Politics in North Carolina is drawing quite a bit of interest this morning thanks to several pages of daylight in the New Yorker. Reporter at Large Jane Mayer laid out the influence and operation of Art Pope and Co. in this week’s Money issue.
Yet Pope’s triumph in 2010 was sweeping. According to an analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies, of the twenty-two legislative races targeted by him, his family, and their organizations, the Republicans won eighteen, placing both chambers of the General Assembly firmly under Republican majorities for the first time since 1870. North Carolina’s Democrats in Congress hung on to power, but those in the state legislature, where Pope had focused his spending, were routed.
This is not big news among progressives. Pope’s effort to shape the GOP and the state has been pretty obvious and was spelled out in great detail by the Institute for Southern Studies and the Indy earlier this year. But Mayer uses Citizen United to spell out the consequences of the very wealthy unchecked and unfettered in the political arena and how politics and as we have most recently seen public policy now has a price.
The article, which opens with a very perceptive look at the losses by Democrats Margaret Dickson and John Snow in 2010, is a cautionary tale for every state in the country. Each one has its own Art Pope or two or three and each one is vulnerable to what has happened here in the Old North State.
Go read it.