Political physics

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Unlike everything else trapped on this planet, our political system is not subject to the laws of physics. What goes up does not always come down. Every action is not necessarily opposed by an equal and opposite reaction. And when an immovable object meets an irresistible force… well, in the case of state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, the immovable object runs for re-election unopposed.

The right-side governance that has been in place since 2010 has wrought much damage — to our environment, our state university system, our tax code, our public schools, our cities and the discourse among our citizens, which due to our wide political spectrum has gotten a mite surly in the last few years. Our state’s poor, elderly and infirm have been pushed to the margins even as their numbers continue to grow.

For those who drove our state into the red, there doesn’t seem to be any further to go, unless the end game for the Republican members of the General Assembly is to privatize every single function of government and force poor people to starve.

But things can always get worse.

With their majority, Republicans have gotten everything they’ve wanted, save for a few initiatives, like voting restrictions and redistricting, that may turn out to be illegal.

They’ve been driving the bus for five years, and in that time things have gotten worse for most North Carolinians — the regular citizens who are trying to buy homes, start businesses or find jobs, educate their children, have affordable healthcare and maybe sock away a few bucks for the uncertain future, and not the ones who want to bring their guns to the park and prevent women from getting birth control.

The GOP policies that have ruled the land have failed to bring prosperity, which by definition is a shared phenomenon. But they’ve squeezed all who would oppose them into inconsequential tracts, stacking the deck for the next election that comes up in the new year.

Just 44 percent of registered NC voters showed up in the 2014 election, the last time voters chose representatives to the General Assembly. But 2016 is at the apex of the election cycle.

We hit 68 percent in the last presidential year of 2012, just a couple clicks below the high-water mark of 70 percent set in 2008, when Barack Obama won the state.

We could easily choose a Democrat for president again in 2016, but that won’t have much effect on the General Assembly, which has insulated itself from the reality of physics.