Democratic Party's decision to hold national convention in N.C. proving problematic

Democratic Party's decision to hold national convention in N.C. proving problematic

Charlotte : NC : USA | May 15, 2012 at 1:22 AM PDT
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2012 Democratic National Convention Celebration

President Barack Obama's decision to hold the 2012 Democratic convention in North Carolina seem to be a bold maneuver to regain a state he’d won in 2008. At present, it’s more like an uncomfortable fit.

The state’s Democratic Party is stalled in a sexual harassment scandal. Voters just accepted a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which clashes with Obama’s opinion on the issue.

Convention fundraising has been slow, and labor unions tapped to fill the financial gulf are angry the convention will be in a city -- Charlotte -- with no unionized hotels and in a state where required union membership or the payment of dues is banned as an employment condition.

The prevalent 9.7 percent unemployment rate of North Carolina is above the national average and one of the host city’s top employers --Bank of America (BAC) has announced job reduction. And the Bank of America Stadium is a place where Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination in September.

Don Kettl, dean of the school of public policy at the University of Maryland said, “It’s implausible that they would move the convention, but they may wish that they had placed their chips on another swing state.”

North Carolina is one of the most important states; Democratic and Republican strategists believe it could play a huge role in deciding the result of the presidential election.

Gays Protests

The previous week’s vote to endorse a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has prompted calls from gay rights activists to move the convention. Some among the Democrats also desires to incorporate same-sex marriage in the party policy that will be approved at the convention, a potentially headline-grabbing debate.

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and the presumptive Republican nominee, is also encouraging the state’s voters to oppose gay marriage. During his visit to Charlotte last week he declined to comment about the same-sex marriage constitutional ban. Romney resists gay marriage.

Affiliation with Bank

There are political downsides for Obama in addressing his acceptance speech in a stadium named after a bank at a time when he is propagating agenda for the tighter regulations and healthy consumer protections.

Obama Last October censured a designed $5 dollar monthly fee that Bank of America was going to charge its debit card users. He remarked that while companies have a right to set fees, but he questioned the bank’s explanation for the new charge.

He said at a White House news conference on Oct. 6, “People have been using financial regulation as an excuse to charge consumers more."

Preparations for the Sept. 4-6 convention come as the Democratic Party in North Carolina is dealing with fallout from a sexual harassment accusation.

Sexual Harassment Scandal

David Parker, State Democratic Chairman presented his resignation over the weekend following criticism about his management of allegations by an ex-worker against an ex- party director.

The Party members rejected his resignation and Parker says he plans to remain in his post, even though he’s been encouraged to leave by Democratic Governor Bev Perdue, who is not looking for a second term, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton and state elected officials.

Also playing out in the state is the federal trial of the state’s former Democratic U.S. senator, John Edwards, who is accused of a scheme to use almost $1 million in campaign contributions to help hide an affair with his pregnant mistress while running for president in 2008.

Brad Crone, a Democratic strategist in North Carolina, called the state of affairs within the state party “disturbing to a lot of people at the national level and the state campaign” at least in the quick-fix

“I don’t think the gloom is going to be cast very far in terms of what’s happening today in the first week of September,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of work to do in the state.”

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Jason1984 is based in Washington, North Carolina, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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