Former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, who was bounced out of office in 2016 after signing the nation’s most aggressively transphobic law, has some thoughts about all of the black people running Charlotte.
On his radio show (yes, that’s what he’s doing now) on Wednesday, McCrory lamented the lack of “diversity” in his city’s leadership, after Democratic primaries on Tuesday saw a black challenger beat the county sheriff. (The city’s mayor, Vi Lyles, is black, as are the heads of the county commission and school board.)
“Color of skin should make no difference but the Black Political Caucus does consider color of skin when making recommendations,” McCrory said. “And they totally abandoned the white male Democratic sheriff.” The white Democratic sheriff who lost his re-election bid, Irwin Carmichael, is known as a conservative; for example, he was a proponent of the 287(g) program, which essentially allows local police forces to enforce federal immigration laws, and is notorious for enabling racial profiling.
“All primaries are determined by the Black Political Caucus, a small group of individuals,” McCrory said. “I’m worried about the segregated aspects of Charlotte-Mecklenburg politics, and lack of diversity we might have.”
Of course, North Carolina’s statewide political leadership is still lily-white; none of the ten statewide elected offices in North Carolina nor either of the two U.S. Senate seats are held by black people. The highest-ranking black politician in state government is the state Senate minority leader, Democrat Dan Blue.
“I like Pat McCrory as a person, but McCrory just does not know Charlotte’s history,” Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg chair Arthur Griffin told the Charlotte Observer. ”I think it’s a political dog whistle to say, let’s engage in this racial politics thing, when in fact the evidence is absolutely clear that the Black Political Caucus engaged in public policy that’s good for all citizens.”
This is all especially rich coming from McCrory, who signed the state’s restrictive voter ID law and then begged the Supreme Court to restore it prior to the 2016 election. McCrory also signed a 2013 law repealing the state’s Racial Justice Act, which banned death sentences based on race. After McCrory lost the 2016 election, his lawyers accused random people of voter fraud; some of them are now suing McCrory and the firm for libel.
And while North Carolina’s redistricting process cuts out the governor, McCrory benefitted in a big way from Republican gerrymandering, as it handed him legislative supermajorities for his entire term in office.
In other words, McCrory and his state’s Republican Party benefitted from diluting the voting power of black North Carolinians at the state level, and now that McCrory is faced with fair and democratic local elections, he’s suddenly concerned about diversity. McCrory is getting a tiny taste of his own medicine, and it turns out he’s not a fan.