Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis Debate at WCU

Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis Debate at WCU

#NC Congressional candidate debate

Posted by Blue Ridge Public Radio on Saturday, September 5, 2020

Western Carolina University hosted debate two between Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis at 7:30pm, September 5th, 2020. Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress and Smokey Mountain News were present to record the debate.

Questions were presented by Chris Cooper (Department Chair at WCU Political Science and Public Affairs), Edward Lopez (Economics Professor and Director of Center for Study of Free Enterprise), Richard G. Sneed (Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians).

Moe Davis Opening Statement

Well thank you and thank you to Western Carolina for having us again tonight out at Cullowee at the main campus, and it’s a real privilege to be here. Thanks to our host Blue Ridge Public Radio, Smoky Mountain News and Mountain Xpress. As I said last night i’m a big supporter of the first amendment in the fifth estate and I mentioned yesterday that President Trump was defunding Stars and Stripes. I’m pleased to say by the time we got home last night he’d rescinded that decision, and Stars and Stripes1 will continue on. So tonight’s an important night, the second night where you get to see the contrast between the two candidates. As I told you last night for my folks, I’ve asked you to be responsible and we’ve conducted this campaign in a responsible way, taking Covid-19 seriously. But some of you contacted me after last night’s event and said that tonight, like you did last night you were staging a drinking game, and you said you’re going to take a shot at tequila after every lie my opponent tells and you’re going to chug a beer every time he says Pelosi, AOC or waterboarding. But I beg you please be responsible, be safe, don’t do it. You can’t take it. Seriously, tonight is a chance for the two of us to talk about what we believe in our vision for Western North Carolina. I was surprised the Western Carolinian – I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s paper. Today described last night’s event as a slobber knocker so i look forward to seeing tomorrow’s paper and how tonight is described. We do have important issues to talk about. I started the morning out up in Yancey County in Burnsville with a group of veterans and we talked about our service. We talked about the country’s commitment to our veterans, and there was a gentleman there he’d served for 26 years. He was almost 90 years old and as we’re talking about how President Trump had described us as suckers and losers2 his lip was quivering he was so disgusted by the commander-in-chief’s description of us, and i’m sure my opponent tonight will denounce president trump for tarring those who served with those despicable labels i’m proud to have served for 25 years. I’m proud to be from North Carolina, I’m proud to be back here in Western North Carolina to have the opportunity to represent this district in congress because by any objective measure we’re behind in:

  • education
  • broadband
  • health care
  • environment
  • employment

Issues that impact you on a daily basis in your kids future tomorrow so your choice comes down to the same old same old that got us in this predicament. Do you want to send another person to Washington who’s going to go there and represent Donald Trump, not Western North Carolina? So you’ve got a clear choice. My record’s out there. You can see it, you can send me in [with] 35 years of experience, or you can send my opponent in with this 3-ring binder.

Madison Cawthorn Opening Statement

Hello everyone, my name is Madison Cawthorn. It’s an honor to get to be speaking to all of you, it’s an honor to be here at Western Carolina. I thank the campus for allowing us to be here and to all the panelists who will be asking questions tonight. I truly look forward to that and also Corey Vallancourt. Thank you for moderating tonight’s event you know we are in extremely perilous times in our country right now we have to make a decision if we want to continue going down the path we are which I believe is the wrong direction or if we want to vote for an outsider, someone to go into Washington DC to not represent either party, but to get rid of the two-party system, to get rid of career politicians, to make congress work for us again. It’s what I want to make the cornerstone of my entire tenure in congress about. It’s that I get term limits passed but also in addition to getting term limits passed, more directly relating to us right now and today I believe that we have got to elect people who are going to fight for the safety and security of our American families. Right now you see so much civil unrest predominantly from the left-leaning side of the democratic party inside of our great cities like Portland. Portland and many of our other cities in this country – the reason that is going on is because it is being egged on by the National Democratic Party3, one who wants to create the partisan divide to go deeper and deeper and deeper and further and further apart from one another so that they can make profit and gain power through the hate and unrest in our country. I want to go and be a hopeful and excited warrior for Western North Carolina to bring about and usher in a country that we can all be proud of. You know growing up here in Henderson County in Western North Carolina I remember always watching the news as i grew up. It was a very common source of conversation around our dinner table talk about the current events of the day, but I’ll tell you for parents today, raising a child I don’t know if it’s appropriate for them to watch the news. It has become so visceral and hate filled especially on the political end that it’s almost something you don’t want to expose them to and that is exactly why we need to be very careful with who we elect today. We can send someone to Washington DC who’s just another liberal lawyer and although we’ve been trying that for the last few decades we realized that we need to send someone to be representatives of us in Western North Carolina. I’m from here i was raised in Western North Carolina in these mountains by these values and I want to take those values to Washington DC and make our country and our government work for us again. Thank you all very much.

Analysis

Davis’ Opening:
1 Fact Check: Davis starts with a false allegation that Donald Trump led the decision to decommission Stars and Stripes. The decision to decommission the publication was made by the Pentagon. Ignoring his crude alcohol reference pandering to his alcoholic friends, he moves onto another tabloid rumor.
2Fact Check: Davis talked to a 90 year old veteran in Yancey county who paraphrased a false rumor touted by The Atlantic: “Anonymous sources revealed Trump called deceased American WWI soldiers losers and suckers”. This rumor from a 2018 trip to France was recirculated by mainstream liberal media outets. Sources familiar with Trump’s visits, and Bolton’s memoirs give broader details.

Cawthorn Opening:
3Fact Check: Spectator summarizes the sentiment espoused by conservatives. The polling in swing states even suggest loss of popularity with the BLM movement. The DNC’s 4 day kick-off now blame Trump for involvment in creating the chaos. Until now, since Floyd’s death, all these riots were “mostly peaceful”. DNC campaign managers ran the polls and they finally understand no one cares to see their cities and towns destroyed.


Question 1 (Chris Cooper):

Thank you Mr Cawthorn. Our first question of the night will come from panelist Chris Cooper and that will be directed to Mr Davis. Thanks Corey, it’s no secret that rural broadband or the lack thereof is a problem in our district and in districts like ours. Early this summer congress introduced the Rural Broadband Acceleration Act to try to address these problems. But the bill never made it out of committee. What is your view of congress’s role in securing rural broadband access and what specific policies would you propose or support?

Davis:

To meet this critical need for our region, yeah that’s that’s an excellent question and one that impacts folks in this district whether they’re Democrats Republicans or unaffiliated voters. I mean the truth is we’re behind, and that’s a key area where we’re behind in broadband. 14 of the 17 counties in this district are above the national average in poverty. All 17 counties are above the national average, and the percentage of folks that don’t have health care coverage. Our kids rank in the bottom third of the country in math and reading skills, and broadband plays a factor in all of those. We can’t recruit industry with good paying jobs to come here if we don’t have broadband. It’s an essential utility like water and electricity and if we don’t have it they’re not going to come. Our kids, when Covid-19 hit, many were sent home from school with a laptop. But if you’re up in one of the hollows where you don’t have broadband that laptop is a big paperweight, and a lot of folks had never heard the term telemedicine until Covid-19 hit. But again, if you’re one one of our counties where you don’t have broadband, you can’t use telemedicine. 92 percent of Americans have access to broadband and 94 percent of North Carolinians, but we’ve got places here in Western North Carolina counties where it’s less than 50 percent. There’s a bill that was introduced recently by representative Jim Clyburn from South Carolina that I would like to go to Washington and help support. Its based on the rural electrification plan from the 1930s that brought electricity to many of our rural counties. It’s an 80 billion dollar bill which is a lot of money, but it’s necessary to bring that to the areas that are behind and need it to get into the modern age. I know my opponent supports bringing in corporations with incentives. One of the reasons we have the broadband problem that we do is because of Tom Tillis. When he was in the state legislature he passed a law that prohibits municipalities from forming cooperatives to bring in broadband because he wanted big companies like AT&T and Time Warner to profit but i support the bill to deliver broadband to our rural communities and bring Western North Carolina into the 21st century.

