Less than a month ago, former Charlotte mayor pro tem Lynn Wheeler published an op ed in The Observer. In it, she called on the business community to set up a dark money slush fund to elect more Republican legislators from Mecklenburg County:
I have a solution: Charlotte’s corporate leadership (perhaps facilitated by Bob Morgan and the Charlotte Chamber) should set up a 501(c)(4) PAC and call it something like Charlotte Forward. This PAC must be registered with the state, and the beauty of a 501(c)(4) is that donors may remain anonymous. A board could be set up and the PAC could select candidates it wishes to support.
Wheeler said this vote-rigging scheme needs to be secret because the Charlotte metro area has become a stronghold of Democratic voters- and officeholders. She views this exercise of choice by voters as the reason the North Carolina General Assembly punishes Charlotte- and the other big, Democratic-majority cities- for being that way. It would be bad for business if Charlotte’s corporate moguls had to stand up for their views: “business leadership in Charlotte appears to be reluctant to openly support legislative or even local candidates for office for fear of reprisals.”
The Republicans already have veto-proof ⅗ majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. But that’s apparently not enough. Wheeler argued:
I’m certain [Senate president and de facto governor] Phil Berger and [House Speaker] Tim Moore would be more accessible to Charlotte and amenable to our needs if there is concrete evidence of major Charlotte support for their reelection campaigns. Each of them and their caucuses would be more likely to push agendas and bills benefiting the growth and vitality of Charlotte. This is imperative, unless Charlotte wants to remain on the short end of the stick legislatively.
A Charlotte Observer reporter asked Wheeler on Facebook if she really meant to call for a protection racket to be set up.
Wheeler responded that the reporter was spot-on.
I wrote off Wheeler’s article as the ravings of a Teabag gasbag.
I was wrong. Wheeler was just floating a trial balloon.
I missed its first launch. That was in June, when Trump declared himself the most gay-friendly president-to-be in history. He did that after the Orlando mass murder; in the context of his overall policy range, what he did was promise not to let LBGT Americans be killed- but only by terrorists. The rest of his party's platform, and his promises to American politicovangelicals, were- and remain, rejectionist and discriminatory to the maximum extent a Trump Supreme Court will allow.
But it's hard to miss last weekend's sequence of events.
Saturday, the Republican National Committee issued a stand down order to all vendors employed on projects supporting Donald Trump.
Sunday, Donald Trump threatened GOP leaders and candidates who waver in their support of him with severe reprisals, and Trump supporters have begun turning up at rallies to shout down those nominees.
I see an ambassadorship for Lynne Wheeler in the Trump administration.