BY: ASHLEY BATEMAN | SEPTEMBER 08, 2022
A devout Christian, father, and African-American, Michael Anderson didn’t feel represented by either party and until Jan. 31 of this year, remained politically unaffiliated. But a series of events has led him to align with and campaign alongside conservatives in one of North Carolina’s most liberal counties.
Anderson is an attorney for a Big Tech company in Charlotte. Headquartered just a few miles across the border in South Carolina, his company claims the fifth largest internet footprint in the United States. Higher-ups have a stated goal of widespread “influence.” They are making good on that goal.
On Nov 18, 2021, the CEO stood before an all-employee meeting at the Charlotte location and declared for the “greater good of humanity” it was no longer enough to segregate the workers who had not received a Covid-19 vaccine. They had to be removed entirely. The entire company had been working remotely for nearly two years at that point, Anderson said. The announcement came just before the holidays.
“Hundreds of people found out that day they would be fired unless they submitted to the mandate without an approved medical or religious exemption,” Anderson said.
Anderson reached out to co-workers via an internal Slack channel sharing his concerns and received a flood of responses expressing stress and fear.
“I’ve worked in some difficult places with some difficult people and that was the most difficult week of my career,” Anderson said. “I grew up in a single-parent family below the poverty level. Single mothers [were contacting me]. Pregnant women were contacting me to see whether they could receive a medical exemption. There were so many inequities and unjust consequences to this poorly thought out, draconian mandate.”
About 60 employees linked up. “All these people [losing their jobs] are super high-performing, hardworking people, some who have been in the company for 15-16 years,” Anderson said. “I asked the CEO to change the policy, the director of diversity, the General Counsel; I couldn’t change their minds.”
Anderson began using his legal expertise to assist exemption-seekers. Alongside like-minded freedom fighters, he developed a coalition, ByManyOrByFew, to inform, educate and connect voters.
“I thought we ought to do something to fight against these policies and funnel people toward politicians who were freedom-minded,” he said.
But Anderson didn’t stop there. Within weeks of the company announcement, he decided to run for a North Carolina House seat in Mecklenburg, one of the most Democratic counties in the state. Choosing a party affiliation by now was a no-brainer.
In preparation to testify before the South Carolina House and Ways subcommittee on December 7, 2021, for a workplace vaccination bill that could eventually impact the North Carolina arm of the company he works for, Anderson reached out to both political parties. Not one Democrat would respond, but many Republicans fighting for individual rights did. “Forty-four Caucasians were fighting to protect my rights,” he said.
Vaccines historically have a disparate impact on minorities. Anderson references the Tuskegee Experiment, as one horrific example. He saw history repeating itself with the Covid-19 vaccine, led by a Democratic president.
“When you had these vaccine mandates come out, I placed the blame at the feet of President Biden,” Anderson said. “Although his mandates were ultimately unsuccessful, a lot of companies were encouraged and enabled to have their own vaccine mandates and a private company has a lot more flexibility compared to the government. As a result, by their terms, that caused systemic, institutional racism because it has a disparate impact on minorities.”
That is who Anderson specifically wants to champion; and who Democrats continuously fail to support or outright harm with disastrous policies. Even with the CDC’s recently updated vaccine guidelines, Democratic leaders like Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser are pursuing policies that hurt miniorities disproportionately, like a vaccine mandate that would bar 40 percent of D.C. black teenagers from in-person learning.
“My district is 60 percent African American, 20 percent Latino,” Anderson said. “The reason why I like that and that’s where I want to be is not only because I am African American, there’s no demographic flipping faster from Democrat to Republican than Latino. And if you look at the vaccine mandates, there is no race that was hurt worse than African Americans.”
Minority voters have been impacted by other far-left policies, and are expressing their discontent at the polls. A recent interview by NPR with political scientist Ruy Teixeira revealed how Democrats are driving minority voters to flip partisanship, especially in the Latino population.
“…[T]he ultra-progressive wing of the Democratic Party privileging criminal justice reform over public safety,” has become a major concern of minority voters, Teixeira said. “People want to be safe from crime, and that includes a lot of nonwhite voters. It is not a matter for them of choosing between the two, but rather above all, you’ve got to keep our community safe.”
Anderson’s opponent for NC House District 99, Democratic Rep. Nasif Majeed, supported the “ultra-progressive” defunding of the Charlotte police in his previous campaign. Charlotte now has only 1,600 police officers for a city of 1 million people. Three hundred defections or retirements are expected in the near term and salaries start as low as $40,000. A lack of manpower has resulted in unanswered 911 calls and crimes below a felony going entirely unaddressed. “Social justice warriors” are crippling police response, according to local law enforcement.
Democrats’ leftist ideologies ruin cities and Anderson wants to get his town back on track, but he knows reform isn’t possible alongside current Democrats in North Carolina’s House, who hold a majority in the legislature.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Anderson grew up below the poverty level in a biracial, single-parent home. Progressive policies pressed during the pandemic are driving inequity that entrap and eliminate those the far-left claim to champion, he said. He feels there is no place for him in the Democratic Party right now.
Through door-to-door campaigning, he’s found that many registered Democrats in Charlotte agree.
“I ask people what issues they need represented and how the system is failing them,” Anderson said. “You have to have conversations with people to know.”
Empowered by a Democrat president, Democrat House, and a coalition of Democrat governors, Covid-19 tyranny has driven a new type of minority leader like Anderson to represent an increasingly diverse Republican party — one that engages in the political battle and fights for the now tenuous freedoms once taken for granted.