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
Monday, November 29, 2010
The Georgia Democratic Party after the 2010 elections: Start looking towards the Suburban and Rural Areas: Part 2
The areas that Republicans are strong in, the areas where they defeated Democrats in this election, are almost all rural or suburban areas. Democratic “strongholds” tend to be urban areas, and with that, the place where most progressives seem to be. Which is fine, except that it has unwittingly led to a set of blinders when it comes politics. Many progressives base their policy and program ideas from their experience – which is mostly urban.
In a Urban area, I probably could go to see a major league game in any one of several sports. Culturally, there are major libraries, museums, zoos, theaters, and concert halls. Thousands of restaurants with a wide range of cuisines, and a dizzying variety of shops and stores.
Further my education?
There could be several major universities and a number of colleges to choose from. If I needed medical care, there would thousands of doctors and dentists to choose from, and a number of major medical centers and hospitals. If I wanted to go to any of these, a short walk, a quick ride on the subway, or a bus ride would do the trick.
Contrast that with where I live now, no major league sports teams, 2 small libraries, 1 museum, no zoos, 1 small primary care clinics with limited hours and mostly staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, 1 dental office, no colleges, and 3-4 restaurants depending on the season. There is no mass transit, but do have cell phone coverage, and “walking distance” depends on how far you want to walk or if you happen to live near any of those. I do know the people who live near me, and I have "few" friends here who don’t share most of my interests. Majority of my friends have left the country & now are residing in cities like Atlanta, Warner Robins, Miami, Portland, Oregon & Cleveland, Denver.
One of the frequent complaints I’ve heard from progressives is wondering why various areas “vote against their own interests.” There are two reasons why this happens. First, they may be voting for their own interests, and second, they may be voting against you – the urban areas. I live in West Central Georgia, and in many ways, it’s a microcosm of what’s happening. Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, etc may be considered as “a lot of people crammed into a very small area” (Metro Atlanta) attached to a big, sparsely populated rural area – the rest of the state.
It’s referred to as Upstate and Downstate, and it’s been a source of tension FOR YEARS, IF NOT DECADES. Atlanta has half the population of the State, and because of that wields an enormous influence on state politics. It’s also overwhelmingly Democratic. The result is that the Democratic Party is often seen as consisting of “Atlanta liberals,” and in a reflexive countering, Upstate & downstate has tended to go Republican. They’ve also had experiences with “bright ideas” that either don’t fit or go awry. In other words, just because urban progressives think it’s a good idea, it may not be from the rural standpoint. That’s the problem, so how can it be changed? There are several things that can be done.
First and foremost, listen to the locals.
No matter how “Red” an area appears, there are progressives there, and there is a Democratic Party. Policies that may be terrific ideas for urban areas can be irrelevant to the rural areas. Policies developed for rural areas in urban areas may not be practical – or have the opposite effect from what was intended. What policies will work should either lead to additions or changes. A “one size fits all” prescription may not fit at all. The people who are telling you this are not necessarily “obstructionist” or “insufficiently progressive.” They’re trying to help.
Second, support the local parties.
You may live in an area with a large, powerful Democratic Party, where there are lots of progressive interest groups, and you can get together on a regular basis. Fund-raising is generally not too much of a problem. Rural parties tend to be small, widely dispersed, and lacking in resources. They’re the ones who are on the ground, recruiting candidates, running campaigns, and trying to get the message out. Giving them access to resources to help them do that is often not that expensive, but does build the Party in those areas.
Third, watch the rhetoric.
Many of the catch-phrases used by urban progressives grate on the nerves of the rural population. It’s not seen by them as someone trying to help them, it’s seen as someone attacking them. When progressives rant about “corporate agriculture,” “agribusiness,” and “factory farms,” the progressives may think they mean large corporations like Tyson, Monsanto, and Cargill, while being for “family farms.” The peanut farmers in SW Georgia or the dairy farmers in Eastern Georgia read the rants, descriptions, know they’re the “family farm” and feel you’re describing them. Blanket descriptions of people in various areas in derogatory terms isn’t calculated to make them want to listen to you.
Finally, be in it for the long haul.
The political “complexion” of an area doesn’t change overnight. It’s great to have a message that fits the area, support the local party, and addresses concerns. But there’s an inertia , a tradition that takes time to overcome. Many of the young people starting out today are voting Democratic, but their parents grew up voting Republican – or were driven to the Republican Party. That took time to happen and it’s not going to change in one or two elections. I said this to some progressives before the election: “You weren’t here before, and you won’t be here after this. What makes you think we’re going to listen to you?” While you need to listen to us, you have to be there for them to listen to you.