Cawthorn:

Well I believe this is a very critical important issue for us to tackle. You know when we’re talking about tele-learning. There was a mother I was speaking to inside of McDowell County one time. She was telling me now that her children had gotten to go home in the last semester during the spring semester of last year, she said now that her children had to go home, they were unable to be able to connect to the internet to be able to do their school. So I mean she would have to come home from work early to pick her children up to go sit outside of a McDonald’s – just so that her children could connect to the wi-fi -so that they could get their homework done. That is absurd! We live in the greatest most prosperous nation on the planet. We should have all of the luxuries of that being so. You know in the 1930s during parts of the the New Deal we did have the opportunity to be able to pass an Electrification Act we can also look at doing something like that in this particular regards. Also, we can offer tax incentives to people to come inside of this district to be able to lay that extra mile of fiber optic cable so we can have broadband access in all these hollows where you can’t get it. You know I believe that is actually the role of government, and it’s the role of a conservative government. I don’t want the government to be in charge of all these three-letter agencies to become a fourth branch of our national government that is telling us what to do and when we can do it. I want to pull our government back, but I do believe it is the role of our government to create the framework for the private sector to be able to flourish, and if we want to entice new jobs to come in here we can create competitive pricing for the job market so we can have higher wages for our people. Then we have got to invest in infrastructure and I believe that infrastructure is the greatest bang for our buck we can make as an investment as a country and so that is why I am such a strong proponent of investing in high-tech infrastructure so we can enter into the high-tech economy that’s emerging right now. Unfortunately the least bang for our buck we could possibly have is the green new deal a system that my opponent fervently pushes for and wants to have which would put us down with 51 trillion dollars of debt, and it’s money we simply don’t have to spend. It needs to be spent on infrastructure.

Davis:

Yeah, I think we’re in agreement. There’s a shortage of broadband where we are and it’s holding us back. I met people today up in Burnsville that are here from other states and they’re there because there’s broadband. They can telework. You know we found that the economy – our new economy – that we’re in now that many jobs can be performed from sites away from the workplace, and there are a lot of people. Mr Cawthorn and I were with the board of realtors not long ago and they said their problem is a shortage of supply because people are moving here, they’re learning that they can work from home they might as well live in a beautiful place like where we are, and it’s broadband that makes that possible, and we’ve got to make sure we extend that to the rural counties that are hurting where poverty is high. I’m a disabled veteran, I use the VA hospital and I’m having my first telemedicine appointment. Telemedicine appointments at the VA are up a thousand percent since March 1st, but if you’re one of the sixty five thousand veterans in this district and you’re in one of the areas that doesn’t have broadband you can’t use that benefit we’ve gotta fix that.

Cawthorn:

I believe one way we would be able to have more money in each of our individual counties is because we have so much federal land especially in these far western counties of our district. I believe we need to reform the formula we use for PILT money, which is payment in lieu of taxes. I believe that would give more money to the local governments which would have a better representation of what those counties need, and so I’m all for having some of your taxes that the government takes way too much of sent either back to your pocket or back into the counties where they belong so that we can have the infrastructure we need. I think it’s absolutely critical, unfortunately, if we were to enact the democrats plan of the Green New Deal like a with what AOC and MOE want to do, we would not have the money to be able to accomplish that.

Analysis:

The basis of the question was how to address Broadband internet access to rural parts of Western North Carolina. The strategies backed by Cawthorn and Davis fall strictly on party lines. Davis wants the government to manage the installation. Cawthorn wants to incentivize private entities that operate more efficiently than government.

**The best answer to who’s the fittest is also the answer to this question: UPS, FedEx, and USPS deliver mail. UPS and FedEx are private, while USPS is gov’t. Who conducts business efficiently? Who is financially solvent?


Question 2 (Richard Sneed):

Thank you Mr Cawthorn. Our second question of the night will come from Richard G Snead, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Thank you, and good evening. The United States is facing a tumultuous time dealing with race-based issues particularly relating to police reform. Native nations across the US experience an increased rate of domestic violence, rape, and kidnapping on some reservations. Federal studies have shown women are killed at a rate of over 10 times the national average. First, do you plan to support the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act when it comes before congress again? And secondly, how does the protection of missing and murdered indigenous women fit into your police reform agenda? Thank you.

Cawthorn:

I’ll tell you when it comes to police reform as almost every single sheriff in our district and the law enforcement community has endorsed me. I know that we have a high quality level of law enforcement officers and I know that they don’t shy away from an issue. They’re more than happy to be held to a higher standard whether it’s having more body cameras or having higher pay so that they can have more training – so they can handle issues better. You know if that act does come up that protects women from domestic violence, it’s something I would be more than willing to vote for. The reason is because I believe it is the duty of the government to protect the weak, and if there is a woman or a man for that matter who is in facing a situation where they’re facing domestic abuse or violence of any kind, I believe it’s the role of the government to step in and protect them. When it comes to police reform I would like to see a higher level of intervention when it comes to these domestic violence issues. Let’s have more wellness checks where – you know – we just have our friendly neighborhood sheriff deputies come knock on the doors make sure everything’s going okay at your house. I believe that’s something that we should all push for – we should all want, because anytime that there is violence going on silence is is not an answer; and since we’re talking about race-based issues and racial tensions that are going on all across our country you know of course I do believe that black lives matter. I believe that everyone should be treated with honor dignity and respect, and so I’m very thankful for the law enforcement officers that are all over our district who keep us safe every single day, and in my opening statement I talked about safety and security and that’s something that we all crave whether we’re a Native American tribe or whether we live in Henderson County I believe that that’s something that we need and crave to have a good and prosperous community and so that’s what i want to push for to make all of us feel safer so we can raise families in the America that we all know and love.

Davis:

Well I support the Violence Against Women’s Act. It was the Republicans that voted it down. They showed their disregard for women4. I’m proud to be endorsed by the National Organization for Women and I believe that everyone should be treated equally. I also respect the the Eastern band of Cherokee Indian sovereignty and your right to your own determination on your property, and your own schools, and your own law enforcement, your own laws that are enforced on on your property, but certainly violence against women is an issue. We heard last night about Mr Cawthorn being accused of sexual misconduct when he was in college where he stuck his hand up a young lady’s skirt without her consent5. That’s deplorable. It’s not acceptable, and things like that can’t be tolerated in our society. If we’re going to treat people equally, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, or black or white, or a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, or otherwise. Everybody deserves to be treated equally. I don’t use the n-word to refer to my friends. I know Mr Cawthorn explained that he used it in a positive way, but I don’t recall there being a positive way to use the n-word, so I don’t use it6. So I support equal rights. I’m proud to be endorsed by Equality NC and I’ve got a record unlike my opponent. I’ve lived and I’ve got a record and you can look at it. I was a judge at the Department of Labor and I’ve got a record of standing up for people and for their rights and making sure that they’re treated fairly and i’m proud of that.

Cawthorn:

Again here goes another liberal lawyer using more personal attacks instead of policy. But sir, if you do want to talk about your record which you tout so often and you say you’re excited to take it to Washington DC, that makes me deeply concerned you have decided to defend instead of prosecute when your sole role inside of Guantanamo Bay was to be a prosecutor to defeat the enemies of the United States of America, rather than defending terrorists. But on your own volition, because you had a disagreement with some of your superior officers and wanted to get back at them, you decided to defend terrorists who have killed sons and daughters of our country. You decided to protect Mmuhammad Slahi, the chief recruiter for the 9/11 attack. You decided to protect Omar Khadr, an Al Qaeda operative who brutally murdered one US medic and injured another. This is Christopher Speer. A man who my opponent decided to defend – Omar Khadr – who threw a grenade which killed this brave American soldier who was trying to protect all of us. So sir, if you would like to tout your record I say that is precisely the reason we should not vote for you. We do not need another liberal lawyer who stands up for the rights of terrorists instead of the rights of Americans.

