Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This is the picture that emerges in emails I've gotten from around the state. The Democratic Party of Georgia must hew to its traditional concern for the diverse party interests but at the same time rise above the particular needs of those constituencies and ''seek to lead a state, not a collection of divided and contending groups.''
Democrats have to change the way they practice politics. For instance, they have to learn again how to count. Why Democrats write off parts, regions of the state is beyond me. It is morally wrong to do so. All Georgians deserve equal representation. "To be a Democrat in Georgia at this moment means constant courage and bravery.
Let's face it: The Democratic Party got into some bad relationships. It doesn't need a new message (more fine tuning), so much as a whole new conversation with the people of this great state. Historically, Democrats have always been out of sync with the white working class on social issues, most notably on race. Nonetheless, white workers voted Democratic for decades because they saw the likes of Sanders (Carl), Busbee (George), Miller (Zell), etc as taking their side on the central question of economic security and jobs. When Democrats sound like Far-Right Republicans on economic issues, they lose because they are not as credible as social conservatives.
So what will it take to rebuild the Georgia Democratic Party? The answer to that will come Jan 29 at Houston County when the party elects its new Chairman between Darryl A Hicks, a Taylor County Native, or Michael "Mike" Berlon, a resident of Gwinnett County.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
IS IT BECOMING TABOO TO BE WHITE, CONSERVATIVE, & .....................A DEMOCRAT???
Yesterday, the latest white, rural democrat to defect from the dwindling democratic caucus is State Rep Mike Cheokas (D) Americus. That only leaves 5 white rural democrats in the caucus: Debbie Buckner (Junction City), Carol Fullerton (Albany), Sistie Hudson, (Sparta), Rick Crawford (Cedertown) & Barbara-Massey Reese (Menlo).
Right now in Georgia & in most of the south, it is culturally unacceptable to be a Democrat. It's a shame, but that's the way it is. The setback continues a decade long decline for Democrats in rural Georgia, where they once dominated.
Democrats once used to be those who had their stronghold in the south among white conservatives. Nowadays Blacks, Gays, Urban White Liberals, Rural Progressives heavily support the Democrats.
As the dust settledafter another election year, here is a request to those individuals who place missing persons on milk cartons: could you help us find the real Southern white male democrats?
It is obvious that they are MIA when it comes to local and national politics.
All across GAwhite males that outwardly declare their Democratic pedigree are becoming increasingly scarce. They are constantly put in awkward positions on issues ranging from abortion to tort reform. They are not comfortable touting the party line, as their college buddies and co-workers shift their allegiance whole-heartedly to the Republican agenda.
They are being pressured to switch parties as the Democratic Party is labeled as “the Black people’s party, something I've heard tossed around recently in my neck of the woods. This makes them uncomfortable and when we need them the most they turn up missing.
Prior to the 1940’s, Blacks were loyal to the GOP because it was considered the party of Lincoln, the alleged “Great Emancipator.” The combination of Franklin Roosevelt’s public policies and the deliberate targeted protests, led by grassroots leaders like Fannie Lou Hamer, toward full political access, started the shift for Black Americans toward becoming almost monolithically Democrat.
This shift started to displace those white males who could not adapt to the times & the likes of George Wallace, Lester Maddox & Dick Nixon, who Nixon saw this demographic as a gold mine, sought to aggressively cultivate them. Since then, it has been a fight for Democrats to win the hearts and minds of Southern white males, who now felt at home with the GOP’s subtle agenda.
Under the guise of conservative family values, the Republicans have de-valued the need for hard-fought gains, such as affirmative action (which is sonething I think is no loner needed), and have escalated the level of fear by highlighting wedge issues like crime and religion. When a team needs to change their losing ways, they make adjustments in their personnel and their play calling. If the Democrats want to start winning elections again in Georgia, changes have to be made. Southern white male Democrats need to re-discover their political backbone, plain & simple.
