The G.O.P. Flamethrower With a Right-Wing Vision for North Carolina

As Mark Robinson completed his rapid six-year rise from conservative internet sensation to the Republican nominee for North Carolina governor, he worked relentlessly to sell his political vision to evangelical Christians.

Traveling from church to church and thundering away on social media, he condemned “transgenderism” and “homosexuality” as “filth.” He said Christians should be led by men, not women. And on at least one occasion, he explicitly called to upend American tradition on God’s role in government.

“People talk about the separation of church and state,” Mr. Robinson, North Carolina’s lieutenant governor, said in a speech in October. “I’m trying to find that phrase somewhere in our Constitution. Trying to find it somewhere in our Declaration of Independence. Trying to find it in the writings of any patriot, anywhere, and I cannot. And I cannot because it does not exist.”

He concluded, “There is no separation of church and state.”

Mr. Robinson’s long history of inflammatory statements has generated a torrent of headlines since he became the Republican standard-bearer in this year’s most closely watched race for governor. But underlying his combative proclamations on race, abortion, education and religion is an exceptionally right-wing worldview — with deep roots in modern evangelical Christianity — that would make him one of the most conservative governors in America if elected.

Mr. Robinson has telegraphed, often in bombastic terms, how far to the right he would try to push North Carolina, supporting a ban on all abortions once a heartbeat is detected, calling for arresting transgender women if they do not use the bathroom of their sex assigned at birth, and urging the introduction of prayer in schools.

As he runs to replace the term-limited Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and give Republicans full control of state government, Mr. Robinson has shown no sign that he plans to moderate his message for the November general election. He may see a plausible path to victory through his appeals to the Christian right, given North Carolina’s vast evangelical community: Roughly 35 percent of the state’s adults identify as evangelical Protestants, according to the Pew Research Center.

Back to top button