Davis:

Well I know folks out there have slammed one down now. I haven’t kept count of the lies that have been told so far. Let me first address this about mountain values. I was born in Shelby just down the road. I went to college at Appalachian State. I lived in Avery County which is in the district in 1978, which i believe was 17 years before my opponent ever drew his first breath so I’ve had boots on the ground here for a long time. You want to talk about carpetbaggers? How about Richard Burr? How about Dan Forest? How about Mark Meadows? How about Tom Tillis? Everyone born outside of North Carolina and you support all of them. I’m proud to be from North Carolina and I’m proud of my record at Guantanamo. Again you can take a look at it and get past the lies that my opponent tells because he has no record so he has to attack mine. I don’t appreciate stolen valor and veterans don’t. I didn’t defend terrorists I defended American values in the rule of law, and i’d do it again tomorrow.

Analysis:

4Fact Check: Davis’ statement was a gross mischaracterization of the sequence of events. American Bar Association indicated that while the legislation broadens tribal criminal jurisdiction, the amendments this year add 2nd amendment prohibition to individuals convicted of stalking and dating violence. The thresholds needed to achieve stalking are so subjective, it alone can be used to deny 2nd amendment rights.
5Fact Check: Davis, again grossly mischaracterizes and exaggerates an attempt at a kiss with an advance classified as sexual assault. The allegation of emotional trauma was brought against him for an incident that happened six years ago. Cawthorn was 19 years of age, and had just recovered from an accident that left him in a wheelchair.
6Expressions using “nigga” or “nigger” when addressing peers is not unique to a specific ethnic population. Phrases like “whats up nigga”, though crude, are urban expressions when greeting peers. Recently, the ultra-woke leftists want to be flippant and offended at anything, while at the same time becoming hypocrites for expressing faux outrage.

Davis has started personal attacks on Madison’s past and his character. Madison delivers a strong counter-strike, bringing into question Davis’ cavalier handling of Omar Khadr. Although a minor, Omar was the son of an Al Queda member, conspiring with Osama Bin Laden, and an unlawful combatant. It was Davis’ job to seek the death penalty. A public defender would have been responsible for his defense.

We’re not certain if Cawthorn made any reference to Davis’ birthplace or hometown, Davis had pulled in external context to draw attention to “carpetbaggers” and conversation regarding Republican House members. Moe gained a small advantage on Cawthorn’s misstep, but Davis’ attempt to conflate that with Cawthorn’s attention to events at Guantanamo Bay, and calling them both lies is a failure.


Question 3 (Ed Lopez):

Our third question the evening will come from Edward Lopez, Director of the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, here at western Carolina University. Thank you. My question as an economist is on your views about public debt. As you go to Washington and consider legislation that would increase spending or offer tax breaks in a way that would add to federal debt, my question is how do you think about where those borrowed dollars come from and what things can’t be done with those dollars because they’re going to items that are in the legislation. Before you, many people think that this is an important issue because of the rapid and historically rising levels of federal debt the congressional budget office the nonpartisan group and many other analysts have warned about the consequences of this. But on the other hand, we’ve had these decades of rising debt and those consequences have not materialized yields are low interest rates are not do not seem to be bothered. There is no fiscal crisis and the thought of a currency crisis seems fanciful, so it’s possible maybe that the level of debt isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s about right if not possibly too low. Is this the view that you will take with you to Washington and what can you say to the people of district 11 about how those federal borrowed dollars where they come from?

Davis:

Thank you, thank you, that’s a great question it’s one that certainly has a big impact on young folks because they’re going to be saddled with the debt that we leave behind. President Trump and my opponent like to brag about the great economy they created. That economy was a sugar high and if you have a great economy you pay the debt down. President Trump passed tax cuts for the rich and for big corporations that had minimal impact on working folks here in this district7, and in doing that they added a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. If you remember, President Trump promised he was going to eliminate the national debt and it was going to be easy when he took office the national debt was 19.9 trillion dollars. Today it’s 26.7 trillion dollars. Much of that was incurred before Covid-198. With those tax cuts that helped you know, the rich, and people like Mr Cawthorn. As i said the Trump economy was great for Madison Avenue and Madison Cawthorn. Wasn’t so great for Madison County where poverty is high and people work for a living. They don’t earn their money off the New York Stock Exchange like my multi-millionaire opponent does. So I believe in being fiscally responsible. I have a master’s degree in government procurement and fiscal policy and I taught the Air Force fiscal law course. I worked with Ike Skelton when he was the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee on Procurement Reform9 and I think our fiscal policy is upside down. It’s driven from the top down not from the bottom up, and we’re forced to spend tens of billions of dollars on things that we don’t want and we don’t need and we can be more prudent in the way we spend our money. I don’t think we have a revenue problem we have a spending problem. My opponent supports a balanced budget amendment I don’t. There are times when it’s appropriate for the government to incur debt and run a deficit. Times like the times we’re in now when people are struggling, or during the great recession, but when times are good we need to pay down the debt I read professor Lopez’s article that he had written on the evolution of federal budget rules and the effects of fiscal policies you wrote and co-authored in 2015 when you talked about how informal budget rules that favor increased spending and deficit has become a policy norm it shouldn’t be that way. You know we spend more money on defense and more money on health care than any country in the world and we can do it better and more effectively.

Cawthorn:

I believe that my opponent must have gone to school at Hogwarts rather than in Hendersonville, because if he believes he can pay down the national debt with his current plan for student loan debt, then he’s living in a magical fantasy-land. My opponent’s plan is that he would like for the government to assume all the student loan debt that is currently out there right now which means on day one my opponent would have the country assume another 1.610 trillion dollars in debt which is money that we just cannot afford to take take under. He wants to do this without charging any interest on the loans that he’s going to charge out, which means it would completely undercut our current loan system and the country would lose out on money. No matter what, I believe that the national debt is the greatest national security risk that we can possibly face. I believe it’s something that needs to be attacked head on, and yes, I do believe that we need to have a balanced budget amendment on the constitution, but I also believe that it needs to have a caveat to where if we are at war time or an emergency time we can borrow more money to go into deficit spending because sometimes that is necessary. I believe that the number one way we can start to pay down our debt is to create a better economy, and I believe the Republican plan is the only way to do that one that. [The plan] just lowers taxes and puts more of your money into your pocket, one that can reduce the welfare state so we’re not having to spend so much money over a 12-year period so we wean people off of welfare. You know I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he said “The best welfare we can possibly give an american is a job.” I believe the best way we can do that is to encourage more investment to allow more jobs to come into the area so we can have a more competitive job market, which would increase wages and give the people who are requiring welfare now a way to make their own money. I believe that it is absolutely imperative that we do not saddle future generations, my generation, my children’s generation, with debt they did not spend but they have to deal with the consequences of. This is an existential threat to our country and we need to fix it.

Davis:

Well two things my opponent hadn’t had is a job and a college education, so he knows nothing about college debt. When he did go to school for a brief period of time at Patrick Henry College, which is a very expensive private college, he went and paid cash. He didn’t have to take out student loans, so he knows nothing about paying student loan debt. He also knows nothing about paying a mortgage. When he went to college, most of us stay in a dorm, Mr Cawthorn bought a house and paid cash for it. Because he’s a multi-millionaire, he doesn’t need a job. He doesn’t have to worry about a mortgage or being saddled with student loan debt that’s holding our economy back. I met a teacher when i was at an event that out in Cherokee County and she said that every month she pays the interest on her student loan debt she can’t afford to pay any of the principal, so I do support – I view education as an investment not an expense, and I do support the department of education buying back those debts from the private lenders at zero percent interest, and with an option to pay it back through public service or military service it’s an investment in our future.

Cawthorn:

Well my opponent wants to attack me for not having a college education when over 60 percent of the nation does not have a college education, and you know James Madison briefly wrote in Federalist Paper No 52 that he they designed the requirements to get into congress to be so low so it’d be the greatest cross-section of what America truly looked like. I’m going to represent the people in my district, many of which, over 60 of which, do not have a college education, and if my opponent wants to attack the fact that I decided to pay cash for many things rather than borrowing money and paying interest, then he must not like Dave Ramsey very much, and I believe in financial stability, and I’m very thankful that I was blessed to be in that position. My opponent’s plan to assume this 1.6 trillion dollars in debt means that the single mom in Western North Carolina has to pay for a Californian to go to USC so they can party for four years, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a four-year education, but I believe that we should start funneling more money into markets like trade skills so we can have a more efficient economy that can make more money. Thank you.