The most realistic strategic objective is to diminish the intensity of white male opposition to the Democratic Party while retaining the support of key minority groups and bolstering suburban gains, especially among white women. To execute this strategy, embracing moderate positions on cultural issues based on mainstream values is a necessity. But for today's Democratic Party, neither cultural conservatism nor an anti-government stance is an option. If that is what it takes to regain full competitiveness among white men, the price is too high.
This is a dangerous time for the Democratic Party here in Georgia
Monday, December 20, 2010
Mike Berlon, Gwinnett County (Lawrenceville). He is the current President of the Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs and the outgoing Democratic Party Chairman in Gwinnett County. Berlon believes the time has come for new ideas within the Democratic Party. Berlon says democrats need a strong message about jobs, education and the economy. It’s time to start running the party as a business with measurable goals, strategic planning and accountability. It’s time for us to achieve our goals and actually put our theory into practice.”
Says Berlon: “We need to end the perception that we are a metro-Atlanta party and reconnect with democrats statewide. For too long, we have neglected democrats outside the metro area. We need to establish offices around the state. I believe the only way we can effectively rebuild the party is from the ground up at the county party level, precinct by precinct”
Darryl Hicks, Fayette County (FayettevilleHicks is a two time statewide candidate for Secretary of State & Labor Commissioner. He is the former Chief of Staff for the Fulton County Commission & lobbyist for Atlanta Gas Light. Hicks hasn't released his platform for running for party chair. Hicks is a "Rurban" (Grew up in rural Georgia, Taylor County & now lives in a urban setting,Fayetteville)
Wendy Davis, Floyd County (Rome). Davis is former campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Gen. David Poythress & was National Field Director for 21st Century Democrats.
Nikema Williams, Fulton County, (Fairburn). Williams says her interests is a bright and vibrant Democratic Party in Georgia that results in a state that I can raise my children in knowing they will have a solid public education, excellent job opportunities and ...their rights will be protected
She works with Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Amy Morton, Bibb County (Macon). Morton is a Democratic Activist, Operates blog Georgia Women's Vote & is a strong advocate for getting more women elected to public office.
Vice-Chair of County Parties:
Chris Sloan, Troup County, (LaGrange). Sloan is chairman of the Troup County Democratic Party. Sloan says he entered this race because I refuse to buy into the message that the media is putting out about our party having the wrong message and that the midterms were a rejection of our party by the voters. I believe, as the son of a mill worker, that our party is still the party of employee protection and employee rights. We are still the party that champions the middle class, advocates for a quality education for all our children, and seeks opportunity for all in America. I believe that the election was not about our ideas it was about how they were communicated to the voters and it was about organization.
Will Fowlkes, Cobb County (Marietta). Fowlkes has a wealth of experience at both the local & national level, serving as Cobb County Democratic Party - Chair (2008 - 2010); Treasurer (2008); House District Captain for HD35 (2006-2008); Cobb Democrat of the Year (2008)Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs - Congressional Director (2008 - 2010); 2010 President's Award recipient, Democratic National Committee - Elected Pledged Delegate, Democratic National Convention (2008).
“For over a century, the Democratic Party dominated Georgia state and local politics“, Fowlkes said. “And it will do so again, if we proceed as a state-wide team and harness the numerous resources we already have at our disposal. This means investing in the existing county party structure, engaging our state party committee members, and empowering the members of our vast constituency groups to their fullest potential. This means defining a stronger message to the electorate of Georgia with an emphasis on education, jobs and the economy. This means truly addressing our infrastructure issues and defining clear solutions to those challenges. This means creating short term and long term plans with measurable goals and tracking those metrics. This means rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up and providing the necessary leadership training and tools to those yearning to lead. This means reestablishing the trust between the Party and the Democrat - across the entire state.”
RJ Hadley Rockdale County (Conyers). Hadley was a candidiate for the US Senate in 2010 & at-large delegate to the 2008 DNC. The November election results were disheartening to say the least. I can’t understand how the electorate would be so welcoming to a political ideology that promises less inclusion for the poor, less control for workers, and less educational options for those who need them most. At the same time, I was angered to see fellow Democrats who raced to embrace the opposition's ideology of fear rather than offer Georgia voters common sense alternatives. Post-election, some of these politicians have revealed their true intentions and I say ‘Good Riddance!’ to them. The challenges ahead are too great for our party to be saddled with lukewarm leaders and false champions of the cause says Hadley.
