We'll have a lot more to say in next week's paper about why Governor McCrory needs to be evicted from the Executive Mansion posthaste. Here, though, we want to make the affirmative case for Attorney General Roy Cooper. The argument goes something like this: first, Cooper wants to repeal HB 2, expand Medicaid, protect abortion rights, allow online voter registration, and invest in renewable energy. Second, Cooper wants to make North Carolina schools truly first-rate (and not just preening-for-election-year-cameras first-rate), bringing teacher pay up to the national average, rather than forty-first in the country. He also opposes school vouchers and unregulated charter schools, two planks of the effort to privatize public education that McCrory has consistently supported. Finally, Cooper has backed environmental regulations and refused to defend a McCrory administration lawsuit against the EPA over the Clean Power Plan.
There are, of course, significant issues with Cooper: while he opposes HB 2, it's unclear whether he'll push to expand statewide nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people. As attorney general, Cooper has consistently supported the death penalty. And, disappointingly, he also supported McCrory's nonsensical suggestion that we enact a moratorium on Syrian refugees.
While Cooper isn't exactly a portrait of a liberal lion, he's a hell of a lot better than what we've got now. And should Democrats manage to overcome the Republican supermajority in the legislature—a newspaper can dream—Cooper's veto pen will also serve as a check on Phil Berger's most radical impulses, preventing further tax cuts for the wealthy and the erosion of the safety net. For these reasons, we enthusiastically endorse Cooper.