The Charlotte convention could backfire badly on the Democrats

But the economic backdrop is far from ideal for the president looking to sell voters on the Obama recovery. North Carolina’s unemployment rate has persistently been above the national average, at 9.4 percent last month, and Charlotte is the world headquarters of Bank of America, a bailed-out megabank so closely associated with the financial collapse of 2008 that Occupy Wall Street has devoted a campaign specifically to breaking it up. Protesters will be on the streets of Charlotte taking aim at the bank even as President Obama delivers his acceptance speech—at Bank of America Stadium. And labor unions are fuming that the convention is being held in a so-called right-to-work state (where union membership or dues cannot be required for employment)…

Compounding the Democrats’ branding troubles in the Tar Heel State are two sex scandals involving former party political stars—the trial of former senator John Edwards, John F. Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in 2004 and the most outspoken populist in the 2008 presidential primary, and the ongoing investigation of the state party chair, David Parker, for bungling his own inquiry into whether his executive director sexually harassed an employee. After briefly resigning, Parker has returned to his office and is fighting to keep it. He may well still be there and fighting when the convention arrives.

“When North Carolina was picked, it was an excellent choice,” said election expert Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia. “As it has happened, North Carolina is going to be less competitive. [Democrats are] less inclined to admit the state is already gone, but it probably is, unless there’s a big Obama resurgence in the fall. They’ve got a very high unemployment rate.”

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