All three men have great qualities to become chair of county parties. The party will be in good hands whoever becomes the new vice-chair of county parties.............
Vice-Chair of Candidate Recruitment:
Winfred Dukes (I),Dougherty County (Albany)
Miguel G.Camacho Chatham County (Savannah)
Lauren Logan Benedict, Bibb County (Macon)
This is a critical position for the party & judging by Dukes's performance during thelast election cycle, its time for someone new to lead in this position. Basically anybody but Dukes. Benedict is a member of Macon City Council * one time candidate for HD 140. Camacho is a former delegate to the DNC.
Vice Chair of Constituency Groups:
Rep. Pedro "Pete" Marin (I) Gwinnett County (Duluth)
Laverne Gaskins (I) Chatham County (Savannah)
Russell Edwards,Clarke County (Athens)
State Sen. Lester Jackson, Chatham County (Savannah)
Edwards was a former candidate for the 10th Congressional District, Jackson is a member of the DNC & state senator out of Savannah. I don't have a clue about this race, but if I had to pick a favorite, it'll be Jackson because of Name I.D.
1st Congressional District Chair:
Jeana Brown, Wayne County ( Mckinnon). Brown is the founder & president of Team Rural, based in Wayne County. In addition she was Regional Field Director for the Democratic Party of Florida, Field Organizer for Obama for America (GA) & now a candidate for HD 178 special election set for Feb 2011.
William Claiborne, Chatham County (Savannah). Claiborne is a attorney, consel for Claiborne & Surmay, LLC. a graduate of Emory University in Political Science, '00.
2nd Congressional District Chair:
Jeanne Dugas, Muscogee County (Columbus). Dugas is a member of the State Democratic Committee.
Keith McCants, Macon County (Oglethorpe/Andersonville). McCants is Vice-Chairman of Macon County Democratic Party, Founder & Operator of Peanut Politics
Margaret Tyson, (I) Grady County (Cairo)
3rd Congressional District Chair:
Ken Spitze Carroll County,(Carroll County) Carrollton)
4th Congressional District Chair:
Linda Edmonds (I) DeKalb County
5th Congressional District Chair:
Kip Carr Fulton County, (Atlanta)
William Curry (I) Fulton County (Atlanta)
6th Congressional District Chair:
Ben Myers (I) North Fulton County (Atlanta)
7th Congressional District:
8th Congressional District Chair:
Stephanie Woods Miller, Bibb County (Macon), State Committee Member representing Jones County
9th Congressional District Chair:
David Robinson, Pickens County, (Jasper). Robinson is Chairman of the Pickens County Democratic Party
10th Congressional District Chair:
11th Congressional District:
Mary Caldwell, Floyd County (Rome)
Wendy Davis, Floyd County (Rome
Don Wilson, Cobb County (Marietta)
12th Congressional District
R. Lee Webster, Burke County (Waynesboro)
Liz Johnson, Bullock County (Statesboro)
Monday, December 13, 2010
I, Keith MacCants, hereby declare my candidacy for Chairman of the 2nd Congressional District
The Georgia Democratic Party is at a definite crossroads right now in the state of Georgia after the loss of every constitutional office for the first time ever, in addition the loss of several democrats who defected the party in recent weeks to join the GOP. As a conservative democrat who views reflect that of a libertarian, it saddens me to see so many of the rural democrats bolt the party, some I understand, some I do not.
The democratic party has to & needs to get back to the center or its lights out for the party for good. As one of the very few conservative democrats who open identify himself as a democrat remaining here in rural georgia, I hope to bring a center/right point of view to a state party that I feel is straying farther & farther away from its roots.
