Where are the Republicans?

When I turned 18, I registered to vote as a Democrat, and I haven’t wavered since. So why did I feel uneasy when I went to vote last week and saw a string of Democrats on the ballot running unopposed?

Orange County, with the vast majority of its population residing in the southern part of the county near the university, votes blue. Liberals seem to cluster in cities and university towns, which traditionally have more Democrats than Republicans. About 15% of the voters in Orange County register as Republican. So the odds of a Republican candidate besting a Democrat here are pretty long. Why put up a candidate who more than likely will lose?

Because when there is only one voice at the table, we all lose.

We need opposing viewpoints to bring out the best in one another. When one side puts forth an idea, the other side’s challenge to it can motivate the idea proposer to add details, think through the obstacles and refine the solution.

Every election in recent decades I am at the polls electioneering for the candidates I support. One year I overheard the supporter of a candidate I did not support tell a voter going into the polls, “[This candidate] is for affordable housing.”

It sounded great — who would be opposed to affordable housing? — but I knew this candidate had voted for things that made housing more expensive and had voted against things that would have increased the inventory of affordable units. If that Democratic candidate had had to worry about having a Republican challenger, that candidate might have put more thought into his/her votes.

We need people of opposing views keeping the discussion of issues alive all the way through until the last vote is tallied. Just because you might lose is no reason not to run. Vigorous debate keeps both sides on their toes, and we may find elections just a bit less polarizing.

If you haven’t voted yet, please do so. Early voting is open through this Saturday. And, of course, the polls are open on Election Day, Nov. 6, from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Find dates, locations and hours at the Orange County Board of Elections website.
— Nancy Oates

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  1. Other Steve

     /  October 29, 2018

    “Just because you might lose is no reason not to run.”

    Um, no, thanks. Do you have a short memory?



    Where are the Republicans, you ask?

    Oh, we’re right here. We live among you, fuming, and shaking our heads at how people who are so supposedly well-educated and informed can make such ill-advised choices in public policy.

    We participate at the polls, on the actual Election Day and not an hour prior, often turning in near-pristine ballots marked for the few people or initiatives we could stomach voting for. The rest of the political experience here is like living in Cuba; all the candidates running are from one party and they all sound and speak identically.

  2. Other Steve

     /  October 29, 2018

    … oh, and, in case you needed a more contemporaneous example of “why you shouldn’t run for office as a Republican”


    Yeah, not much news about this in the MSM. It doesn’t fit their narrative.

  3. When the county was “debating” districts I lobbied for real democratic reform. Since then, as the number of unaffiliated voters increased dramatically, the number of structurally disenfranchised has only grown.

    What to do about our local political mono-culture?

    Non-partisan elections for all county level offices.
    Rank choice voting (or possibly cumulative/proportional)
    Dissolve voting districts.
    Stricter limits on campaign fund raising.

  4. Other Steve

     /  October 30, 2018

    I’m not sure the locals in Chapel Hill are ready for Republicans. For one reason, we Republicans have a sense of humor.


    I assure you, the people on the other side of the political fence won’t see themselves in this video. It’s just not funny.

    If you add up the registered Republicans in Orange County and then add in the Right-leaning independents, you’d have a percentage of the population larger than any other minority. Why, then, is this meaningful minority denied *any* local representation?

    As I tried to emphasize in an earlier post that the blog moderator decided to withhold, a possible cause could be outright violent intimidation. I cite the Hillsborough GOP office firebombing two years ago as a specific example. One could get the impression we’re not wanted.

  5. Bruce Springsteen

     /  October 31, 2018

    Where are the Republicans? They’re in the same place as everybody else in this area whose political opinions are outside the range deemed acceptable by the local power structure, namely in the closet. When is the last time you heard anything resembling a genuine political discussion in this area involving any view outside a very narrow range of the political spectrum?

    I’m a lifelong registered Independent and I have to live in the closet not only with respect to politics but also other things unrelated to politics so I can only imagine what it’s like around here for actual Republicans.

    Let’s see, what can I think of off the top of my head aside from the general day to day hostility towards people that don’t think correctly. Well there were all the Stop signs with “Bush” spray painted underneath the word “Stop” that stayed up for years and years while GWB was President. That was just in CH. It was probably worse in Carrboro.

    Then there was the famous incident in 2008 where someone put up a “McCain For POTUS” sign on their property that kept getting stolen so he installed a hidden camera and added a little electric shock and the resulting video went national. Of course that wouldn’t have been possible had people not been stealing his sign in the first place.

    And there was the time a Republican politician Tom Tancredo was invited to campus to speak and was then violently prevented from doing so.

    Gee, can’t imagine why in an atmosphere like this that Republicans aren’t speaking out. What a mystery.

    And of course Donna Bell is still on CH TC because ten years ago the people in power in CH decided that in addition to the de facto exclusion of Republicans and Independents they’d add Democrats that they personally approve to the list.

    There are more I could name and probably way more I don’t know about because I’ve become so disgusted and discouraged that I no longer can bring myself to follow local politics closely or even vote in local elections anymore.

    And of course all of these were before the national election of 2016 after which everything became much worse.

    This past weekend I was driving to campus and I turned on WCHL and what do I hear, no other than a the show host along with Orange County Commissioner and longtime abusive bully Mark Marcopolos speaking horribly about Republicans and using words up to and including the now famous slur of “deplorables.” Not surprising.

    It is the local reality. The political culture is narrow minded and intolerant and thus people are afraid to speak out. That’s why you don’t hear from Republicans or anyone else with an opinion even slightly outside the local political mainstream.

  6. Mimi

     /  October 31, 2018

    I refused to vote for that man who failed to timely file his donor list, received a fine from the Board of Elections, and then claimed it was all his sister’s fault because she had the flu on the filing date. He is running unopposed for a job that requires timely filing, every day, of all kinds of documents, and in this position his failure to adhere to deadlines would have disastrous financial consequences for vulnerable citizens. I am disgusted.

  7. Nancy

     /  October 31, 2018

    Other Steve, as moderator, I didn’t intentionally withhold your prior comment. If a comment has more than one live link in it, I have to approve it, and I didn’t log into the blog until today. My apologies. It’s up now.

  8. Plurimus

     /  November 2, 2018


    Thank you you reflect my feelings exactly. A very good recent example that went by most people is that the OCBoCC in April resolved to support Marsy’s law. Last night the board reversed their previous support because the majority republican GA supported it. McKee was the only one who saw through the hypocrisy.

    Despite being a nice place to live with enjoyable neighbors, the politics around here are beyond distasteful. The democrats are every bit as spineless as they accuse the republicans of being (sans Trump and Marcoplos who are in a class by themselves).

    I also completely agree with Mimi about Kleinschmidt. His thinly veiled accusation that Mr. Sanford was anti-gay was disgusting and a yet another new low for the disgraced former mayor.

    My experience with real people is that they are mostly reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful and tolerant regardless of their political persuasion. Most are willing to discuss the issues without jumping to conclusions or insults. Sadly, most of our politicians just can’t get out of the gutter with their base and as a result give voice to the most extreme among us. We live in an age of bread and circuses. Shame.