It’s clear how the two political parties want to define the debate in next year’s elections, in North Carolina and nationally. Republicans want to argue about race and culture. Democrats want to argue that government can work and can help people.

The dueling agendas show how far apart the parties are today. They inhabit separate worlds spinning faster and farther away from each other like matter after the Big Bang.

I’ve got bad news for my fellow Democrats: Race-based campaigns have a history of working. And I’ve got good news: America — and North Carolina — may be different next year.

We’ll witness the parties’ debate in North Carolina, with the U.S. Senate race and legislative races. We’ve had the fight at UNC-Chapel Hill over the history of American slavery.

Now the state’s most powerful Republican, Senate Leader Phil Berger, wants a law to prevent public schools from “indoctrinating” students with Critical Race Theory. He also proposed a state constitutional amendment to ban affirmative action.

Berger reflects the national Republican/Fox News agenda, which focuses on racial and “culture war” issues. This poses a dilemma for Democrats. Do they engage on Republicans’ turf, at the risk of inflaming emotions, boosting GOP turnout and losing swing voters?

There is another path, similar to the one Joe Biden took to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 — and the path Biden is pursuing as president. Call it the “For the People” path.

Because of the pandemic and its economic damage, Biden has abandoned the governing doctrine of the last three Democratic presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and, yes, even Barack Obama.

All three were scarred by the Democratic Party’s “tax and spend” reputation from the 1960s. They strove mightily to show they were fiscally responsible and concerned about deficit spending. They made a show of reaching out to Republicans in (usually futile) hopes of finding common ground and governing in a bipartisan spirit.

Biden, the blue-collar kid from Scranton, has followed a more blue-collar strategy. More than any other Democratic president — more even than FDR, who worried about budget deficits — Biden has embraced aggressive government action to rebuild the economy, lift people out of poverty and give every American a better shot at a better life.

He wants to reduce child poverty, make child care and pre-K more available and affordable, make college more affordable, reduce student debt and rebuild the nation’s physical infrastructure. He wants to attack climate change, and he says it’s real. He wants to reduce high health care costs, lower sky-high prescription drug prices and make housing more affordable. He wants to focus on helping people who live paycheck to paycheck, instead of cutting taxes for the wealthy and big corporations.

It’s an audacious agenda. It’s hard to achieve without Republican votes. But Biden could end the cycle of seeking Republican help. His three Democratic predecessors blamed Congress as a whole for things undone. Biden instead could blame Republicans.

He could say the GOP’s race-culture focus is a fake issue designed to distract and divide. He could say the COVID vaccination program and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan prove that government can work. He could even say President Trump’s “Warp Speed” vaccine-development drive proved government works.

There also will be an unpredictable X-Factor next year. It will be the first election since Trump refused to admit he lost and his supporters attacked the Capitol Jan. 6.

Democrats might have a potent one-two punch: “We make government work for the people, and Republicans tried to take democracy away from the people.”

That strategy could mobilize Democrats, sway independents and define 2022.

Gary Pearce is a former political consultant and frequent Pilot contributor. He was an adviser to Gov. Jim Hunt, 1976-1984, and 1992-2000, and is author of the book “Jim Hunt: A Biography.” He also blogs at

(17) comments

Conrad Meyer

I finally found a clearly written article on CRT that I can buy into and its from an author with some stripes. For those that don't know what AMAC is, it is a conservative version of the liberal AARP mess. I dumped AARP years ago and find AMAC better and it also has all the offerings for insurance and the like.

Here is a link to the article on CRT comparing it to Marxism. Seven hard truths. Two pages long without all the meaningless word salad the libs like to spew to show us how "smart" they are.

Sally Larson

Sure, it's easy to find something that supports your view without a foundation but the reality is CRT is about the subliminal teachings we have in our thoughts that really do influence our thinking. I will again publish my examples to help you understand.

The fear of the White Right seems to come from some perceived guilt. I don't understand why they can't see this has nothing to do with them unless they realize that maybe they have some long-forgotten assumptions that affect the way they interact with another race. That alone is worth bringing to the forefront of our awareness.

I've mentioned before an example of this from the NFL. They were using "“race-norming” — which assumed Black players started out with lower cognitive function. The practice made it harder for Black retirees to show a deficit and qualify for an award. The standards were created in the 1990s in hopes of offering more appropriate treatment to dementia patients, but critics faulted the way they were used to determine payouts in the NFL concussion case." June 2, 2021, 5:10 PM EDT By The Associated Press

A misconception and assumption that affected the lives of these black players. This is worth eradicating from our White conciseness.

Another example comes from an interview a musician Dayle Davis was giving to a KKK member. He asked why KKK members hated black people. His response was, "Well we all know that all black people have within them a gene that makes them violent." August 20, 20175:59 PM ET Heard on NPR All Things Considered

Again, this is a belief based on “nothing” and has inappropriately affected the way some white people have viewed black people and have therefore treated them with hate.

Studying CRT helps students understand how misinformation can affect how different races are seen and treated in our society. It’s about time, what’s so scary about that?