Analysis:

7Fact Check: Washington Times was the only publication to deliver fair shake at what Trump’s tax cuts did for the country. It did help middle America, and in the end, it added $10b annual tax revenue to the balance books. The tax cuts did not help the rich as Davis claims.
8Fact Check: According to Washington Post, the administration was planning on spending $6T in April. The delta Davis is citing is $6.8T, with today’s debt at $26.7T. Davis’ claim is that $0.8T constitutes much of the debt.
9The most frequently cited procurement reform bill by Ike Skelton makes no reference to Morris Davis’ involvement. Morris Davis’ involvement with Ike Skelton was in Guantanamo Bay, cited here. His involvment with gov’t procurement reform is inconclusive.
10Current national student loan debt at the time of this publication are confirmed to be correct.

Cawthorn and Davis fall on party lines when it comes to taxes. Davis unconvincingly insists the tax cuts were for the rich, and people need to be taxed more. Cawthorn touts lowering taxes and a balanced budget with strict control mechanisms is the best path to prosperity.

Davis jumps into personal attacks once again calling Cawthorn uneducated and privileged for not having to pay loans for mortgages, suggesting he has no further insight on the topic being discussed. While his assertion that education is an investment and generally increases earning potential, not all education is equal. Liberal Arts degrees are the worst performers in improving quality of life.


Question 4 (Chris Cooper):

Our next question will come from Chris Cooper and be directed to Mr Cawthorn. Mr Cawthorn, one of congress’s many roles is to serve as a check on executive power do you think the current congress has effectively filled this role? Please give us some examples about how they have or have not effectively checked executive power.

Cawthorn:

I do not believe that our current congress or many of the congresses for the past several decades have been a adequate check on executive power. I genuinely believe that there is a deficit of courage going on inside of Washington DC. That’s why we need to send somebody up to Washington DC who has a backbone. Fortunately mine is reinforced with titanium and so I know that when I go up there I will not back down to the large power that the white house possesses because I believe that we have got to check our executive branch, because if we continue to consolidate power into one branch of government like the what is going on, because I believe both the judicial branch and the executive branch are taking power away from the legislative branch. If we continue to consolidate power like this, then we put ourselves at risk of being very similar to the Roman republic right before it fell. You know right when Caesar crossed the the Rubicon, he was able to move in and take so much power because it turns out that about 10 of the entire population of Rome owned 80% of the land. That’s something that’s unsustainable. We need to be able to put a check on the executive powers in congress and get buy-ins from from congress so that we can check things and I mean this on both the Republican and the Democratic side. I believe President Obama used the executive powers and executive orders far too much, and I also believe that President Trump does as well11. I think we need to have more laws and more decisions especially ones of going to war go through congress before we’re able to make decisions on them, because as I said James Madison said in Federalist Paper No. 52, that congress is supposed to represent America and I believe we’re supposed to have a representative republic. One where every single person, not some mob rule of someone who just voted into a president, someone who can sign an executive order, can go and do whatever they want. I believe we need to have a representative government that represents everyone’s wishes from all across the country. I also believe we’ve got to reign in these judges who are starting to legislate from the bench, and it’s written within the constitution that we can impeach judges who do this, and so I believe that congress needs to stand up and have more courage.

Davis:

It’s laughable that my opponent’s going to go to Washington to stand up to Donald Trump. He’s made it clear that he’s pledged his loyalty to him since the first of the year. I’ve been out of the district for one night when I went to Charlotte for a convention while my opponent, since he’s won the runoff, has been jetting around the country with the Trump kids. He was out in Wyoming with Ivanka and he was down in Texas at the border wall. He’s been up at Washington and many of you saw him at Trump Hotel. It reminded me of when the Beatles landed in New York. He was so giddy with excitement to see Trump and to get to touch Mr Giuliani. You need someone to go to Washington [who] is going to fight, not falling over the administration. The constitution set up three co-equal branches of government. A good friend of mine Dr Lou Fisher, has written extensively about separation of powers, and how congress has advocated in their duty to be a check and balance on the executive. We should work with the president in congress whether it’s Donald Trump or anyone else. Work with him when you can, to hold him accountable when he needs to be held accountable, and it doesn’t – it’s not just the Trump administration, it goes back in my opinion to 911 when we got scared and congress surrendered their duty to be a check and balance to the executive, and has continued through the Bush administration, the Obama administration, is certainly accelerated under the Trump administration, where no rules apply11. I think the first order of business when I get to congress is going to be to fight to bring ethics and integrity and accountability back to capitol hill. We’ve got to hold the chief executive accountable. Nobody is above the law. This president thinks he is, and my opponent has pledged his loyalty to him, said he’s going to go up there and help him win. The only oath i’ve taken is to the constitution, and the only pledge I make is to go to Washington and fight for you.

Cawthorn:

I believe my opponent has forgotten that I was not endorsed by anyone from Washington DC. I had no help from any major pacts. I’m not beholden to anyone. The only person that I am beholden to are the people of Western North Carolina who I plan to go up and fight for. My opponent wants to say that I fawned over Mr Giuliani while he fawned over Omar Khadr, who killed Christopher Speer. Sir we wanted you to go and prosecute on behalf of Christopher’s fear and fight for him the American people. I believe that we need a happy warrior in Washington DC. One who is going to move us towards the future rather than focusing on on internal struggles within parties or what what have you. I believe it is time that we have a Republican party and we dispense with these petty personal attacks that liberal lawyers always want to use, and we start focusing on true policy on moving our country forward and making sure that we have a country we can be proud of to pass off to the next generation. That is the entire reason why i’m running for congress. It’s because i have hope for a brighter future and I’m willing to fight for it

Davis:

Well again I stand on my record and what i did at Guantanamo. It’s out there for you to read and review and I encourage you to do it. I was awarded the legion of merit after that, so I stand on what I did. You talk about me and the folks at Guantanamo. You saw today on Fox News where Osama Bin Laden’s niece has endorsed Donald Trump, so I guess are you going to denounce Donald Trump and you still haven’t denounced him for calling veterans losers and suckers. Are you not going to stand up for veterans?

Analysis:

11Executive Orders are only one of the mechanisms used to circumvent Congress to legislate policy from the executive branch. It is also noted that Trump enjoys the “pomp and circumstance” around executive orders, which is why he favors them over memorandums or proclamations.

Use of executive tools available to the administration such as Executive Orders, Memorandums, and Proclamations are not unlawful as Davis and other Democrat pundits have suggested. Davis diverts off topic and asserts Cawthorn will pander to the administration. Cawthorn reminds the audience that he was not the endorsed candidate and is not accountable to anyone except NC-11. After Cawthorn insists on unity, Davis falls back on his “laurels” earned at Guantanamo Bay, and demands Cawthorn to denounce Trump over a false narrative.


Question 5 (Richard Sneed):

This question will come from chief Richard G Snead and be directed to Mr Davis. Mr Davis, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there’s an under-representation of minorities in government including elected appointed and staff positions. This is a critical issue that has shown to lead to a lack of awareness understanding and compassion. How do you plan to address the lack of representation by minorities in government, and additionally how do you plan to work with minority populations to ensure their issues are being addressed by government?

Davis:

Yeah I wholeheartedly agree that there is under representation. There are too many people that look like me and Mr Cawthorn that will the power in this country you know. He has the Betsy Ross flag, the reminiscent of the good old days when white men ruled the country. It’s unfortunate I know with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, it wasn’t until 1946 that you were allowed to register to vote and that Jackson County split off Swain County back in the late 1800s to dilute the effect, and that’s just wrong in America as I said I’ve got a record that I’m proud of of having stood up and fought. I spent seven years in historically black colleges and universities. I was a student at North Carolina Central University Law School. I was on the faculty at Howard University Law School. That’s not to say I ever walked in those shoes, but I walked with the people that were in those shoes. I believe everybody should be treated equally and fairly and I’ve made it a point to the folks working on my campaign that are looking at staffing positions to make sure that we have a group that’s representative, both demographically and geographically when I go to Washington to represent here in the district, and up in Washington, because it needs to be representative of the people here in this district. Again I don’t use the n-word as a greeting for my friends there is no proper use for that, and I’ve got a record you can look one of the last decisions I wrote as a judge at the department of labor, there’s a case called Department of Labor vs Enterprise Rental Car of Baltimore. It’s the largest racial discrimination verdict in Department of Labor history. It was a case where Enterprise Rental Car hiring practices and picking folks for their management training program both the government and the company experts agree that the probability of that pattern hiring pattern being by chance that you had a 1 million times greater chance of buying a single lottery ticket in winning the lottery so I’ve stood up for equality in treating people fairly.

