In case you missed it, North Carolina elections are just like those in Cuba.
Just a few days before Christmas, and on the heels of the “will it or won’t it be repealed” legislative drama over HB2, the Raleigh News and Observer (N&O) published an opinion piece that alleged North Carolina was “no longer a functioning democracy.”
In the piece, UNC Chapel Hill Professor Andrew Reynolds cited a report from the Electoral Integrity Project, which is a joint academic research project of Harvard and Sydney universities.
The report, Reynolds noted, put the state of North Carolina, “alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation-state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table …”
Naturally, it was hailed by Left-wing elites who were high-fiving each other over the fact that a genuine “study” confirmed what they’ve believed about the state of North Carolina ever since Democrats – notorious “power-grabbers” themselves – lost their century-plus stranglehold on it in 2012. To paraphrase: North Carolina has now become hostile enemy territory and we must work tirelessly to “cripple” state government and “eviscerate” its leaders!!
It was linked to excitedly by a number of high-profile publications, many of them Left-wing intellectual heavyweights like Vox.com, the Huffington Post, Perez Hilton, and Democracy Now, the latter of which interviewed Professor Reynolds on the dire need to restore “democracy now!!” to our Republican-controlled state.
After widespread criticism of his piece, the professor even doubled-down on his comparison and came up with a helpful “fix it” list of what he claimed we needed to do to get back on track.
It’s important to note that Cuba is a one-party Socialist republic and it has only one recognized official party, the Communist Party.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) got wind of the hoopla over this startling revelation and, in turn, responded to Reynolds’ proverbial call to arms by blasting the ludicrous suggestion that North Carolina resembles Cuba in any way:
If the readout of your model is that North Carolina is as repressive as Cuba, maybe the problem is your model rather than North Carolina. The state is peacefully transferring power to a Democratic attorney general from a former Republican mayor of Charlotte, not deputizing the secret police. Cuba, which jails political dissidents, hasn’t transferred power since 1959, unless the 2008 presidential handoff to Raúl Castro from Fidel Castro counts. Yet Cuba rates a 56.
The WSJ went on to highlight some important information from the study left out of many favorable or otherwise uncritical pieces written about it – including the one that originally appeared in the N&O:
More remarkable still is that North Carolina isn’t the worst performing state on the Electoral Integrity Project’s scoring system. Some 11 states are allegedly less free. Democracy in New York (which scored a 61) and Virginia (60) is supposedly more imperiled than in Rwanda (64), though Rwanda is controlled by an autocrat. The worst-performing state, Arizona (53), is outranked by Kuwait (55), Ivory Coast (59) and Kyrgyzstan (54).
— Electoral Integrity (@ElectIntegrity) December 26, 2016
Besides, the comparison of North Carolina to Cuba is laughably absurd for probably the most important and notable reason of all: If North Carolina really was like Cuba, Democrats wouldn’t be encouraging people to boycott it over laws they perceive as harmful to the LGBTQ community.