One key is the development of local county democratic party chapters. As republicans consolidate power in Atlanta & the debate over the democratic party's future roils the party, I hope to be among a new wave of activist to do moe than rebrand an out of power party. Like the activism that laid the foundation for the republican party rise to promonence here in the state, a movement is growing within the democratic party, independent from the National Party's Leadership, which we need to start small & look locally. Getting folks to join county democraic party committ involves them in the political process, forming a base of seasoned players.
Republicans did a very good job. They organized themselves. Democrats definitely got a wakeup call.
The Georgia Democratic Party's problems are deeper than a lack of organization. They have lost the trust of the people of Georgia. Although the big picture might look bleak for the party, I see gains can be made locally. The real strength of the party will be local (Commisisoner, Mayoral, State Representative, etc). You can't start from the top down, you have to really build the party neighborhood by neighborhood by neighborhood. The GOP have done that well & we can take a page out of their book.
We need to build a farm team so we can have candidates ready to compete at the federal level when we need them.
The phase "Farm Team" what basebell franchises call the minoe league system to develop talent is more than a metaphor. A "Farm Team" can be used to teach activist how to be politicans, how to raise money, hire staff, write & deliver stump speeches, & focus borad ideas into policies. What's the easiest entry point, school baord or Congress? Its not as sexy, but there's a lot that goes on.....half of more government spending is state & local.
As Chairman of the 2nd Congressional District, this will be one of my man goals. With a strong bench of democratic prospects coming down the pipeline, that will enable the Georgias Democratic Party to sustain a strong & steady presence here in the state for years, decades to come.
A new grassroots iniative that includes reaching out to conservative churches, pro-business associations, etc are also key in developing the party on the local level. Dems rely on less personal tactics for grassroots outreach such as artifical, virtual networks & professional canvassers. Many of these hires do not have a connection to the area they are working in, so this approach to gain the vote & getting out the vote fails to capitalize on existing personal bonds among like-minded democrats. As Chair, this will be one of the issues that I will stress to county party chapters in reaching out in attracting like-minded individuals.
-Democrats can't keep ignoring their base, even the moderate/conservative democrats can't ignore it & expect to win over & over again.
-Democrats must reconnect with the energy of the grassroots
-A party that ignores the needs of the state & local parties is doomed
-And the party has to continue to reach out to white male voters even if the GOP continues to get 70-80% of their vote
The Party needs to expand into new communities: As Chair of the 2nd Congressional District, I will identify communities & organizations to approach where we can begin to recruit new voters. These communities include the Target Outreach Communities. I'll work with candidates & party members to develop oir positive message in a way that effectiveky commnunicates our principles and policy akternatives to these communuties. We will begin showing a presence in places that are not rraditional places for the Democratic Party to be seen, & we will collect comtact info to effetively communicate to these communities in the future. This will be done in two ways, which I will be getting to later.
When I first mentioned to a few close friends of mine about running for this position, they thought I was crazy to do it, that it could affect me in my potential run for County Commissioner or City Council this summer & that I would lose. Some have even suggested that I switch parties & become the first Republican to win a elected office here in my home county ever since the old-guard democrats who are in power have basically run the entire county in the ground (Macon Co is the 2nd poorest county in the state). I fought off the attempts of those to persuade me to leave the party, but I'm still a democrat because I'm not a opportunist, plus my loyalty is strong only to a "certain point" & I champion public schools, family farmers & those who can't, let me repeat, CAN'T do for themselves.
The party of Russell, Nunn, Miler, Barnes is now in the history books & its now time to write a new chapter in the book of the Georgia Democratic Party, while not straying too far from its roots that have a rich tradition of strong democratic governors, senators, congressmen, mayors, etc. Things will not turn around overnight, it will require time, patience, discipline, & committment, along with a message that resonates with the vast majority of Georgia Voters.
The time is now, its either now or never. I'd be honored to become the next chairman of the 2nd Congressional District.
Founder & Operator of Peanut Politics
Interim Vice-Chairman of Macon County Democratic Party
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Up in North Georgia, Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell has decided to switch parties & join the Georgia GOP. Bell who was accompanied by Ga GOP Cairwoman Sue Everhart, state Rep. Melvin Everson, (R-Snellville), Georgia Black Republican Council Chairman Michael McNeely and party activist Rufus Montgomery made the announcement this morning.