Cawthorn:

You know going through my accident that I had six years ago that’s left me in a wheelchair, it taught me many things, and obviously going through such a hard time it taught me perseverance and grit. Characteristics I want to use when i go to Washington DC to fight for the people of Western North Carolina, but it also taught me empathy. Before my accident I stood at six foot three, and yeah I had a presence when I walked through a crowd people noticed me but then after I got hurt I felt invisible. I went to a professional baseball game as my very first outing after after my accident and I felt invisible I felt left behind and disenfranchised and so I know what it’s like to be someone who feels as if the system has left us behind who feels as if we’re not representative in our government and at many many places, and so it’s taught me empathy. Empathy to want to put myself in somebody else’s shoes before I try and make a decision on their behalf as someone who is hurt and put into a wheelchair. I am now part of what a lot of people like to call a minority group but I don’t think it is of disabled people but I will tell you it taught me a significant amount of empathy and as my liberal lawyer friend goes again and does another personal attack I want to talk about something that actually matters. I believe that we were all created in the image of God that as such we should be treated with honor and dignity, and respect no matter of your race of your religion of your creed of your gender I want to be a representative for all people across Western North Carolina, and on the national stage in DC. I believe that we need to dispense with these personal attacks and all the visceral hatred that we see going on. I believe that we need to embrace one another as brothers and sisters to love one another to be a country that wants to move forward so gladly that we’re willing to look aside from our differences and be willing to work with one another so that minority communities can be represented so that we can have a country again like I said that we can pass off to the next generation that is better than the one that we have received, because that is our greatest calling.

Davis:

Well tonight Mr Cawthorn said he used to stand six foot three. If you look at his deposition when he testified under oath, subject to penalty of perjury, he said he was six foot maybe six foot one. Every time Mr Cawthorn tells a story he’s bigger in that story, but they’re not truthful stories he couldn’t have been six foot then, six foot three now, but you’d make yourself bigger in every story that you tell. Look at your actions, look at his actions using the n-word to talk to a friend. Sexual abuse against women, and these were women Christian conservative women that were reported in a Christian conservative magazine that he tried to blame on Nancy Pelosi and said she was giving me orders, and I’ve never met Ms Pelosi. I’m sure she’s a fine woman but i don’t take orders from her. I’m going to Washington to represent you and to make sure you’re treated fairly and with respect and equality.

Cawthorn:

I will tell you what a silly attack. To attack someone on saying that “Oh maybe I’ve grown an inch or two.” Well sir, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but normally the average male doesn’t stop growing until they’re 21 years old, so I have gained probably an inch or two since the time of my accident, but if that’s what you want to focus on how many inches I’ve grown or haven’t grown, then you can be happy to do that. It seems to be a common trait among liberals to just focus on things that don’t matter. Nancy Pelosi has created lock-down orders that have crippled our entire economy yet she thinks it’s important enough for her to go out and get a Brazilian Blowout for her hair so that it can look sleek and shiny. Do you know how many salons have had to shut down because of liberal policies? To shut our country down, it’s despicable. To attack me about not being the right height, this is something that’s just silly and needs to be put to the side, and on these accusations of sexual assault, again as I said, of course as a young man I tried to kiss a few women and it didn’t go the right way. Sometimes my advances failed, but a failed advance is a very long shot away from sexual assault, and so I’m asking my opponent let’s start talking about policy. If you want to focus on how tall I am that’s your prerogative, I’m going to be focused on the future sir.

Analysis:

Davis provides some historical information on Swain and Jackson Counties without any further context, however gains an advantage in his role in Dept of Labor vs Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Asheville Alliance is awaiting response from DOL to confirm Davis’ involvment with this case.

Cawthorn shares a personal account of his experience in public after his accident. He has a unique ability to compare and contrast his experiences with discrimination before and after his disability. However, his disabilities should not be conflated with ethnic and racial differences, based on appearance, that Richard Sneed calls attention to. Cawthorn’s message to bring people together, and his reference to scripture brings him favor.

Davis loses focus on the question being asked, and continues on his personal attacks against Madison Cawthorn. This is where Davis’ endorsements of liberal policies should shine because they claim to be the champions of racial reform, but he has no more substantive arguments for his audience.

Cawthorn gives a snarky reply, imploring Davis to stay on task.


Question 6 (Ed Lopez):

My question is about your views on tariffs and the trade war that has been going on in recent years. Because this affects people here in Western North Carolina, maybe more than is given credit for basic economics and most economists say that free trade is mostly good and restrictions on free trade such as tariffs and bans are mostly bad. They’re mostly bad because they tend to raise costs to local businesses making them less profitable and less competitive internationally. They’re also bad because they raise costs of living and reduce variety to families living in our district. But a lot of people seem to support the use of tariffs and threats of tariffs as as tough negotiating instruments in the way that they have been in recent years. What is your view on trade? Do the economists have it right, or is it better to use tariffs and trade wars in the way that they’ve been used in recent years?

Cawthorn:

I grew up in a household that had a financial advisor as my father. My mother was a stock broker, and now my older brother is a financial advisor and so as you can imagine, I’m someone who embraces the free market here locally and because of that I always thought that I supported free trade internationally, but that was until I started to realize that free trade isn’t necessarily fair trade. When we’re not all playing from the same footing, if you look at communist China, you see that they get to utilize slave labor or close to slave labor to be able to undercut the prices of American goods. I think it’s despicable that we as a country are okay with buying products that are used and created off of human suffering. I believe we need to bring those jobs back and Mr Lopez, you’re absolutely right when you say that this these tariffs affect Western North Carolina. Increasingly so, as you saw when NAFTA was passed. We lost almost all of our manufacturing jobs. There’s over 500,000 sq ft of empty warehouse space for manufacturing jobs here in Western North Carolina, and I say that now that we have the USMCA passed, I would be willing to use tariffs because there are countries that are actually violating human rights to make a profit and I’m not going to put people over profit, so I believe we should put tariffs on them and bring those jobs back here and give them to Americans who need those jobs. So many of the jobs that we have in Western North Carolina are seasonally based based completely around the tourist seasons. I think that to be able to move forward and make a plan for your family and your financial future, you need to have a job where you can hold it all year long and so i do support using tariffs to bring jobs back to the United States of America. It might be a little bit painful at first but I think it’s the good thing to do in the long run. We need more jobs in America. As Elon Musk says: “If you want to become a millionaire or be successful, this is the greatest country in the world to do so.” Let’s bring those jobs back.

Davis:

Yeah I believe in free trade and I’m a supporter. I think folks here I know it’s easy. My opponent likes to talk about China and he singled them out I’m wearing a tie tonight somebody gave me as a gift you can see here it says made in China by Donald Trump. You know the Trump kids have gotten patents from China while they’ve been in office? You know back usually the Hatch Act mattered and it’s going to matter again when I get to Washington because we’re going to restore ethics and accountability in government but free trade helps us all folks here. I know we talk about China, but the same folks that talk about them love to go to Walmart and get that big screen television for $399. If it was made here in America they couldn’t do that. Trade goes where it can be produced cheaply and at the lowest cost which is good for consumers. President Trump told a lie when he said that China and other countries were going to pay for the tariffs. They didn’t pay for them. We did12. When you went and bought those goods that increase was passed on to you and you’ve seen what it’s done to our farmers, you know we like to talk about. My opponent likes to talk about socialism, but farming has essentially become that. We’ve had to bail out time and time again, our farmers, because of the trade war that this president started so I support free trade I want to bring good jobs to Western North Carolina, but I believe in green technology is the path forward. My opponent keeps bringing up the Green New Deal and things that I’ve said at its settings and I have said I do like the Green New Deal but I’ve also refused to commit to endorsing to supporting it, and I’ve lost endorsements from progressive groups because I won’t make an absolute commitment to every component of the green new deal, or to ban assault weapons or other issues where I refuse to say something I don’t believe and I’ve lost endorsements because of that, but I tell you the truth and I stand behind my word and I want to go to Washington and represent you.

