some fraction.  But certainly better than the absolutely zero loaf we were looking at a few days ago; so I’ll take it.  As for the “no compromise on human rights” that’s a little close to the “no compromise on our principles” position of the Freedom Caucus.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

5 Responses to Democratic Freedom Caucus in NC?

  1. Jon K says:

    I will never understand how getting none of what you want is somehow a better outcome than getting half of what you want. Especially when all you get for standing on principle is a sense of smug satisfaction.

    Picking up your toys and going home when you can’t get your way is 3rd grade level behavior. Adults should be able to use reason to help guide their thinking.

    • Steve Greene says:

      The more I think about it the more annoyed I am by “you cannot compromise on human rights.” You can. We do it every day. It’s called politics.

      • Jon K says:

        There’s a good discussion of human rights as an imaginary construct in the book “Sapiens”. He points out that these imagined constructs (human rights, money, nations) are inter-subjective realities. They exist only in our collective imagination. So while they are powerful constructs, they are intrinsically meant to be debated and compromised on.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Yes!!!! I am loving Sapiens so much (despite reading it at a slow pace). I think about all this stuff as imaginary constructs all the time now.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    There’s always another day when there’s a Democratic majority. We can make it better then.

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