Politics & Policy

North Carolina Democrats Applaud Boycotts of North Carolina

North Carolina AG Roy Cooper speaks at a Hillary Clinton rally in Raleigh, November 8, 2016. (Reuters photo: Chris Keane)
Democrats sabotage their fellow Tarheels to protect transgender toilets, showers

Government officials usually crow when companies and major events enter their states and towns. But in North Carolina, Democrats such as attorney general and gubernatorial nominee Roy Cooper and Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts cheer when such job creators take their business elsewhere.

In solidarity with transgendered people — the Left’s latest coddled victim group — Democrats now celebrate when companies, conventions, and sports teams boycott the Tarheel State. Even more astonishingly, some North Carolina Democrats actively disinvite corporations and organizations that, in their minds, are going to Carolina.

This destructive behavior deserves a name. “Municipal treason” comes to mind. So does “civic self-sabotage.”

This odd state of affairs began when Democrats on Charlotte’s city council pushed relentlessly for a now-superseded law that made single-sex bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other facilities wide open to any and all. Instead of using confirmed and observable anatomy, their new test became the thoroughly amorphous and situationally fluid “gender identity” and “gender expression.” The Democrats’ revolutionary new rules applied to government establishments and private institutions that are open to the public.

In a brief video, North Carolina state representative Dan Bishop (R., Mecklenburg) explained that, because of how this ordinance had been drafted, “ALL men have the right to access women’s restrooms and showers inside of Charlotte city limits. And businesses are FORBIDDEN to stop them.” Presumably, all women would have had an equal right to “identify” and “express” themselves in men’s locker rooms and showers, if the spirit so moved them.

State legislators in Raleigh responded with House Bill 2 (HB2), a state law that overturned the Charlotte city council’s adventure in transgenderism. HB2 requires people on government property to use only bathrooms and facilities that correspond to whichever sex is listed on their birth certificates. It also encourages the creation of single-person bathrooms. Owners of private institutions can set whatever relevant rules they wish.

This measure quickly was attacked nationwide as a cruel exercise in bigotry — never mind the serious concerns among mothers, girls, and other women not thrilled about sharing intimate facilities with “gender-identified” “females” who just happen to possess penises and scrota. Likewise, some men were reluctant to shower with “males” equipped with breasts and vaginas.

After HB2 prompted boycotts, convention cancellations, and high-decibel Leftist opprobrium, a bipartisan coalition proposed to amend the new law and soften some of its more controversial provisions. Republican leaders in North Carolina’s House of Representatives scheduled a June 30 vote on this compromise that, if passed, likely would have ended the HB2 controversy and attendant boycotts.

But that was not good enough for scheming, far-left Democrats. WBTV’s Nick Ochsner reported that Attorney General Cooper forced Democratic lawmakers to abandon the HB2 rewrite. “On Your Side Investigates has confirmed a group of up to ten House Democrats had originally signed on to support the bill,” Ochsner said. “A number of people in that group changed their mind, though, after receiving calls from Cooper.”

“‘We started losing Democrats,’ the person involved in the negotiations said. ‘We were told Cooper was making personal phone calls to the ten Democratic members saying if they wanted to be on the team in November they needed to vote against the bill.’”

Attorney General Cooper has plotted with corporate social-justice warriors to wound his own state.

Evidently, Cooper preferred to keep a controversial issue in the Democrats’ arsenal — all the better to inflame liberal voters, activists, and donors — than to chill the situation with a consensus solution and let things return to semi-normal.

But Cooper was just getting started. In fact, he has plotted with corporate social-justice warriors to wound his own state. Cooper complained about HB2 to San Francisco–based Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce. Cooper “looked to Salesforce because he wanted them to know that this is not who North Carolina is,” Megan Jacobs, his deputy campaign manager, told the Wall Street Journal. Benioff then leaned on several of his clients, including Deutsche Bank AG. The German financial powerhouse soon cancelled plans to hire 250 new employees in North Carolina. Not only did those planned jobs vanish, but Tarheels who would have sold office supplies, business attire, catered dinners, yoga lessons, babysitting services, and psychotherapy sessions to the Deutsche Bank 250 will not enjoy that marginal revenue.

