In an era of partisan war, the GOP is still trying to push its narrative of Donald Trump’s presidency as a good one.
But the party’s efforts to use Trump’s image and image of the GOP as a whole as the cause of the country’s woes are failing.
On Tuesday, a Republican lawmaker in North Carolina sent an antiwar cartoon to the state legislature, and a week later, a Facebook page devoted to the cartoon was created.
Both the site and the Republican statehouse member are active and seem to be in good standing.
The website for the page shows a picture of the statehouse speaker and the caption, “We must end the Republican propaganda machine and the Democratic lie about the president.”
“This is just another way the GOP tries to make themselves seem better than the other side,” the site reads.
“If you want to keep the party from winning the next election, you have to stop the anti-Republican propaganda and stop this propaganda machine.”
But for the most part, the state’s Republican lawmakers are doing just the opposite.
A week after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill that would allow North Carolina to ban the Confederate flag, a lawmaker in the state wrote on Facebook that “we have the right to decide who represents our state and what we want to do with it.”
A week later in North Charleston, a bill requiring all state and local governments to display Confederate symbols was introduced.
A bill that banned Confederate statues in public schools was introduced, and legislation to remove Confederate monuments in state government buildings was introduced in Raleigh.
These bills are nothing new, and neither are the pro-Trump images that were sent to the legislature.
But they are all the more notable because of the political messaging being pushed.
The pro-Republican cartoon, for example, shows a smiling woman and a man with a Confederate flag on the back of his head.
A similar picture with a man in a white shirt and a Confederate battle flag on top is seen next to it.
“It’s the Confederate battle flags that have led to a lot of violence and hate across the country,” the caption reads.
That message seems to be getting through, with both the statehouses bills being introduced in the past week.
One of the bills, House Bill 1362, would ban Confederate monuments from public spaces.
The bill also has language that allows local governments in North Carolinas to decide to remove the statues from public buildings and museums.
The Republican lawmaker who introduced the bill, Rep. J.D. Watkins (R-North Carolina), has said he plans to introduce a version of it that would be more narrowly tailored to the local level.
And on Tuesday, the website for his political action committee, NC State for America, posted an antiabortion cartoon of a woman with a fetus in the background, alongside an image of a Republican legislator holding a Confederate symbol.
The site’s headline reads “We are the Republican party and our state is ours.”
A similar anti-abortion cartoon is posted by the state GOP website.
“We have a right to make our own laws, not laws imposed by Washington, D.C.,” the site says.
The message appears to be winning the day.
The House voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass a bill to ban Confederate symbols from public areas, which has been dubbed the “North Carolina Confederate Monument Preservation Act.”
This bill passed the state House on March 10, and has been introduced in every house since then.
On March 11, North Carolina became the third state to allow a statue to be erected in the Capitol grounds in the presence of a Confederate soldier.
“I think the people of North Carolina are really tired of the Republican government trying to control the conversation and shut down our freedom,” Rep. Kelly Pugh (R) told the Charlotte Observer.
“And I think they are sick and tired of this Republican party that’s just trying to shut down the conversation.”