Donald Trump’s name will not be on your ballot, but Donald Trump very much will be.
This newspaper’s opposition to and outright contempt for Trump and the politics he represents isn’t a secret. Over the past twenty-two months, Trump has shown himself time and time again to be a cancer infecting the body politic: racist, narcissistic, mendacious, resentful, incoherent, inept, corrupt, chaotic, cruel. He professes affection for dictators but dismisses scientists. He’s surrounded himself with a rogues’ gallery of the worst minds of his generation: white nationalists like Stephen Miller and warmongers like John Bolton, quislings like Mike Pence and grifters like Scott Pruitt, incompetents like Ben Carson and shysters like Rudy Giuliani. He’s separated children from their parents, mocked a sexual assault survivor, and repeatedly attacked the law enforcement officials investigating his campaign.
History will judge Trump the worst president in a century—and America by whether we allowed him to debase us for a century to come.
That’s the backdrop to this November’s elections, and not just congressional races. In North Carolina, legislative leaders have been devotees of Trump’s religion of shameless, zero-sum politics since before Trump became its high priest, eviscerating norms and targeting minority communities in their lust to maintain power.
This is the through line that connects many of the INDY’s endorsements this fall: Those who stand with Trump and, whether through words or votes, support his agenda, we’ll oppose, no matter their experience or intellect. Those who oppose Trump—and, more important, Trumpism—we’ll almost always support, no matter their shortcomings.
Of course, this means we’ll be endorsing mostly Democrats. To be clear, we carry no torch for the Democratic Party and many of its leaders, both in North Carolina and across the country. But there is one, and only one, major party not currently in thrall to a would-be demagogue. In their fealty to Trump and their unwillingness to check his corruption, Republicans have become an existential threat to the republic. They must be banished to the political wilderness. We’ll deal with the Democrats’ flaws later.
Not every race conforms neatly to the Trump/Not Trump paradigm. Judicial and local races, as well as various bond referenda, have little to do with the chump in chief. In analyzing these races, we assessed them through the prism of the INDY’s values—social justice and egalitarianism, tolerance of and kindness toward marginalized communities, ethical rigor and basic human decency—and our desire for smart, pragmatic, fact-based policymaking. In other words: Not Trump.
The INDY recommends:
GK Butterfield, Linda Coleman, and David Price for Congress
Vote no on all six constitutional amendments
Vote for Democrats for the General Assembly
Our picks for state and local judicial races
Clarence Birkhead for Durham County Sheriff
Natalie Murdock and Laura Marie Davis for Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
Heather Main and W. Chris Hogan for Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
Vote yes on the Chapel Hill affordable housing bond
Lorrin Freeman for Wake County District Attorney
Gerald Baker for Wake County Sheriff
Blair Williams for Wake County Clerk of Superior Court
Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, Susan Evans, Greg Ford, and Vickie Adamson for Wake County Board of Commissioners
Heather Scott, Shaun Pollenz, Jim Martin, and Lindsay Mahaffey for Wake County Board of Education
Ian McMillan and Jenna Wadsworth for Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor