Sunday, March 16, 2014

Georgia Democratic Candidates & The Elusive 8-10%

If you're a democratic candidate here in Georgia, you'll automatically start out with 42-43% of the vote statewide. That's the floor for the democrats here in Georgia. That's a given! But what's more of a concern for democratic candidates is the other 8-10% of the vote that's proving to be elusive.

If look at recent polls, it shows both Michelle Nunn, candidate for the U.S. Senate & Jason Carter, candidate for governor hovering between 40-43%........but neither have advance above the 43% threshold and that's the root of the problem for democratic candidates nowadays in Georgia.

Many of those voters tend to be independent who lean conservative or are just straight independent voters. In my opinion, Zell Miller's 2004 Speech at the Republican National Convention contributed to independents and moderates voters switching from voting for democrats to republican (that's another story for another time)

So how can they capture the other 8-10 percent needed to win statewide contest.

Those voters, but not all of them, I think are conflicted about the role of government, that we know. But they don't like the partisanship coming from both sides. And they're afraid that the product ti come out of such a process will be too partisan, too driven by special interest.

Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter and other ballot democrats can appeal to the moderate republicans, conservative democrats if all can project a positive message in contrast of the doom and gloom, scare the hell out of you message being employed by the republicans because you better believe than Deal and whoever emerges in the republican primary for the U.S. Senate will be waging a negative  campaign filled with scare tactics & conspiracies. Now at some point they (dems) will have to go on the attack if some baseless accusation is hurled at them.

If they can come out talking positively, talking about the future of Georgia, etc, then they can begin to pickoff those voters that are critical for electoral success in November.

The narrative now is that Carter, Nunn has given Georgia Democrats a chance to come out of the wilderness and compete in statewide elections for the first time in over a decade & their star power gives them the opportunity to raise money, mobilize future voters and energize veteran democratic stalwarts who have been beaten down by years of losing at the ballot box.  The key for each of them, along with others like Chris Irvin (Agriculture Commissioner) Greg Hecht (Attorney General) & others is can they appeal to the state's centrist voters who either vote reoublican or simply sit out elections because they don;t like the choices on the ballot and can they build on momentum the party have to build a formidable statewide network?

But in order for democrats to be competitive, they need more than Nunn and Carter at the top of the ticket. Outside of those two, who else on the ballot can help strengthened and appeal to centrist/independent voters tired of the partisan games. It's a tossup, with the exception of Greg Hecht (who ran for Lt. Governor in 2006) the other candidates are first time candidates for statewide office. That's why its essential that Secretary of State candidate Gerald Beckum, a rural white conservative democrat emerge from the democratic primary who knows how to connect to the very voters democrats have had a hard time winning over & Robin Shipp, candidate for Labor Commissioner who have made several trips to middle and south Georgia since announcing her entry for Labor Commissioner) to continue engaging small town voters over the next 7 months.

The hope I think for the party is that these candidates have the ability to reach out to moderate republicans who are disgruntled with the right wing of the republican party, which is the Tea Party, as well as conservative democrats and Independents. Many of these voters long for a common-sense alternative, but need to feel comfortable electing a moderate who's not liberal and who is likely to differ from the National Democratic Party Platform on social issues which will reassure voters who consider those issues important. Then, with voters comfortable, these candidates can share their values and then talk about issues such as education, economic growth and the need for cooperation, which Michelle Nunn is stressing to voters as she travels the state.

They can tell voters they deserve a education system that doesn't cram as many children as possible into a classroom and they shouldn't have a senator, governor or a state legislature that do not view those at the bottom of the barrel of the economic ladder as prone to become dependent on government help if they expand social programs to assist them temporarily through economic hard times. They should have someone in D.C. or Atlanta that don't consider "Bi-partisanship" a dirty word.

To sum it all up: There is no winning here without appealing to independent voters, moderate republicans and conservative democrats. And there;s no winning without the base, which means capitulation doesn't work  Democrats like Jason Carter have to persuade voters in the middle that they can do a better job that the other occupants. Democrats need to make the case for common-sense solutions to problems facing voters here in the state. All too often some dismiss the arguments of the other side as worthless, crazy, stupid, and walk away leaving folks to believe what they hear on talk radio or Fox News which is a right-wing network. Democrats have to engage, they have to persuade, they have to listen to the crazy, out of the mainstream arguments and calmly refute them. That's how you reach voters in the middle.

It's how you change the wind and it's what they will have to do, because I can picture what every GOP candidate running will be talking about: Obamacare (which they are banking on as their meal ticket).....Taxes......Obamacare.......Liberal this.......Obamacare........Harry Reid........Liberal that.........Obamacare, you know the drill.

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