Dems want to take back the legislature & governor's office & to re-build the Democratic Party? You need to get out of the city and move to the country.
Got that out of your system yet? If so, good! We have work to do. If not, then hurry it up. We have work to do.
I’m not irrational. I’m simply seeing things very clearly. I think I understand exactly what caused voters to choose as they did, and it’s far from simple. But the answer to what we, as Democrats, need to do to reverse those voter choices is quite simple, although it’s far from easy. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of time, and most importantly, a relentlessly positive attitude. It’s going to require us to believe in our own power to succeed even when the odds seem stacked against us.
There was no one magical thing that Republicans did to win so many of the elections a few weeks ago. They did it with empty promises, backed by no specifics or utter nonsense (“We’ll reduce the deficit by lowering taxes.”) and an epic tsunami of corporate money that was funneled through groups that, I suspect, will someday once again be legally barred from funding political campaign ads as they did this year.
Let's face it people, republicans won by utilizing a massive media machine that masquerades as a “news network,” but which most of us recognize as the unofficial propaganda apparatus of the Republican party. Some have said they won by igniting, fueling, and ultimately harnessing the inarticulate rage of a class of people who are fundamentally ignorant about politics, economics, social justice, and our political process and governmental procedures.
Then they used the misery and suffering of the general population – which they themselves caused and prolonged – to amplify their campaign message, which boiled down to “Democrats did it! Don’t vote for them!”
None of these tactics is appropriate for Democrats to adopt and modify as their own. They are not going to defeat the destructive, negative influence of the Republican party by becoming a mirror image of it. And more importantly, they don’t have to do that to win. No way the party need a liberal Fox News and they don’t need to pump the American people full of lies that cast Republicans as villains and Democrats as knights on white chargers.
All we need to do is tell the truth.
Now, I can hear some of you already shouting in response that “We already did that! We told the truth, but the people couldn’t hear us over the sound of Fox News and Glenn Beck and the tea party rallies! The people believed the lies because that’s all they were hearing!” And you’re right about that. Therein lies the real problem – that the American people aren’t hearing us.
But the answer is not to get a bigger megaphone. I think this election made it pretty clear that corporate America is almost entirely in the Republican corner. Any megaphone Dems build is going to be dwarfed by the one they can buy. Theirs will always be bigger, fancier, and louder. But they won’t need a megaphone anyway, because we’re going to reach the people by talking to them. One at a time.
People don’t want Republicans or Democrats. They want people with real answers to real problems. They want someone to hear their pleas for help and respond with actions that make their lives better. They will elect anyone who seems to get what they are going through and has ideas that make sense to them. This year, they went mostly with Republicans because of that messaging infrastructure they have. But Dems messaging structure will be even more powerful.
What Dems must do is to meet people where they are. They can’t judge them for their views, whether they are tea party or lifelong Republicans or libertarians or whatever. They need to get out among them and help them. If they are down, they should help them up. If they have a problem, they should work alongside them to help solve it. They will teach them by example what it means to be a Democrat; that “liberal” is not a dirty word; that “progressive” is not an epithet & that "conservative", yes, "conservative democrats" have a place in the party as well. (Or I hope they still do)
This is going to take patience, it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take hard work. The temptation to lecture people will be overwhelming, but that’s not what will win them over. They can’t win elections by arguing with the people, because most of the population has forgotten or never learned the art of debate. They think what they think because they have been appealed to emotionally; logic and reason were contorted to serve the emotional purpose. Dems can’t tell them what to think, but we can show them who and what we really are. And in the end, that will be the key.
Dems spent the past two years fretting over what the Republicans have done, laughing at the ignorance of the tea party people (some are ignorant, but not all), and browbeating our elected Democrats for their perceived failures. But what dems need to understand is that this administration and this Democratic Congress have faced a combination of obstacles unprecedented in our history.
They were up against a corporate media machinery that served Republicans interests far more often than it served up the truth, plus the exhorbitantly partisan voice of Fox News. They were up against a Republican party that publicly decided not to help govern, but instead fought every every single bill that would have aided the economy or made life easier for suffering constituents. They were up against a corporate conspiracy that not only laid off far more workers than necessary when the recession hit, but deliberately failed to start rehiring when it ended, thus keeping the economy weakened and prolonging the misery of voters in my opinion.
And Democrats were up against a conservative “grassroots” movement that has been carefully nurtured and extravagantly bankrolled by billionaires intent on keeping America the promised land for corporations and the ultraric. I think dems fell into polarization mode – which is perfectly understandable and expected – but that in doing so, we played right into the hands of the Republican puppetmasters.
