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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lack of unity in North Carolina's Democratic Party

The North Carolina Democratic Party lacks internal discipline, Scott believes, in part because of the personal nature of politics in the state. Although Scott attributes this lack of unity to the decline of the party in the state, he still "didn't care too much about what the party did."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Does it seem to you that the Democractic leadership changed or are things still being done the way they were back when you first entered politics in the '60's?
Oh, no, things are being done differently. Let me first say that I don't follow the interworkings of the party all that closely. I never have been a strong——well, I've been a strong Democrat, I'll always be a Democrat——a loyal Democrat but I've never been a strong party person. I've always said there's two types of politics. One is your party politics, be it Democrat or Republican, in which you get in and you're really concerned about who's going to be precinct chairman or who's going to be your county chairman, your district representative, all like that. You fight that internal party politics. And then we've got your other political game that's played outside of the party structure somewhat, as a candidate. In other words, when I ran for governor I don't guess I'd ever read a Democratic party platform in my life, you know. You don't really care. Under our two party system you've got the mechanism to run on so you identify yourself with one party, and I'm not saying that it is not important. It is important because that it the mechanism by which you get elected. But there's the internal politics and then the external politics. I was always playing the external politics. That is to say I was as a candidate for public office as opposed to being a candidate for a party post. I didn't really care who was, you know … 2 2 Here I meant that it didn't really matter to me who was precinct chairman or county chairman. My agenda was going to be my agenda, and I was running on that and philosophically it happened to be fairly close to the party platform. I didn't agree with everything they had but I didn't talk about the party platform when I would run. I don't think they do today. That's why the party itself has never been——there's no discipline in the party. In other words, if you were a strong party official in your county, you had a responsibility for all the nominees for the party and helping them to get elected. I would be running for governor. Okay, if I got elected and you wanted something from, a favor from the governor's office, I would listen to you but I would check with whoever my campaign chairman was in the county, and that individual would have more say so about whether I granted that. In other words, it's not like they were in New York state and some other states, where the party discipline was strong.
It's always been that way in North Carolina?
It's always been that way in this state, yeah.
More personal kind of politics?
Exactly. That's a good way to put it. So I didn't really, within reason, didn't care too much about what the party did.