It’s a tough time to be a Democrat in North Carolina. The state Supreme Court, which had been a kind of Democrat superlegislature that tossed out conservative law and precedent based on novel interpretations, is now solidly in the hands of Republicans. Both U.S. senators from North Carolina are Republicans. And both chambers of the legislature now have supermajorities for Republicans, effectively making legislative Democrats and the veto pen of the Democrat governor powerless.
Kyle Parrish, an entertaining but often-obnoxious Twitter personality (who I believe also ran for Congress and lost unanimously), was reflecting on these losses and said something none of his fellow Democrats wanted to hear — maybe the policies they’re choosing to focus on, especially regarding the latest gender theories, just aren’t that popular.
Taking a look at three polls released this month, he has a point. A Harvard/Harris poll found that about 8-in-10 Americans oppose puberty blockers and gender surgeries for children. But everyone knows Harvard has a right-wing bias, so let’s look at another.
A PPRI poll showed that these numbers are actually getting less encouraging for Democrats who want to make trans issues their centerpiece. In 2021, 60% of Independents said there were only two genders; now it’s 66%. Democrats similarly moved 6%, from 38% to 44% on believing there are only two genders. Republicans were already fairly unanimous on this question.
And on another hot-button issue related to transgender-identifying people, Gallup found that the trend on Americans being comfortable with trans males participating in female sports is also headed the wrong way for Democrats. In 2021, 34% were for it and 62% against, and now in 2023, 26% are for it and 69% against. That’s an 8-point drop in support in just two years.
So how did other North Carolina Democrats react to Parrish’s suggestion to maybe put this issue on the back-burner? The new chair of the state party, Anderson Clayton, threw him under the bus without hesitation. You know Clayton is a true believer on this issue because she has pronouns in her bio, a trendy way of declaring there are many genders and one can never be quite sure who belongs to which unless its explicitly stated.
If you’re confused what she means by “gender fluid,” you’re not alone. It’s a new trend where the person doesn’t just identify as the opposite sex, they identify with both sexes, or neither (non-binary), and this status is “fluid,” shifting depending on the hour or the day. There are a lot of videos you can find online on this that don’t really clear things up: see below.
Apparently the state Democrat Party signs off on this fringe idea, even though 44% of Democrats hold instead that there are only two genders. In fact, the portion of Democrats who believe strongly that there are only two genders is higher (28%) than the portion that believe strongly that there are more than two genders (27%).
So, even with a base that is fairly split on the issue, the N.C. Democratic Party wants to make it clear: there will be no deviation from what the 27% inner-circle of purists believe.
Maybe they hoped they’d be able to keep everyone in line by hitting back hard against the Kyle Parrish’s of the world, and that Rep. Tricia Cotham jumping ship to the Republicans was a one-off. But it was not four days later that someone else broke ranks. It just happened to be on the issue of whether trans males should play in female sports leagues, as state Sen. Val Applewhite, a Democrat from Cumberland County, joined Republicans in voting to block trans-identifying males from competing on girls’ teams.
This was an especially painful defection because Applewhite was meant to be a more reliable replacement for her predecessor, Kirk deViere. Cooper personally went all in on Applewhite in the 2022 primary to get rid of deViere, who occasionally crossed the aisle and voted with Republicans.
Applewhite got the same treatment that Parrish got, with post after post denouncing her heresy. Many also called for her to be primaried. Who knows? Maybe Kirk deViere is free. People are already asking.
So Kyle Parrish was right. It looks like Democrats have a loyalty problem caused by taking very rigid stances on issues that their own voters are at best ambivalent on. As long as they continue with that strategy, they’re likely to lose both elections and the occasional Democrat legislator, even if just for key votes.
It’s unlikely they’ll see the truth in Kyle’s words. Instead, they’ll probably blame the losses on having to bring an ID to the polls or not being able to have mail-in ballots accepted three days after the polls close.
Kyle’s also right that bagels are pure breakfast bliss and a scrumptious love affair, a message he sent out soon after the controversy, likely trying to reestablish some common ground with the people. My daughter, who has eaten a bagel every morning since her teeth came in, agrees and thanks Kyle for this message, and for the message that maybe Democrats shouldn’t prioritize putting male athletes on girls’ sports teams and in their locker-rooms.