Cawthorn:

Just to clarify the record, on your website from April 27th, 2020, I’ll read you a quick quote “That’s why I fully support the Green New Deal.” Last time you threw my paper back at me so I’ll keep it over here. Now my opponent wants to sit here and talk about where he got his tie from or talk about how many inches tall I am. I think this is a time we need to start focusing on the future. Our economic path to solvency is at risk. My opponent supports things like the Green New Deal and other Democratic policies like we see in Portland that are being tried out in Asheville right now. You know when I grew up in this area, I was happy to go to downtown Asheville. It was a great place to be, but now I don’t even want to take my fiance to a date down there. You see used needles on the sides of streets, or our feces in the middle of the road. That’s what Democrat policies do. Another democrat policy that my opponent supports is that he wants to punish employers who hire legal immigrants. That means that he wants to punish our farmers here in Western North Carolina for the failings of the federal government at the southern border. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. They cannot punish people who are employing our good people here in Western North Carolina simply because the federal government failed to do their job.

Davis:

What I have said is we, I, again I have a record and when I was a judge at the department of labor I handled H1b and H1a and we had H2a and H2b visas which included agricultural visas so that our farmers can bring foreign workers to this country for those seasonal requirements where they can’t find American workers. One of the requirements to do that is they have to advertise and try to recruit American workers and only when they can’t do that can they get the visa to bring in foreign workers and I’ve had experience in adjudicating those cases and I support them, but we crack down on the powerless, those immigrants that come across the border trying to earn a living for their family and people that hire them like Donald Trump who has hired dozens and dozens of undocumented workers, he didn’t get punished. They did, and so what I support is cracking down on employers. I support a robust check where employers can check the status of the workers they’re hiring. If they do that, and in good faith rely on it they shouldn’t be punished. But if they’re hiring undocumented workers to exploit them and pay them low wages, and the employers ought to be held accountable.

Analysis:

12The tarriffs threatened and rescinded are listed here. Most of the media outlets, including financial media outlets are heavily left leaning, so balanced reporting on Chinese tariffs are very few. However, some outlets note that China is faring worse in the trade war with these tariffs.

Cawthorn and Davis’s responses fall on party lines. Cawthorn praises the removal of NAFTA and the implementation of USMCA. Use tariffs to bring jobs back from China, fill the vacant manufacturing warehouses in WNC. Davis touts free trade as the winning strategy, allowing people to bring home TV sets built by Chinese companies that have little regard for working conditions and fair pay. The Green New Deal is considered detrimental to the economy by moderate Democrats and all Republicans. Cawthorn cites evidence that Davis fully endorses the Green New Deal, further questioning his honesty.


Question 7 (WCU Political Science student):

Our first student question comes from Patrick Clemens, a political science and communications major from McAdenville, North Carolina. What will you do for college students and how do you plan to assist them with the burden of paying off their student loans especially in the middle of a global pandemic?

Davis:

Well it’s McAdenville, which is a beautiful city down between Charlotte and Gastonia as I’ve we’ve talked about before I view education is an investment in our future and student loan debt are holding people back a lot a lot of young folks are deferring getting married and buying houses they’re not able to go into the careers they’re passionate about. When i was a professor at Howard university i was able to steer many of my students into the military into the jag corps there were others that were interested in military service or some form of public service but because of the staggering student loan debt that was hanging over their head they had to take the job that paid the most money i’ve met people here in the same predicament where because of the benefits or because of the pay they had to stay in a job that they weren’t passionate about or they deferred becoming an entrepreneur because of the student loan debts hanging over their head most folks aren’t multi-millionaires like my opponent who can pay for college and buy a house to live in while he’s there most folks have to take out loans and pay them back the interest rate varies from semester to semester and it’s holding back our young folks so that’s why I support the department of education buying up that 1.6 trillion dollars in debt and making it a government debt that have zero interest. I think that’s a fair compromise. Some have proposed eliminating student debt and I think that’s a slap in the face to those that worked hard to make sure they didn’t have student loan debt but i think it’s fair and i think also with an option to pay it back through some form of military service or public service. I think that’s a win-win. Again I think education is an investment. Studies show the more education you have the higher your earnings so you pay more in taxes and you spend more in your community so i’m a big believer in public education. Unlike my opponent, who says that colleges are liberal indoctrination centers, I’m proud to be supported by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Cawthorn:

Again this is just another clear image of what it’s like to be a liberal lawyer. You know in the very beginning we were answering a question from Mr Lopez, you said that you do not want to continue adding to our debt that you wanted to pay it down. But on day one of your educational plan for student loans you would instantly add another 1.6 trillion dollars to our debt which people would not pay interest on and most would probably default upon, and this is just another picture sir of when you say that you don’t support the Green New Deal, but then I have evidence of you doing so of when you say that you have one plan for gun control but you can’t actually say it out loud because then the people Western North Carolina won’t elect you13. You said the exact same about health care because you want to get rid of the private option, but you cannot say that out loud because then people won’t elect you13. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to elect someone who is going to represent our true values. You know my opponent is from Shelby, North Carolina, in another congressional district. He hasn’t been from these mountains. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be born and raised here. I’ll tell you I believe these liberal policies are starting to stifle the job market which is making it so hard for people like the young man who asked the question earlier of how they’re going to get a job after college, and they’re facing this extremely high debt and without a good job market they’re facing a reality where they may have to be eternal renters and if you’re renting you buy necessity. As Dave Ramsey would say, you cannot build wealth and so my plan is to create a better market with less taxes and less regulation so that the job market can explode here in western North Carolina. Again so you can find a job directly after college – you do not have to be stressed about how you’re going to pay down these student loans. I do believe it’s imperative that we make the cost of college tuition cheaper though. That is something that absolutely has to be accomplished because right now it’s unattainable for the vast majority of Americans. And one reason is because the job market is so poor and that is because of democratic policies which i will fight to reverse.

Davis:

Well again, most folks in this district if I, again if I’m not representative of you, if a 25 year old with a 30 million dollar settlement who’s never worked who doesn’t manage his own money, when he was asked about securities which he owns millions of dollars of he said “What’s that?” and now he wants to go to congress and have the authority to pass laws regulating the securities and exchange commission? He doesn’t even know what it is my opponent said, that there are almost 400 members in the house and after the census we could have over no. There are 435 members in the house and there have been since 1927. When the apportionment act went into law the only thing the census does is reallocate those 435 seats, so it’s a question whether you want someone with experience who knows what it’s like to have debt and a mortgage and have to pay back loans and to have been unemployed not be able to get health care or a young man who’s a multi-millionaire and has never had to be responsible.

Cawthorn:

So again my opponent wants to attack me for being a couple inches off on how tall I was. He wants to attack me because I said there’s almost 400 members when there are 435 members exactly of the house of congress. My opponent wants to make quotes that was to quote me when I was 18 years old. Sir did you know anything about securities when you were 18 years old? I’ll tell you my opponent wants to continue with this lie that I’ve never held a job, yet after I got out of high school after I recovered from my accident I got to work full-time for Congressman Meadows, and then after that I got to start my own real estate investment firm and I got to do that very recently so I know what it’s like to be a struggling entrepreneur inside of a economy that is not working for you. The taxes are far too high here in North Carolina and we need to lower them completely nationally. Again you can vote for my opponent who wants to focus on what I said when I was 18. He wants to focus on semantics of saying almost 400 instead of the exact number of 435, and he wants to focus on how tall I am. Is this who you want representing you? Someone from out of district who doesn’t even care about policy, only personal attacks? It’s another liberal lawyer for you.

Analysis:

13See Campaign site for Moe Davis

Davis’ strategy to have public / military service to offset educational costs has already been implemented as the GI Bill and is not new. Amendments of this bill can cover reimbursements for other areas of study. The proposal does deserve some attention as it requires buy-in and “skin in the game” from those requesting the assistance.