But this isn’t all a bunch of hippy-dippy, kumbaya crap. There are very pragmatic, concrete things to be gained by keeping the message positive. For one thing, it’s a lot more efficient – maintaining a negative attitude and constantly attacking uses far more energy. It also takes a spiritual toll and tends to make one petty, mean, and embittered. I think they can all agree that petty, mean, embittered people are far less attractive to others, less fun to be around. And that brings me to another practical concern: young people
Young people are much more likely to be motivated to take part in politics – as activists, and even as voters – when there is positive energy. One look at a tea party rally should tell you that; how many young adults do you typically see there? And young people turned out in droves to organize, politic, and vote in 2008. Why? Because Barack Obama’s positive message and energy inspired them. I’m not a young person, but that’s what drew me in.
It worked in 2008, and it will work now. Notice that I didn’t say “it will work in 2012.” Dems can’t wait for official campaigning to begin our new ground game. If we want to educate voters about the realities of Democratic policies, we have to start now. Where do we start? Well, there’s a meeting of my county Democratic party next week. I’m going to attend. That will be the first time I’ve ever done that.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sloan is a graduate of LaGrange High School & attends Ashford University majoring in Politicasl Science & History.
Sally Rosser, who is currently the Vice-Chairman of Congressional Districts & County Liason has not said whether or not she will seek the post again.
One position to keep a watch on is the Vice-Chair for Candidate Recruitment held by State Rep Winfred Dukes (D-Albany). If there is anyone who doesn't need to hold a position such as this that is Dukes himself.
With the GOP now controlling every constitutional office in the state, increased majorities in the house & senate they now have total control of state government for the first time since 1868.
With 112 members in the house, the republicans are only 8 members shy of a "super majority" with several democrats switching parties last week.
Jubilant over their landslide victory in every statewide office of one State Senate seat & five State House Seats, republican leaders up in Atlanta face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority over the state.
Their energetic conservative base is eager to implement right-wing policies and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections.
But if Republicans overreach and ultimately deliver little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time for the 2041 elections. Even though Republicans will command a significant majority in the House, many of the GOP initiatives that have or will be rolled out will represent incremental steps rather than bold reforms.
State Republicans may think that the elections were a mandate for policies such as the implementation of School Vouchers for example. No one knows what the Georgia GOP has in store for the people of this great state, but by judging by their past legislative accomplishments, it will not be in the best interest of Georgians.
Over the next 2-4 years, democrats here need to be getting their house in order to make one more & possibly last strong run at the Georgia GOP. How will the new liberal leadership of Abrams, Hughley & McKillip in the house go about things, that remains to be seen.
But if the Georgia GOP overreach & its likely they will & democrats do not capitalize on it, by educating the voters & why this or that piece of legislation is not in their best interest, then all hope is lost & the party might as well cease to exist.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This is a job that pays nothing, let me repeat, nothing! You're basically working for free.
Yesterday Current Chairwoman Jane Kidd sent word that elections for new Chairman, First Vice Chair & a whole host of other seats will take place on Jan 29.
It is a difficult job especially when your party is in the minority & none from your party are holding any statewide offices.
Having said that, this party needs someone who's financially stable (remember the job pays zero), someone who has the necessary leadership skills, who has ran, or lead a organization, business, etc. Someone who has a no-nonsense personality & who can stand up to different factions in the party, Someone who has a winning attitude.
I thought this & three people comes to mind:
(1) Former Secretary of State, Adjuntant General of the Ga National Guard David Poythress
(2) Former Congressman, Mayor Jim Marshall
(3) My wild card pick, Former Mayor, USAF Veteran Carl Camon
All three men have track records of success. Each bring something different to the table, neither are tied to the current democratic establishment & all have strong personalities that would benefit the party going down the road towards 2012 & beyond.
Each person may well run for public office again in the future, Marshall may run for governor or the US Senate in 2014, Camon may run for a State Senate or statewide seat (he's only 41) & Poythress may make another crack for governor, who knows.
But in the meantime, from 2011 til 2014 one of these individuals can begin to lay the foundation for future success of the party going forward.
Not to say that other potential candidates for the job won't measure up, it just these men have what it takes to get the ball rolling. Now its just a question of persuading each of them to consider running for the job, which isn't easy!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
In fact, what happened was worse than the 1994 GOP takeover of the House of Representatives, because it was so unexpected. In 1994, the Democrats had a President in the White House, the President had some baggage, and the President's party always loses seats in the off-year elections. This time, not only did the President's party lose seats in the off-year elections, it managed to lose over 60+ seats.
