As the transition from incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory to his successor Democrat Roy Cooper reached its final stages, GOP state legislators, who hold a massive majority in both chambers, voted on Friday to curb the authority of the executive office and cut more than 1,000 of his employees. If enacted, the incoming governor will no longer have control over election boards, appointments to his own cabinet (at least not without approval from the state Senate), or the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina.
This is not simply a rebuke of Cooper, who promised to upend some of the socially conservative policies McCrory has pursued, but also of the 2.3 million North Carolinians who voted for him. Republicans have ignored the will of those voters, launching an unprecedented assault on democratic institutions and de-legitimizing the electoral process, all in the name of protecting McCrory’s legacy and their power.
In doing so, the North Carolina GOP is setting a dangerous precedent that they may come to regret. At a time when some liberals have been maligned for suggesting that the Electoral College voters should step in to bar Donald Trump from the White House, the North Carolina state legislature has done something very similar.