However, liberal leaning policies don’t account for unknown variables very well. Summarily dismissing all student debt by the Green New Deal will lead to misuse and abuse like we’ve seen in other government assistance programs. Providing the tax relief so individuals can pay off educational loans prevents possible misuse of gov’t assisted payoffs. It also preempts the loanees to evaluate their career choices based on needs vs wants.

Davis, again, loses his focus and settles on personal attacks.


Question 8 (WCU Political Science Student):

This our second student generated question this one will go to Mr Cawthorn and it was submitted by Hayden Hedberg, a political science major
from Greensboro North Carolina:
One of the most unique aspects of our congressional district is our wonderful public lands even though they are managed by multiple agencies they all share the goal of preserving the natural cultural and historic foundations of the places we call home. How would both of you go about protecting the federal lands in Western North Carolina while in Washington?

Cawthorn:

You know what Hayden, growing up here in Western North Carolina or going to school here I’m sure you know exactly what it’s like to take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to park off at Walnut Cove and look over what’s what is the one of the most beautiful valleys you can possibly see. Our mountains, our national forest, and our public lands are what makes this area so unique. It gives places people places to go on hikes or to ride their bikes. But you know what way we can support these best is to not make these public lands and these federal lands be burdens to the counties that they exist in. That’s why I really would like to get onto a committee in congress they will have a direct impact on the level of PILT14 money we receive. PILT is for payment in lieu of taxes that counties receive from all of these federal lands where they’re not getting to actually tax those lands, which creates more financial burdens inside of those counties, and we know that when places have financial burdens or tend to be less clean for the environment and so that’s something that I would like to have happen where we can bring more PILT money back into Western North Carolina so we can pay for these public lands that make our area so unique and so beautiful. It’s one of the things i love most about Western North Carolina and I’m glad that you appreciate it too

Davis:

Yeah i’d like to be on the national resource committee because they’re responsible for our national parks, international forest which are so important to our economy. Here in Western North Carolina it’s the lifeblood of our economy. It’s what brings people here. You know we have the most visited national park in the country in the great smoky mountain national park, but the Trump Administration every year has cut funding for our national parks. International forest. The budget this year is 3.5 billion dollars which is a decrease of 15 percent from fiscal year 2020. Now one thing congress did that I’m really proud of and it was on a bipartisan basis in both the house and the senate was to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. There’s a huge backlog of deferred maintenance and repair in our national parks, international forest and one of the things this recently enacted bill that President Trump signed, it’ll add 1.9 billion dollars to the budget for the next five years to help make up for that deferred maintenance that’s been put off for too long. That’s good for our national parks international forest, so again I want to get on the committee to where I can help here in North Carolina to take care of this beautiful area that we live in that bring in so many people and bring in revenue and that we depend on.

Now again to this issue about Mr Cawthorn’s record. He said you know when he was 17 or 18 years old he said these things his deposition was in October of 2017. That was less than three years ago. He’s 25 years old so he may not be able to do the math but you can and that deposition’s out there you can look at it you can see what he said about his height you can see what he said. Remember last night when he said that he’d been accepted at Harvard to this online program. In his deposition on page 32 it said “Did you apply and were you accepted at Harvard?” answer quote “I was not. It was just future plans” Integrity matters it matters at the naval academy and it matters on capitol hill and I’m proud of my integrity.

Cawthorn:

My opponent wants to sit here and just launch more and more personal attacks my friends this is just another liberal lawyer and this is what we have in washington dc over 60 percent of the people who make up our congress are lawyers and i’ll tell you if that’s what we needed to fix our economy to fix our country to fix racial tensions they would have been fixed long ago we need to send an outsider to congress someone who’s going to fight to make our country as great as we believe it is to make our imperfect union more perfect we’re trying to sit here and talk about parks where my opponent says 1.9 billion dollars when it was actually 9.5 he wants to tout his record but again he has a record of dying on the hill for convicted terrorists. He, his entire protection of Kadir was used to try and make the sentencing on Kalid Sheikh Muhammad, the man who planned the attacks on 9/11, to make his sentencing go away so he didn’t have to answer for his crimes against America. Sir you can tout your record and you can attack me on how tall I am or how old I was, but sir, let’s just focus on the future. You continue to talk about the past we need to move forward as a country.

Davis:

We’re still waiting for you to renounce President Trump for calling veterans like me and the veterans I met with this morning, and those that are buried in Arlington cemetery for calling them losers and suckers. You haven’t done that yet you pledge your loyalty to Donald Trump. If you think he’s going to go to Washington and stand up to the administration, watch the video from Trump Hotel. In the giddiness, he explained experience being in front of Trump and Giuliani and Mark Meadows. You need somebody with experience that’s got a record of having been there and done that. I fought the Bush administration and I fought the Obama administration. If you want somebody that’s independent and somebody that’ll fight Democrat or Republican to do the right thing, I’ve got a record of having done it, and if it’s you know he keeps throwing up this liberal lawyer thing, they’re called facts, or what I’m citing you can go to his deposition and look at them citing facts. You may not want to stand up to them. You may want to try to deflect them as you have everything else, but those are the facts.

Analysis:

14More information on PILT can be found here.

Cawthorn gets a great start referencing his knowledge of PILT funds. Davis runs out of steam after criticizing the current administration for reducing funding for national parks. He does not acknowledge that Trump signed the additional funding for the maintenance backlog. Davis, again, like in the previous question devolves into attacking Cawthorn. Cawthorn responds in kind, calling attention to Davis’ record in Guantanamo Bay. Both Cawthorn and Davis lose focus of the question.


Question 9 (WCU Political Science Student):

Final Question of the evening is also a student question. It’s a combination of two questions: One by Madeleine King, a political science major from Kraus, North Carolina, and one by Hunter Willis, a history major from Leland, North Carolina. The first ballots were mailed out in North Carolina yesterday. What is your stance on mail-in voting? Is it safe? Where do you stand on recent debates over proper United States Postal Service funding?

Davis:

You know two things that I think the Republican Party fears most are demographics and democracy. You’ve certainly seen that here in North Carolina where they do things like gerrymander by splitting Asheville down the middle to dilute the democratic vote. You saw what happened in North Carolina’s ninth congressional district where there really was voter fraud committed by the Republicans. I believe in democracy, I think everyone ought to have the right to vote and it shouldn’t be a burden to have to do it. I believe in mail-in ballots if you’ve served in the military like I have you probably have voted by mail and your vote counted. President Trump votes by mail as do many other members of his administration. It’s good for him but it’s not good for you so I support democracy I think everybody districts ought to be configured fairly you know we have a census coming up there will not be over 500 members in the house. There will be 435 but those numbers will be reallocated. North Carolina is going to pick up at least one more seat and perhaps two if we get a good count. Unfortunately here in Western North Carolina, we haven’t been good in responding to the census so I encourage you to do that we need a good count because for the next decade that’s going to determine allocation of resources and also our representation in the house when those lines are drawn next year they need to be drawn fairly not to favor Democrats or Republicans because this is a democracy and people ought to get to make the decision. So I support making voting easy. I believe in trusting the people let them make a decision. Make an informed decision, have a fair election and let the chips fall where they may and we support it. We’ve got a president now who continues to say that he may or may not support the outcome of the election15 so I believe in democracy as I said I think the Republicans are afraid of it and they run from it and they try to throw up obstacles to make it as difficult as possible because they don’t trust you.

