I'm not what you call a die-in-the-wool liberal demorat, nor an "Obamacrat". I never served on any democratic committees. I once served as chairman of my local democratic party (Temporarily). I reside in Small Town, Rural Georgia, where most democrats are far different than those in the urban areas of the state, socially conservative, fiscally responsible, economically moderate. Having said that, I know (and I'm not being cocky here)......I know why democrats haven't been able to win in this state over the past decade, or why democrats in the legislature have a hard time recruiting canddiates. And I don't need graphs, a 20 page thesis or political scholars to tell me why democrats have such a hard time winning.
For starters, let's start with candidate recruitment. Liberal, progressive, (whichever you wanna call it) candidates works in areas that are heavily diverse with voters who are center-left. But they will not work in areas that are not as diverse where voters are center-right/independent. The quality of candidates democratic leaders have found and supported have been abysmal. Ideology is another factor. Black and White Bluedog Democrats are met with suspicion nowadays within the party mainly because of the recent party switchers the have endured over a 5-6 year period. But I'm here to tell you, without them, democrats will NEVER sniff the possibilty of being the majority again..at least in my lifetime.
In recruiting candidates, you must find that person who's background fits within that State Senatorial or House District. What's the median income of that district, the racial makeup, the voting tendencies, what issues resonate with the voters of that district because let's face it, all districts do not have the same problem. If a district have a high number of Social Conservatives, then you need a candidate who's not afraid to talk about his/her religion or if it's a area high in poverty and lack jobs, you need a person with a extensive background in business who can articulate the problems facing the area and then can come up with a solution to the district's problems.
Or if its a district that haven't elected a democrat in years (locally and legislatively) then you need to recruit someone who have a ability to appeal cross party lines and someone who's not afraid to disgree with the party on issues that maybe out of step with the voters of the district.
And the last....in overly majority black districts, the reason these types of districts were created in the first place was to assure the election of black elected officials due to the VRA of 1965, but it came with a heavy price. It severely weakened the democratic party as a result...and I'm going to stop right there! If a candidate happens to be white and running in a majority black district (and I'm speaking from experience)......stop trying to influence a election out of fear of a majority minority district being represented by a white democrat! If the white candidate voted republican in the past....so what? All that matters is who is the better candidate with the better message, who can appeal to the masses, regardless of skin color or gender. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the "BIG TENT PARTY" or so it claims to be. Instead of trying to cut the legs out from up under the white candidate out of fear the majority black district being represented by a non-minority, embrace him/her and let the chips fall where they may, but I know that's wishful thinking especially with the current leadership in the legislature
Now democrats troubles as far as winning can be attributed to a few things: (1) Culture (2) National Democrats (3) Values (4) Unwillingness to court white middle and lower class voters (5) Rural Black Voters
Culture & Values are issues have hounded democrats since the 1970s. Culture is the shared knowledge, behavioral norms, values and beliefs that help people to live in families, groups and communities. It can be defined by religion, work, region, or some other status. For decades National Democrats stances on cultural issues have been detrimental to local democratic candidates. From Gun Control to Gay Marriage, those issues have had a trickle down effect on democrats who don't hold those views and thus these moderate/conservative democrats have to continue to fight back charges of they support gun control or favor marriage between the same sexes.
National Democrats: Like I said, National Democrats are out of step with majority of Georgians and in areas that are not as diverse, less populated and are conservative on social and economic grounds. Now being the realist that I am, democrats cannot not going to win every rural county in Georgia. Some they can definitely win, but the trick is not to lose some of these rural counties so badly which contribute to republican margin of victories in the last few election cycles. The question is how to appeal to rural voters in an election year without the benefit of having a president on the ballot who would spur turnout among democratic base voters of young, minority, college educated suburbanites. But to be successful, democrats should not be so eager to embrace the National Democrats and its politics. Develop your own brand of politics (case in point John Barrow & Joe Manchin)
White Bluecollar Voters: Despite all the talk about demographic changes coming to Georgia, Democrats cannot forget about White Bluecollar Voters. You still need them! Democrats need to win the support of this significant group of voters who are now part of the Republican coalition. A high number of white working class voters have historic ties with Georgia Democrats, even among those who currently vote Republican. Some have personal memories and others family traditions of past Democratic voting. No comparable connection or previous ideological affinity exists with today’s upper income or other Republican voters. While white workers are overwhelmingly cultural traditionalists they are not all conservatives. Despite the cliches of “conservative white workers” the group is actually divided, depending on the issues, with majorities being “populist” on some issues and conservative on others. So Dems cannot give up on this group and put all their eggs in the basket on minority voters who are not the most reliable bloc of voters out there.
Rural Black Voters are different that those from the Cities. They're no doubt the most socially conservative group of voters in Georgia, they're fiscally discipline, but economically liberal and some, not all, but some support school choice. In courting rural black voters, a candidate must run two campaigns. Word of Mouth (Barbershops, Churches) and the Airwaves. This approach is used everyone, but it is very important in small isolated communities in Rural Georgia