The following is a column by Mark Shiver, host of “What Matters in North Carolina”
North Carolina’s citizens should be applauded. Not only did many of them get out and vote on Election Day, but they did so in what appears to be a very thoughtful manner. My thoughts here are not necessarily reflective of my opinion on how the election turned out, nevertheless I’d like to shine a light on the process.
Yes, North Carolina voters voted for Donald Trump for President. The reality of the state being vitally important was confirmed as it made up part of a new electoral map that included states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida. But, voters also demonstrated an intriguing behavior all the way up and down the ballot.
With all the fuss running up to the election about how Trump was hurting candidates down the ballot, a strong win like he had here in North Carolina should have actually lifted other Republican candidates. And an argument can be made that it did, for some. The race to be the state’s next governor, however does not necessarily look to fall into that category.
My take is that North Carolina voters were very thoughtful in the voting booth. Their votes were all over the place, which, in my opinion, means they thought about for whom they were voting. Here’s why.
Unlike a lot of people who go down and simply fill in the circle “Rep” or “Dem,” many voters took the time to vote for Roy Cooper, and also for Dan Forest. They voted for Dale Folwell. They voted for Mike Causey and also for Josh Stein. They voted for Mark Johnson and also for Beth Wood. (It bears mentioning that not all of the votes have been counted as of this writing, as there are provisional and outstanding ballots that need to be reviewed and/or counted. While Cooper is currently ahead, Gov. Pat McCrory could very well be re-elected.)
Regardless of the eventual final tallies in the race for governor, attorney general and state auditor, the point here is that North Carolina voters put time and thought into making their choices. Sure we can all wish for different outcomes up and down the ballot. But, in a free republic where voting is a cherished bedrock of freedom, the citizens of our state who turned out to vote apparently took this right seriously, and for that they should be applauded.
While still waiting for the final vote tallies to be determined, we can ask if HB 2 hurt McCrory? Was he viewed unfavorably because of the I-77 toll lanes controversy in Charlotte? Or, why people voted for another supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly, but not for returning a conservative, prudent jurist in Justice Bob Edmunds to the State Supreme Court?
Time and post-election polling may provide answers to why people voted the way they did. But, regardless of the reasons, it can be argued that the people were intentional and thoughtful. Not everyone won on November 8, 2016, but the people of North Carolina scored a victory for affirming that voting is to be taken seriously. I think that is a takeaway from the election for which we can all be pleased.