Conrad Meyer

Blah blah blah blah. More word salad bull excrement as I suggested with zero facts from people I ever heard of. The NFL attribution is a poor example and might just explain why they are so sensitive to the racial issues they face (not CRT).

I bet you didn't even read the whole article I quoted. I am now firmly against CRT and will contribute and work accordingly in a big way. Yes, I am white, and don't feel guilty at all, My family came from Europe in the 1900's and worked hard for what they had. As I grew up I also worked hard along with all my co-workers of all colors and we all succeeded. I am not automatically racist as all of you wingnuts suggest, just because I am white and I don't feel I "owe" anyone anything. Several of my best friends are of color and they would support me against your potential allegations. I will not apologize for being white.

Your position (if you even have one) is un-American. If your argument is successful, our country is toast. PLEASE read the article - it has more truth in it than your retort.

I could respond to your other racist comments, but that would only inflame the issue. Now I see why Kent decided to leave, although I suspect his subscription to the Pilot had expired so he decided not to renew. So you "cancel culture" azzes won in an offhanded way.

Jim Tomashoff

Conrad's definitely trying to replace Kent. Denigrate others, play the victim, make assumptions without foundation; all taken from the playbook of Kent.

Jim Tomashoff

Conrad's hero: "Dinesh Joseph D'Souza (/dɪˈnɛʃ dəˈsuːzə/; born April 25, 1961) is an Indian-American right-wing[2][3][4] political commentator, provocateur, author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist. D'Souza has written over a dozen books, several of them New York Times best-sellers.

In 2012, D'Souza released the documentary film 2016: Obama's America, an anti-Obama polemic based on his 2010 book The Roots of Obama's Rage; it earned $33 million, making it the highest-grossing conservative documentary of all time and one of the highest-grossing documentaries of any kind.] He has since released four other documentary films: America: Imagine the World Without Her (2014), Hillary's America (2016), Death of a Nation (2018), and Trump Card (2020). D'Souza's films and commentary have generated considerable controversy due to their promotion of conspiracy theories and falsehoods, as well as for their incendiary nature."

In other words, he a proven liar.

Conrad Meyer

Your comment does not prove he is a liar. If even half of his book is true, the libs ought to be offended at their past.

Then again, Jim thinks that Obama never lied. I few come to mind. "you can keep your doctor" and "you will save $2500/year in health care premiums". For a more complete list for this liar - this link is highly entertaining.

I'll stick with D'Souza, over the mob media like CNN, NY Times, and Huffpo.

Conrad Meyer

Further, of all people on this blog, you should know that you cannot trust anything on Wikipedia! The "free encyclopedia" full of lies as most anyone can contribute.....Shame on you for quoting it word for word without attribution.

Jim Tomashoff

Anything that's written, apparently, that you disagree with is "full of lies." Most Wikipedia posts adequately footnote their pieces.

Conrad Meyer

BUT, the Wikipedia piece that you decided NOT to credit has several changes that were pertinent to the discussion.

That puts you in the same bucket as Joey Bidum who has on multiple occasions, plagiarized other people's work to get ahead or make a point.

Kent, what's hysterical is that Trump continues to meet with "his cabinet" ,at his Bedminster club, per Mark Meadows. Guess he's getting ready for his August return to office after those 80,000,000 votes are finally counted.

John Misiaszek

Kent Misegades

“Republicans want to argue about race and culture. Democrats want to argue that government can work and can help people.” Thanks for the humor Gary. Life must be pretty bizarre in your bubble, where facts are turned upside down. The Chaldeans are coming. Keep watching the Stars.

Sally Larson

The other factor is the Republicans who continue to support the lie. They are looking more pathetic every day especially when they refuse to acknowledge the June 6th insurrection and Trump's involvement. There's only so much honest people can take and will vote accordingly.

Jim Tomashoff

The Republicans are also running on the "freedom" not to get vaccinated. I'm ok with that, given that the Delta variant is several more times as likely to infect people than the initial Covid virus, there will be far fewer Republicans voting in the next election.

Conrad Meyer

Sally, please describe in a sentence or two what the "big lie" is. If Jim has to help you, so be it. If you cannot describe it succinctly, that speaks volumes.

Sally Larson

Cone on Conrad, are you serious? The BIG LIE is that Trump won the election!!!!!

Jim Tomashoff

And I didn't help her Conrad. And she's right.

Conrad Meyer

Thank you Sally, just making sure. However, when I think of the big lie I think about a book I read in 2018 entitled "The Big Lie - Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left" by Dinesh D'Souza. I learned a lot about the left and why I don't buy much of what they have to offer. If the left wingnuts had any integrity at all, they would be cancelling their own party and tearing down all the democrat statues across the country!

Some don't care for the author even though he has more credibility than his critics. Rush Limbaugh stated: "Of course, everything [D'Souza] says here is accurate... But it's not going to sit well with people on the American left who, of course, are portraying themselves as the exact opposite of all of this."

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