GOP Congressman Dan Bishop—He’s a “NAY” on Corona Virus Aid March 18, 2020
Most U.S. Presidents are eventually tested by crises that are not of their own making. How they handle them either strengthens their presidencies or severely weakens them. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans and the neighboring Gulf Coast finally showed many that George W. Bush was not doing a “heck of a job” as an administrator. W Bush was viewed as tone deaf to the suffering of many, far from a “compassionate conservative” he repeatedly claimed himself to be. Demagogue Donald, who skated through impeachment and numerous corruption scandals, has now met his mega-crisis, the coronavirus outbreak. Trump’s downplaying of this pandemic, as early as 1/2020, lest it hurt his re-election chances, and his repeated poor responses to this crisis will, IMHO, surely not help him when he himself runs for re-election in 11/2020 (See cnn.com, Maxouris & Almasy, 3/14/20). Three years after Hurricane Katrina, W Bush’s performance during that debacle was no asset to GOP Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) electoral chances. McCain, remember, was endorsed by W Bush to succeed him.
As of 3/18/2020, when the GOP- Senate finally passed the Democratic House’s relief bill to deal with this pandemic, which Trump says he will sign, about 8,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. All 50 states have had coronavirus cases as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. The U.S. death toll has topped 140. FL GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has become the first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus (cnn.com, Yan, Maxouris, & Almasy, 3/18/20, LeBlanc, cnn.com, 3/18/20, nytimes.com, Live Updates, 3/18/20). Schools, sporting events, religious services, and other public gatherings have been cancelled or severely curtailed. Businesses, including bars and restaurants as well as gyms, fitness centers, and movie theaters, have been shuttered throughout the nation (See cnn.com, 3/14/20, latimes.com, Willon, Wigglesworth, et al, 3/16/20, CNN, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo 3/16/20 press conference). While Trump pretended for weeks that this virus was “no big deal,” the House under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), voted on 3/14/2020, early on Saturday, to pass a coronavirus relief package. This bill includes free virus testing for those who lack insurance, paid sick leave, and family and medical leave programs. This legislation additionally contains enhanced unemployment benefits, additional food aid, and federal funds for Medicaid. The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 363-40. All 40 “NO” votes were cast exclusively by GOPers. One of those “Team Red” voters casting a “NAY” vote for coronavirus relief was Representative Dan Bishop (clerk house gov, nytimes.com, Lee March, 3/14/20). Meet Cong. Bishop.
Freshman GOP Congressman Dan Bishop (55) currently represents North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, CD. The Tar Heel State 9th CD’s latest boundaries were drawn up in 2/2016, following litigation in a U.S. District Court that overturned its previous gerrymandered boundaries. The latest NC 9th CD is located in that state’s south-central area. It includes Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, and Robeson Counties. A southeast portion of Mecklenburg County and most of Cumberland and Bladen Counties are in the 9th. The Charlotte suburbs and the city of Fayetteville are part of the Tar Heel 9th. Charlotte is a banking and financial center where many of the 9th’s constituents work (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac). The most recent Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the 9th an R+8 lean.
Charlotte, NC native Dan Bishop received a 1986 B.S. in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 1990 law degree from Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina Law School (charlotteobserver.com, 10/18/16). From 2004-2008, Bishop was a member of the Mecklenburg County Commission. In 2014, Bishop won election to the NC House of Representatives in a seat in the south Charlotte area for a single term, 2015-2017. In 11/2016, Bishop won election to the NC Senate defeating his Democratic opponent by a 5.62% margin (Clasen-Kelly, heraldonline.com, “Charlotte Observer,” 11/04/14, 11/08/16 NC General Election Results).
During his time in the NC State Senate, (1/01/17-9/17/19), Bishop received attention for Trump-like statements attacking journalists. Bishop criticized the Raleigh, NC press corps over the coverage of the state budget by calling reporters the “jihad media (facingsouth.org, Corriher, 11/02/18, Campbell, newsobserver.com, 6/22/17).” In 8/2017, Bishop contributed $500 toward the establishment of the social network Gab.ai, a website criticized for allegedly allowing white supremacist content. Bishop stated he did this in response to CA companies like PayPal and Facebook canceling accounts used by organizers and funders of the Charlottesville, VA Unite the Right rally. That 8/2017 rally resulted in a fatal white supremacist riot. After the 10/2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre by an anti-Semitic white supremacist, Bishop again received negative attention for his Gab.ai website. Bishop stated he was being “smeared” by such comments (charlotteobserver.com, Morrill, 10/31/18, Corriher, facingsouth.org,11/02/18). In the NC Senate, Bishop received a high lifetime 87% score from the American Conservative Union.