Bell says: "I’m joining the Republican Party because I’m a conservative and simply feel more at home as a Republican,” Bell said in a statement. “I have worked to make government more efficient and less intrusive in citizens’ lives and plan to continue those efforts as a Republican.”
Bell was a former national president of the College Democrats of America was a 2004 delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
His defection, in my opinion shows how far the Democratic Party has fallen in Georgia.
Bell, a Hall County native, was elected in 2008 at age 27 to become Hall County's youngest ever Commissioner and one of the youngest in the State of Georgia. Mr. Bell is a graduate of Gainesville High, Valdosta State University, and attended law school at the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University. He is also honored to be a 21st Century Leadership Fellow at the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Commissioner Bell is an attorney and partner at Bell & Washington, LLP practicing law throughout the State of Georgia.
I never met Bell in person, but we are FB Friends & his loss is huge for the DPG. He is the first Black Democrat to switch parties, joining several other dems who have switched during the past few weeks after the Nov 2 disaster.
I've always said that the Democratic Party needs more conservative black democrats in its ranks, which are filled by far-left black democrats from nickel-sized house & senate districts. Like Bell, I am a conservative black democrat, maybe a tad bit more conservative on some issues that Bell. Seeing a young up & coming conservative democrat like Bell leave caused me to pause & think for a minute.....
I wish Bell all the success in the Georgia GOP.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
There are 0 White Senate Democrats outside of the Metro Area
There are only 7 White Rural House Democrats left out of 65 Democrats in the house.
Where'd all the white Democrats go?
What's it all mean? I don't know; go ask a wise man. I'm just doing math. But it seems a party's claim to diversity can't be helped when its roster of legislators is increasingly low on one of the state's major demographics : white people!
Do Georgia Democrats have to crank up a white outreach program (maybe at the local Rodeo or Gun Shows)?
Of course they do!
You can't form a party and write off the white vote. That's no way to come back into power!
I see the dwindling white Democratic caucus as further certification that when, and if, Georgia Democrats return to power (or at least relevance) "it's not going to be your granddaddy's Democratic Party. Not only will it be majority minority (mostly Black) it will be "predominantly minority. Any Democratic resurgence could be 10 to 15 years away if Black voter turnout doesn't improve.
Also the lack of highly visible white Democrats hurts the party's effort to lure white folks back into the fold. People do respond best to people that look like them. They feel good about casting a vote for somebody who looks like them, THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE!
But the main reason democrats are in such dire straits is due to Racial gerrymandering.
Democrats have lost as many seats here in the because of majority black redistricting." Remember when Floyd Griffin forst won a seat to the State Senate from a majority-white district, defeating the incumbent democrat Wilbur Baugh back in 1992.
Those days are long gone..........for now!
But no more. What enabled record numbers of blacks to win election to the House, also planted the seeds for their political disenfranchisement. Congressional redistricting after the 1990 Census saw federal courts and state lawmakers create new majority black districts, mainly by snatching black voters from existing districts and stuffing them into new ones. This essentially guaranteed the election of black Democrats to the new seats, but it also "whitened" neighboring districts and made them more Republican.
Redistricting after the census lifted the number of blacks elected to the General Assembly here in the state. There's no doubt that race-driven redistricting was a windfall to the GOP in Georgia, which helped them make significant gains here in the peach state. The GOP worked in cahoots with civil rights leaders such as State Rep Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) to create majority black districts. The Republican appointees in the Bush administration's Justice Department regularly harassed state reapportionment committees and forced them to set aside special districts for blacks.
These redistricting schemes ultimately stem from the Voting Rights Act, first passed in 1965 to ensure black voters full participation in electoral politics--something they had been denied, especially in the South. But over the past 30 years it has slowly transformed into something quite different: A mechanism that not only guarantees equal access to the ballot box for blacks, but also virtually requires racially proportionate election outcomes. Democrats have aided and abetted this development, essentially underwriting the GOP's cynical exploitation of their politically foolish act. They will now pay for it with years in the wilderness.