Cawthorn:

Sir you want me to denounce President Trump. I want you to denounce Muhammadu Slahi. I want you to denounce Omar Khadr, and I want you to denounce Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I do not believe the president ever said that veterans are losers and suckers. I’ll tell you I saw the president meet my father. He was overjoyed to know that there was a devil dog in the room and I’ll tell you that you actually did ask a very good question Madeline. When it comes to mail-in ballots16, what the Democrats were proposing very early on in the Corona Virus earliest days was to send ballots out to every single household regardless of if they requested them or not. Now I believe that because there are so many people who don’t really pay attention to politics this could have led to voter fraud. But what we have going out yesterday is actually absentee ballots and it’s something that I wholeheartedly endorse. I actually won the absentee ballot vote in both of the primaries I was recently in. I think absentee ballots are very safe. You have to go about a very clear and structured process to request them and verify who you are. It’s very hard to manipulate an absentee ballot, and so I do support that especially for people like my grandparents who have pre-existing conditions and are very elderly people who are afraid to go to the polls. I actually sent them the request form like I sent many of my supporters who were afraid to go to the polls so they can request these absentee ballots so they can be safe and make sure that their lives are protected. Now this is something that I think is very critical because I believe the Democrats are trying to paint this false binary choice and it’s these liberal lawyer democrats in Washington who say well it’s either people or prophets, or it’s either protecting American lives or wanting to win an election, but I trust the people of Western North Carolina and the people of America to make informed decisions and make their own risk assessment to determine what they need to do. If you want to vote in person because you think the safest way to do it, then go ahead make sure to take the precautions that you need, or if you have pre-existing conditions or and are elderly in a position where you could be very hurt by the Corona Virus, I suggest requesting a mail-in absentee ballot. It’s something that I believe is good for America.

Davis:

Well I certainly agree that I encourage everyone to vote whether it’s in person or by mail and North Carolina does make it relatively easy to vote with early voting and with no excuse absentee ballots, and so please I encourage everyone to get out and vote. Throughout my life I’ve heard over and over this is the most important election ever and this year it really is so it’s imperative that you get out and vote. Again, it’s disgusting that someone who cited for stolen valor continues to attack my military record with lies, it’s out there you can look at it. I don’t coddle terrorists. I haven’t lost a minute of sleep over Khalid Sheikh Muhammad but I believe in the rule of law. We don’t take people out and shoot. We’re proud of Nuremberg. We’re at the end of World War II Robert Jackson stepped down from the U.S. Supreme Court and went to Nuremberg and held fair trials and people were convicted and executed but others were acquitted that’s who we are as Americans. This is nonsense – so you know they’re all the enemy – we take them out and shoot them. We believe in giving people a trial first before we impose punishment, so I’m proud of that and I’m proud of my record and I’m proud of those folks that the president calls losers and suckers.

Cawthorn:

Sir, when you want to talk about that you’re proud of what you did at Guantanamo Bay, you’re no Robert Jackson. You weren’t a defense attorney you were the star witness. Someone who volunteered your time to go there. The bottom line is when you were in a position to make a difference and defend our nation you decided to stand shoulder to shoulder with suicide bombers and turn your back on servicemen, and I’ll tell you this accusation that I have some form of stolen valor is something that I completely and categorically deny. I have no idea where you’re getting this insinuation from. It’s something that I would be disgusted by and I promise you the marines in my family (I come from a very long line of marines) would wear me out if I was trying to act like I had served our nation when I hadn’t. Now getting back to mail and voting, I like your question that you asked Madeline. I do plan to be able to make it as easy as possible for my supporters and any voters across our district to be able to get a ballot so you can make sure you can vote even if you are afraid, and rightly so, of the Corona Virus. That’s something I think is very important we should all encourage.

Analysis

15Fact Check: Clinton advised Joe Biden not to concede the election here.
16Fact Check: Mail-in voting fraud confirmed here.
Davis goes off topic discussing gerrymandering. He makes vague reference to Trump not wanting mail-in ballots. It seems Davis is fatigued. After preempting Davis’ personal attacks, Cawthorn identifies Davis’ statement falsely conflating Republicans position on mail in voting vs absentee ballots. The apprehension of mail in voting is validated.


Moe Davis Closing Statement:

Well thank you and thank you again to our host for having us for a second night and I hope it’s been informative for voters to see the contrast. Experience matters and that’s what you’re left with here. A choice between experience and someone who’s never had to accept responsibility a day in his life.

I’m proud of my record my opponent can lie about it all he wants it’s out there it’s public and you’re welcome to take a look at it. You can see the folks that have endorsed me. You can see the awards that I’ve won for my service and I’m proud of that service. I’m also proud of having been a judge having been a law professor having worked for congress and I want to go back and work for you because Western North Carolina is behind and we’re behind because of Republican policies, not Democrat policies.

This district was represented supposedly by Mark Meadows, although if you look at his record over the last three years, remember during the Obama administration when he yelled about debt and deficit and then President Trump got to office and the deficit and the debt went up to reward people that are rich like Mr Cawthorn who wants to lower the capital gains tax that benefit people like him and Donald Trump, not working people like the folks here in Western North Carolina.

We can’t continue on this path that we’re on, but we’re not going to have a democracy left. I’ve spent too many years defending democracy to watch it go down the drain and that’s why I got into this race. Because we’ve got to get back on the right track and we’re not on it now we’re divided, we’re weak, our economy’s suffering, and people in this district are suffering. So I want to go and I want to fight for our national parks, and our national forests, for our veterans, who I’m proud to stand with, for broadband, for education, and for good jobs. I’m proud to be a North Carolinian. I’m proud to be a veteran. I stand on my record and I’m proud of my integrity and I’ll fight for it and I’ll fight for you.

Cawthorn closing statement:

Tonight and throughout this campaign you’ve heard my opponent call me a sycophant, uneducated, vile, and weak when all I’ve ever called him throughout this entire campaign is Moe Davis. You know I think it’s time that we dispense with these partisan politics that are starting to dominate the
political sphere in our country and let’s all come together as Americans.
Let’s focus on what unites us instead of what divides us. We can have a brighter tomorrow one that we all believe in one that we are all proud to be a part of but the only way we can do that is if we work together. I’ll tell you we
are from Western North Carolina. We are mountain people; we’re rugged, we’re individualistic, we are able to push through any kind of
adversity that we face, including this Covid-19 and the economic struggles that it has it caused all of us.

I believe that if we get the government out of our lives if we get these regulations away from us, if we lower the taxes keep more of your money in your pocket and allow you to determine what you do with your life, then our area in Western North Carolina will explode with prosperity. I tell you this is one of the most visited places in our entire country and the reason that is one because of our beautiful scenic mountains, and I am a Republican who says i am not afraid to be an environmentalist. I would like to protect our natural beauty of our natural lands and of these mountains.

But people also come here for another reason and it’s for the atmosphere.
It’s for the kind smiles you get from people when you roll by them or when I
roll by them in a hallway. It’s from the sweet handshakes you get from people when they say thank you for holding the door from them. We here in Western North Carolina with our values should try and expand this we’re currently dealing with Covid-19 which is extremely contagious, but I hope that our values in Western North Carolina become contagious because I think in America that represents these mountains that acts like we do here in Western North Carolina is an America I could be proud to be a part of. I already am a proud American. I’m proud of our heritage, I’m proud of our history, but I’m more proud of our future because I know when we boldly step forward when we:

  • lower the tax rates on working families and on everyone all across the sphere
  • make congress work for us again by putting term limits on congress
  • dispense with these partisan politics and this name calling and the the the personal attacks
  • hold politicians to start focusing on policy

I believe our country will be greater than it ever has been. I believe that we can lead the world in clean energy and energy independence and human rights and making sure that freedom is spread across the entire globe instead of tyranny. I believe in the American dream. I believe I represent the American dream. Someone who has faced great adversity has overcome it with a smile and with hope for the future. That’s what we need right now. America is currently on its knees. Let’s let Western North Carolina lead it back to its feet.

Analysis

Davis touts his experience as he has throughout the debate. After telling the audience that he is proud of himself, he uses the time to criticize his opponents. He finishes with a bullet list of topics: national parks, veterans, education, broadband, better jobs. Davis declined an opportunity to discuss his platform if it did not already align with the questions being asked.

Cawthorn calls attention to his opponents personal attacks, and then focuses on the need for unity in government to bring people forward. He discusses the motive behind lowering taxes, provides a brief list of his platform goals and finishes with an optimistic attitude towards the future.

Personal NotesMadison Cawthorn brought a lot of positive energy to the debate. Being hosted by WCU, it was expected that the questions would be focused on liberal topics that Davis should have been prepared to answer. In spite of the circumstances, Cawthorn delivered, stayed on topic, and delivered his address with optimism.

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