RALEIGH – This evening from 7-8 PM, candidates for governor Dan Forest and Roy Cooper will square off for the only scheduled televised debate of the election, just hours before polls open for early voting across the state.
As the only debate, it represents an opportunity for Dan Forest to not only speak to his positive vision for North Carolina, but also to put Roy Cooper on the hot seat, a seat Cooper has not been required to sit in for most of his term in office.
In fact, even the News & Observer has been forced to acknowledge how the Cooper administration refuses to take questions from unfavored media outlets. You know, those outlets that may dare to ask him something hard, instead of merely fawning over his ‘White Knight’ handling of the Pandemic Panic his helped create.
While the moderator at tonight’s debate cannot be counted on to demand clear answers to tough questions of Cooper, we should expect Forest to do so. There is certainly plenty of material to draw from, and draw contrast with, for the Republican candidate.
School closures; painfully protracted lockdown restrictions; business closures; data transparency; assaults on the freedom to worship; authoritarian binges; and, mandated recessions, to name a few.
And that’s just related to the manufactured Pandemic Panic.
Forest also has clear lines to draw between himself and Cooper in the area of current culture wars.
Cooper marches with and panders to Radical Leftwing protesters, essentially endorsing a blatant Marxian movement that has manufactured controversy in order to fuel literal insurrections and overthrow our Constitutional Republic built upon principles of Individual Liberty. He has set up commissions whose mission is examining state policy through the lens of ‘Woke’ Critical Theory, attempting to institute this wildly un-American philosophy in our very own state government.
These are the big issues of 2020, but they are not the only issues. After winning election 2016 by a razor thin margin, the Cooper appointed State Board of Elections recently engaged in political chicanery to remove witness requirements and extend acceptance dates for absentee ballots. This sneaky move, rebuked by courts, opened the door to the same kind of fraud that roiled the 9th Congressional District race in 2018. This time, though, it is across the entire state, in an election year that has blown the doors off in terms of mail-in voting.
And, of course, there are the three years before 2020, in which Cooper was involved in a host of other controversies. The fawning media rarely, if ever, pressed him on relevant issues like: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline ‘Pay to Play’ scandal; Cooper fighting tooth and nail against school choice while advocating for radical wannabe teachers unions; his disastrous handling and administration of Hurricane Matthew relief funds; or, holding an entire state budget hostage to his progressive wish list — meaning he blocked teacher raises repeatedly — and acting as if it is the Republicans that wouldn’t negotiate.
Or his constant harangues against conservative tax cuts and spending restraint — policies that let North Carolinians keep more of their own money — and his falsified claims that such Republican tax reforms only help ‘the rich.’ Cooper not only fear mongered that tax reforms would lead to revenue shortfalls and an inability to fund government’s core functions, but, when the opposite happened (year after year of revenue surpluses) he argued against using such funds to further pad the State’s rainy-day fund.
It’s a good thing Republicans didn’t listen. Those savings reserves proved vital in helping to soften the blow of natural disasters and man-made ones (Cooper’s mandated lockdown recession) alike.
Aside from calling Cooper out on this bevy of bad leadership and outright corruption, Forest has the opportunity to address a statewide crowd as a challenger with inherently fewer structural campaign advantages than the incumbent. While Forest has campaigned across the state, there are distinct advantages for a candidate in being able to address a statewide audience and deliver an unfiltered message. A message many will be hearing for the first time.
Unfiltered, and unabashed. Forest has an opportunity to knock Cooper down several pegs, to earn the attention of millions of voters, and to gain their support in enacting an agenda of unity, opportunity, and possibility.
However, this is not accomplished tepidly. Forest must be fervent in delivering this message, unwavering in defense of his principles and policies, and dogged in his justified attacks on the incumbent.
Tonight’s the night. In a historic election year, this is one of the most important elections for determining our path forward as a state.
Make sure your friends and family, especially those fence-sitters, are tuned in. As citizens, we deserve leadership that embraces our Esse Quam Videri motto. They owe it to themselves to better understand the distinctions in the choice before them.