This chapter argues that the Clinton interlude did nothing to dent the national political agenda the conservative Republicans had driven since 1980. Beginning in 1994, the GOP controlled Congress. And the same year, Republicans had assumed control of the North Carolina House of Representatives, long the domain of moderate to conservative Democrats. Republicans zealously pursued a tax-cutting agenda. Yet government continued to grow. From 1992 onward, the Democrats held the governorship. As the twentieth century ended, two figures towered above all others: Republican senator Jesse Helms and Democratic governor Jim Hunt. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, Hunt and Helms had stood on the same lofty pedestals that they occupied two decades later, but they lacked immortality. Helms now had begun to fail both physically and mentally despite being at the zenith of his national power and influence. Hunt remained vigorous, but his long governorship was about to end.
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