North Carolina dropped into the “leans Democratic” category in the presidential race on RealClearPolitics’ website on Oct. 3. It was one week after the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and a couple of days before audiotape surfaced of Trump describing his pick-up techniques to a guffawing Billy Bush.

The tape was a career-killer for Bush, who was dismissed from the “Today” show by the end of the next week. But, again according to RCP aggregate polls, it had virtually no effect on the Trump campaign in North Carolina — support for the candidate here is actually trending upwards since Oct. 14.

This goes to show that, while at this point it seems clear that we will be looking at the first female president in the history of the country, no one really knows how North Carolina will fall, and Trump supporters in the state are hanging on.

It looks as if the Democrats may make some inroads on the Republican majority in the House and could win a one-seat majority in the Senate. Either way, through the magic of gerrymandering, the state General Assembly will remain solidly conservative even with a Democratic sweep.

The only sure thing is that there will be an awful lot of Tarheels disturbed by the outcome of these races and, if recent history is any guide, some lingering resentment after everybody gets sworn in.

And what are we to do in this red-run state with a deep purple electorate? How are we supposed to overcome two years of overturned laws from our state legislature and make whole the economic damage wrought by cancelled sports tournaments and concerts? When will we be able to stop spending budget money to defend ourselves from lawsuits instead of on natural disasters or infrastructure? How are we supposed to forget that probably four out of every 10 voters in the state will have voted for Trump?

What’s to be done when you’ve voted out anyone who can be dethroned and still nothing changes?

It’s the vicious cycle of the political pendulum. Democrats at the national level will make promises that will be thwarted by Republican obstruction. And Republicans at the state level will exploit the Democrats’ supposed failures for political gain in the next two cycles.

Lower your expectations. And vote anyway.

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