‘Ground game’ election strategy has football roots

“A 1921 article in the Charlotte Observer previewed a matchup between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Davidson Wildcats by noting that ‘the aerial game’ was expected to be ‘used extensively by both teams,’ while ‘a great ground game if successful is also hazardous.’

“It would take another 60 years for the football terms to enter the political field of play. In a 1981 column for the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Young, then between stints as U.N. ambassador and mayor of Atlanta, made the athletic analogy explicit.

” ‘So get ready for the big playoffs in 1982 and the Super Bowl in 1984,’ Mr. Young wrote, alluding to the coming midterm and presidential elections. ‘The far right will take to the air. The opposition will launch a new ground game, which would be helped by an air attack if the money is available.’ ”

— From “How ‘Ground Game’ Moved From the Gridiron to Politics” by Ben Zimmer in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 5, 2014)

Where the richest kids go to college in North Carolina

“Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.

“At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.”

— From “Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.” in the New York Times (Jan. 18)

By this standard the widest wealth imbalance in North Carolina is among students at Elon University, where 14 percent come from the top 1 percent vs. 9 percent from the bottom 60 percent. 

Also making the top-heavy 38: Wake Forest University (22 percent vs. 17 percent), Duke University (19 percent vs. 17 percent) and Davidson College (17 percent vs. 16 percent). 

At UNC Chapel Hill the ratio is 6 percent of students from the top 1 percent to 21 percent from the bottom 60 percent.


‘By far the most flourishing institution in N.C….’

On this day in 1869: The Philanthropic Society of Davidson College invites President Andrew Johnson to speak at commencement ceremonies:

“Since the decline of the State University, Davidson is by far the most flourishing institution in North Carolina. Our Chapel is said to be the largest in the South, and should you be pleased to honor us with your presence, we assure you that you will have as an audience, this chapel filled with the best and most intelligent of North Carolina’s citizens.”

Johnson declines.


Mencken: Charlotte no place for ‘a civilized man’

“When [Edgar Lee] Masters did leave [New York] to reunite with his estranged wife and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, [H.L.] Mencken said that he could not imagine how a civilized man could remain content in such a town.”

— From “Mencken: The American Iconoclast” by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers (2005)

In fact, Masters seems to have been reasonably content during his residence  (1944-45)  in Charlotte. In his mid-70s and well past his creative and physical prime, the author of “Spoon River Anthology” lived in the Selwyn Hotel with his wife, head of the English department at Charlotte Country Day School,  and son, a student at Davidson College.

“We have everything we need here,” he wrote friends. “There’s good food in the hotel restaurant downstairs. I spend the day reading or working. Ellen… can bring me any book I want from the library…. The beds are fine and we have good sleeps.”