Bishop is best known for being the lead author and sponsor of NC’s so-called “bathroom bill.” That bill, HB 2, prohibited transgender individuals from using public restrooms other than those by their biological sex as defined on their birth certificates. When the NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed this legislation, he created a strong backlash, which helped Dem. Roy Cooper defeat him in the 2016 general election. This bill was overruled by a NC federal judge in a ruling affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court (nymag.com/intelligencer, Kilgore, 5/13/19). When HB 2 was replaced with a compromise bill brokered by Dem. Gov. Cooper and the GOP legislative leadership, Bishop was the sole senator to make a floor speech against revoking HB 2. In emails later made public, Bishop compared LGBT rights activists to the Taliban (Campbell et al, newsobserver.com, 3/30/17, Spanberg, “Charlotte Business Journal,” 6/09/16).
In the 11/2018 midterm election in the 9th NC Congressional District, GOPer Mark Harris, making his first electoral run, led Dem. Dan McCready by 905 votes. However, strong allegations of absentee-ballot fraud in this election prevented its certification. After a 2/2019 hearing by the NC State Board of Elections in which Harris and his own son testified, the NC Election Board called for a new special election. Citing “medical problems,” Harris did not run again. In the 10/14/2019 primary, State Senator Dan Bishop handily won the GOP nomination against nine other candidates while Dem. Dan McCready, running unopposed, won his primary. McCready faced Bishop in the scheduled 9/10/2019 special election. Had McCready won that election he would have been the first Democrat to win this seat since 1952 (Cohen & Cook 2020 Almanac). Bishop, now well known for his “bathroom bill” and Trump social conservative agenda, had strong support among the 9th’s social conservatives. Bishop also opposed expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. Trump had carried the 9th CD by 12 points in 2016. Bishop, with an election eve rally from Trump, received super strong turnout from Trump’s MAGA base located in the 9th’s rural counties. Although McCready did better in the college-educated Charlotte suburbs than he had against Harris in 11/2018, the rural “ultra-Red” counties pulled Bishop over the top. He beat McCready by 2 percentage points, 50.7%-48.7% (nytimes.com, Fausset & Martin, 9/10/19, nbcnews.com & “Politico,”9/10/19). Bishop was sworn into Congress on 9/17/2019.
We should not at all be surprised at freshman Cong. Dan Bishop’s record in the current 116th Congress. Bishop has voted 95% of the time in lock step with another member of the 116th Congress, wacky extremist GOP TX Rep. Louie Gohmert (projects propublica.org). Gohmert, FYI, initially held up the House-passed coronavirus relief bill instead of allowing it to be passed by unanimous consent and immediately sending it to the Senate (See latimes.com, Haberkorn, 3/17/20). Callous Gohmert, like heartless Bishop, is a member of the “I Voted ‘NO’ on Coronavirus Relief GOP Gang of 40 (clerkhouse.gov).” Cong. Bishop could care less that NC, as of 3/16/2020, had 33 cases of coronavirus with 19 in Mecklenburg County home of Charlotte (cnc.com, cdc-issues). Cong. Bishop has additionally received a 100% rating from the Susan B. Anthony List, a strong anti-choice group that VP Mike Pence has praised. Anti-regulatory right-wing Koch Industries has given at least $5, 003 to Bishop in the 2020 campaign cycle (opensecrets.org).
Trump carried NC in 2016, winning it by 4 points. Rural turnout was “y uu ge,” while fewer blacks showed up. College educated graduates and professional women are turning against Donald even more strongly, but like the polarized 9th CD, NC will be a tough state to carry for “Team Blue” without ultra-strong turn out from all of our base. True, there is a Senate race in this state where freshman GOP Senator Thom Tillis is being challenged by Dem. Cal Cunningham who currently leads him in the polls. However, 11/03/2020 is political light years away and Trump has strong “never say die” MAGA Tar Heel fans. Dan McCready is not running again in the NC 9th. The Democratic nominee for the Tar Heel 9th is Cynthia Wallace. Wallace is far less known in the 9th . African- American Wallace is a graduate of Spelman College. She has served as a vice president in the financial services industry for 25 years. She has been active in numerous business and civic organizations and has been 9th CD chair of the NC Democratic Party. She takes credit for making the race in the 9th CD so close for McCready, but a loss remains a loss (See cynthiawallace.com). Wallace has an uphill fight in this still R+8 GOP-leaning district. Still, she must put Cong. Bishop on defense for his heartless corona virus vote and for his controversial record, so out-of-touch with many of his Tar Heel constituents.