The North Carolina Republican Party hosted the Old North State Dinner on June 4 in Greenville, North Carolina, where Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, State Senator Deanna Ballard and Charlotte North Carolina City Councilman Tariq Bokhari spoke on the Republican party’s future in North Carolina’s political scene.
Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, opened the dinner with a speech where he said North Carolina is a state that faces evolution and the party needs to begin to speak to new populations. He said the dinner is a way to showcase the Republican candidates from across the state.
“If we are going to compete as a party in the elections of 2022, and 24, and 2030, and 2040 and 2050, we’ve got to find a way to be able to speak to urban folks. We have to find a way to speak to Blacks. To speak to Hispanics. To speak to Asian Americans,” Whatley said.
During his speech, Cawthorn presented a list of government reforms that he said should be implemented in the United States government. His list includes term limits on Congress members, a balanced budget amendment, an abolishment of the income tax, an audit of the federal reserve, an audit of intelligence organizations such as the CIA or FBI and the abolishment of the Department of Education and the impeachment of judges who “do not believe in our constitution.”
Cawthorn said critical race theory, an academic approach that seeks to examine the intersection of race and law in America, serves as a form of indoctrination in the school system.
“We need to abolish the Department of Education because no Washington D.C. bureaucrat, no one who wants to push critical race theory, nobody who believes that they should indoctrinate our children at a young age and force politics upon them should be allowed to be in charge of our schools,” Cawthorn said.
Cawthorn also spoke of his time in Washington D.C. as a congressman, where he said he faces off against Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and the “Jihad Squad,” a nickname coined by Republicans for progressive Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
The U.S. does not owe anything to its population, Cawthron said, aside from opportunity, which he said the country did provide to him. When he spoke on issues that he believes are threats to upcoming generations, he referenced drag queens reading to children in public libraries.
“We need to allow the next generation to be raised in a nation where they’re not politicized from the age of five,” Cawthorn said. “They don't have - I mean Mark (Robinson) you talk about this the best - when we have drag queens in our public libraries reading to our children, the libraries that we paid for...it is up to us to fight as hard as we possibly can for the next generation.”
Robinson, who plans to make a run for North Carolina governor in 2024, said the only way to achieve goals in the country, in states or in homes, is to understand “God is first” and that this is the only way to build communities. He said sacrifice and service are other integral parts of the Republican party’s principles.
Reparations for slavery, Robinson said, are not owed. He said it is instead modern people who are in debt to those who were slaves or those who endured Jim Crow. He said the work of previous generations has built the America that exists today.
“I remember I made this particular liberal so angry at me because I told ‘em right to their face, ‘Nobody owes you anything for slavery.’ If you want to tell the truth about it, it is you who owes, it’s you who owes, why do you owe? Because somebody in those fields took strikes for you,” Robinson said.
Raising a child is important, Robinson said, and people who decide to have children must take the job seriously. He said the biggest decision in anyone’s life is when they decide to have children and he said once a woman is pregnant, “it’s not (her) body anymore.”
Abortion is a topic that Robinson said he will not budge on. He said the main question he is asked on his pro-life stance is on cases where a woman gets pregnant through either rape or incest. He compared the pro-choice stance of abortion in the case of incest and rape to arguments on seat belt enforcement that he had when he was younger.
“You know what that argument (abortion in cases of rape and incest) reminds me of? It reminds me of the argument about seatbelts. I can remember this as a young man when we were arguing whether or not we should be required to wear seatbelts or if we should wear seatbelts. I can always remember there would be one person who would say ‘what if I get stuck on the railroad tracks and my seatbelt won’t come off.’ Number one, if you are stuck on the train tracks, that is (Charles) Darwin, that’s not any of my concern, that is Darwin. I cannot help you.”
The United States of America is not a theocracy, Robinson said, and he does not seek to push his religious views on anyone, but he said he will not allow for “demonic” views to be pushed on his children. He then said there are two genders, created by God.
Bokhari said America’s biggest cities are the sites of “ideological wars” and Charlotte is a hub for these fights. He said the defunding of the police, the Black Lives Matter movement, the riots the city faced and the abolition of single-family zoning are all experimental policies being implemented by Democrats.
“The problem right now is that giving up on a place like Charlotte, it leaves these authoritarian laboratories unchecked to do whatever they want and then experiment with whatever we see,” Bokhari said.
Current policies and attitudes that have taken place in cities are now being employed to explain Hamas and Israel, Bokhari said. He said the Republican party must control its narrative and explain its goals in a way that can be understood by more people.
Ballard said she has driven for schools to reopen for face-to-face instruction throughout the past few months. She said the Republican party must win a veto-proof supermajority to pass “real conservative policies” in North Carolina. She said Second Amendment rights, pro-business and pro-life policies will not succeed until the Republican party in the state senate can overturn vetos from the governor.
Conservative women need to run for office, Ballard said, as the Republican party is the “real pro-women party.” School boards and county commissions are elected offices that Ballard said women should run for more often.
“We are the party that fights for family, that fights for faith, that fights for the unborn, that fights for good jobs for all, that fights for school choice,” Ballard said. “These are policies that all of us care about, and women not least of all. But in politics, how a message is perceived is based on who is delivering it.”
The NCGOP State Convention will continue today with speeches from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and President Donald Trump.