A more liberal Democratic Party.............. Blacks now mostly control majority of the seats held by Democrats in the State House & the State Senate. Many of them are on the far-left fringes of the party, while most are just plain liberal. With the exception of a handful, the majority of the black legislators are basically seat warmers, having no influence in debates, legislation, etc.
Without white democrats who are more in the center, tilting toward the reight, the party will have a tough row to hoe if it ever want to really get back in the ballgame anytime soon.
"Party hopping for professional advantage is the worst kind of politics. It shows a distinct disregard for the constituency that elected that person and lack of ethics demonstrated in past legislatures. Ethics are the rules one lives by and morals are the practice of those rules. These party switchers have demonstrated their lack of both the ethics to represent and the morals to lead.
If I was a republican here in the state, I would say thanks, but no thanks. We allowed far too many recycled Democrats to invade our party during this election & elections of the past. We do not need to further water down our message by taking these opportunists. Politics is becoming more entertainment, than substantive. I can't even begin to fathom what the Republican party leadership may have offered these guys, in order to have a filibuster-proof majority. It's really time to for responsible adults to stop choosing sides and start choosing right, because until the general public starts to identifying the real issues and voting for candidates who will stand on real issues, we're all going down on a sinking ship, Republicans and Democrats, both.
The GOP are inching closer & closer to a "Supermajority" & with that kind of a majority, I expect the GOP do undo much of what has been done under Democratic control & implement policies that may or maynot have a damging effect on Georgia for many years to come.
It’s not a good prospect for the Democratic Party in the state for the foreseeable future. “It should be a moment of reflection for Democrats. When you forfeit the non-urban, the non-suburban areas of the state, your sights tend to drift too far left.
Monday, December 6, 2010
There is too much emphasis on the term liberal, moderate & conservative democrats. We have to start refering to ourselves as Democrats again and not bring attention to the different ideological stances. Look at the Republican Party, yes there are (used to be) moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans but you don't usually see them refered to as that, they are usually refered to as Republicans.
One thing that has to be done is for liberal, moderate and conservative Democrats to see that they both are Democrats and neither one of them is more of a democrat than the other. The Abortion issue is another major issue in the party. Some of us hate it and see it as barbaric and some of us see it as a way to give a woman the right to decide what's right for her & her unborn child. So what we have to do is find a way for us to compromise on the issue and also don't talk about it as much.
Follow President Reagan's 11th commandment and not attack one another. We need to present a united front and if we do disagree do it in private.
Georgia Democrats need to "get down to business". A Georgia Democratic Party refocused on revitalizing our state's economy, protecting our public education, and re-establishing itself as the party for the middle class is what voters are demanding. If we do this, victory at the polling booths will take care of itself.
Five things the State Democrats need to do is:
(1) Customers don’t buy features and functions
(2) Never promise more than you can deliver
(3) Never sell against your brand
(4) Be clear on why you are the better option than the current majority
(5) Sell what you’ve got, not what you’ll have
The Democratic Party for the last 6 years has been dominated by its more progressive wing over this past decade and there needs to be a balance. If the Democratic Party doesn’t change and let its moderates as well as conservatives hold more sway, my prediction is that this could well be the last gasp of the Democratic Party for a long while.
Friday, December 3, 2010
First Vice Chair: Nikema Williams
Vice Chair of County Parties: Will Fowlkes ,Chris Sloan, RJ Hadley
Vice Chair of Candidate Recruitment: Miguel Camacho
Vice Chair of Constituency Groups: Rep. Pedro "Pete" Marin (I)
Secretary: Laverne Gaskins (I)
Treasurer: Russell Edwards
8th Congressional District Chair: Stephanie Woods Miller
9th Congressional District Chair: David Robinson
11th Congressional District Chair: Mary Caldwell. JM Prince
You can bet there will be more names qualifying for spots with the DPG, so it ain't a done deal yet!
The Deadline is December 16 for qualifiying for these positions, as well as the congressional district chairs
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