“Roy Cooper’s fingerprints are all over the coordinated campaign to smear North Carolina and inflict economic damage on our state,” said Russell Peck, reelection campaign manager for Republican governor Pat McCrory. “Instead of defending North Carolina, its business community, and our hardworking citizens, Roy Cooper is actively communicating and working with the very CEOs who are trying to inflict economic damage on the state and prevent jobs from coming here. How can Roy Cooper ask voters to elect him governor while actively working behind the scenes with out-of-state CEOs to trash the state’s economy for his own political advantage?”

Mayor Roberts also stabbed her constituents in their backs. To protest HB2, the National Basketball Association scrapped plans to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in the Queen City. The NBA’s removal of this huge gathering will cost her town some $100 million in foregone income, local tourism officials estimate. Nonetheless, Mayor Roberts waved her pom-poms, via Twitter: “Thank you ‪@NBA & our beloved Charlotte Hornets for being such champions of equality ‪@hornets.”

“For Charlotte,” said GOP state representative Bishop, “it certainly is a new phenomenon for a mayor to incite businesses to boycott her own city and thank them after the fact.”

“As a Charlotte business owner, it was appalling enough when our left-wing mayor, Jennifer Roberts, rammed through her illegal transgender bathroom mandate on private businesses,” said Stefan Gleason, president of Ascension Marketing Group. “But when the state legislature rightly corrected the city’s radical overreach, Roberts called in airstrikes on her own position. Elected officials abusing their offices to encourage a boycott of their own city and state, its citizens, and its businesses is a betrayal that’s simply beyond the pale.”

Mayor Roberts’ urban masochism was too much even for state senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat. “No matter how strongly I disagreed with ‪HB2,” he declared, “I still asked NBA to stand in solidarity with Charlotte. Don’t punish the city that stood up.”

While the NBA was very open about fleeing Charlotte, things are a bit more mysterious with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Its board of presidents voted on September 14 to yank all sports championships from North Carolina, due to HB2. University of North Carolina chancellor Carol Folt and North Carolina State chancellor Randy Woodson are on that board. North Carolina residents and taxpayers naturally wonder if they voted to torpedo their own state. So far, Folt and Woodson refuse to reveal how they voted.

Investigative journalist Paul Chesser of The Chesser Files website demands answers from them. He has filed public-records requests with the UNC system, UNC–Chapel Hill, and NC State. He wants all the documents and correspondence that pertain to the ACC’s decision to leave North Carolina behind.

“The chancellors at UNC and NC State made a critically important vote in their official roles as representatives of taxpayer-funded institutions,” Chesser says. “The decision made by the ACC Council of Presidents inflicted widespread harm upon students, families, and the state economy by removing these championships from North Carolina. Thus, the chancellors must be accountable to the citizens and students they serve by disclosing their votes.”

How low will North Carolina liberals go to advance their transgender agenda? Try six feet under.

Tarheel Republicans accuse leaders of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) of encouraging the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association to cancel its 2017 confab in North Carolina’s largest city.

“Why would you want to stop a convention from coming here?” state senator Bob Rucho (R., Mecklenburg) asked Charlotte Business Journal. “Who gave them direction? They’re supposed to be recruiting and making it better.” He added that local tourism officials “are actually exacerbating any economic damage.”

CRVA leaders respond that the morticians became nervous about post-HB2 cancellations. So CRVA executives say they suggested that the undertakers bury their plans until 2019. CRVA also estimated in June that scotched conventions would cost the city $84 million in potential business.

It’s one thing for any of the other 49 states to run ads and try to lure companies and events out of North Carolina. It’s something completely different for North Carolina’s own taxpayer-funded public servants to scare jobs and commerce away from their own state.

Roy Cooper, Jennifer Roberts, and other Democrats created this mess. For that, North Carolina voters should punish them at the polls.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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