In other words, every single sign on the horizon indicated that the democrats would lose seats in this election, and the Democrats would retain control of the Senate. Instead, the Republicans ended up with increased control of the House, and control of more than half the state governments besides
Okay. Democrats don't think everybody who votes Republican does so by mistake. There are some people, rich people, who know what they're doing, because the Republican Party truly represents their interests. It makes sense for rich people to vote Republican, because the Republicans are the party of the rich. That is the god-given truth. They're in favor of cutting taxes on billionaires and in some cases gutting the public school system to pay for it.
That's okay with the billionaires, because billionaires don't send their children to public schools. Billionaires like Republican policy on the environment, too, and on free trade, and on health care. They wouldn't use government health insurance even if it existed, free trade fattens their bank accounts, and they can afford to move away from the environmental messes they make to pricey pristine enclaves like Maui.
No, the trouble, the confusion, the angst, is over those other people who vote Republican, the ones who make it possible for Republicans to win elections. Those people were once, and sometimes still are, called "Reagan Democrats," because back in 1980 they left the Democratic Party to vote in droves for Ronald Reagan--white, working class men and women, "angry white males" and traditionalist housewives, whose underlying motivations were racism, antifeminism, and fear of change.
We knew those were their motives because, well, why else would they have elected a man who couldn't think his way out of a paper bag and didn't try to hide his ties to union busting moguls.
The Reagan Democrats have been joined by millions of middle class men and women who say all the right things when they're taking part in focus groups: "more money for public education! do something about health care insurance! we want a cleaner environment! what gay people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is their own business!" and then go out and vote Republican anyway.
Time after time. Election after election. They do this in spite of the fact that, on many issues, they seem to be getting more liberal with every election cycle. Back in the supposedly much more liberal 1960s, you could never have gotten a majority of Americans to say that gay men and women shouldn't be discriminated against in housing or employment. Now they say it all the time, and conservative religious groups trying to repeal or defeat anti-discrimination ordinances find themselves routed more often than not. The same is true on a host of other "social" issues: working mothers, divorce, sex outside marriage, abortion. The same is true on economic issues.
They support public schools and would like to see public schools get more money. They're suspicious of school vouchers and downright phobic on the subject of privatizing Social Security.
They think the government should do something to make sure all Americans have access to health care.
Then they must have been duped by the media. They must not be able to understand their own interests. They must be uneducated, or irrational, or so brainwashed by religious fundamentalism that they do just what their preachers tell them, like robots or sheep being led to slaughter.
They must be something, because they cannot possibly be voting Republican on purpose and with their eyes wide open. It all has to be a mistake.
This is the place where you expect me to announce that the theme of this essay is how the Democrats have to learn to accept that people are voting Republican because they want to, not because they've been duped--and I do want to say that, but I want to throw a little caution in here first.
The problem is that when Democrats have tried to accept the fact that people vote Republican because the Republicans are giving them something the Democrats are not, they've done so by descending into a frenzy of irrationality, ignoring the polls, ignoring the focus groups, ignoring reality itself in order to decide--on the basis of God only knows what--that no matter what people say, what they want is market-based health care insurance, education vouchers that take tax money away from public schools.
What nobody has yet been able to force himself to face is this: since 1968, there has been only one issue in any race for national office, and it hasn't been social security, or the welfare state, or race relations, or union busting, or gays in the military, or corporate greed
It's been elitism!
If elections have been about elitism, you say, then the Democrats should have a solid lock not only on the White House, but on both houses of Congress. It's the Republicans who are the party of elitism. They're the party that serves the interests of the sort of people who live in mansions on the North Shore and vacation by renting entire villas in Crete. They're the party that cuts the taxes of fat cats and puts the burden of public funding on the middle class
And they're winning, by and large, by presenting themselves to the American public as the voice of ordinary middle class people, fighting the good fight against a Democratic party entirely under the sway of Ivy League college professors, upper middle class professionals, cultural snobs and stridently hysterical movie stars.
What's more, the American public has bought it. Go take a look at the archives of message boards and Usenet newsgroups where people discussed the election when it was over. The theme is echoed again and again and again. Go take a look at any collection of right-wing magazines, from The Weekly Standard to The National Review. The theme is always the same. The Democrats are the party of the elites, and the elites despise you
Republicans are good at trashing people, but at least they're careful not to trash the people whose votes they need to get into office. If they send a few zingers at Harry Reid, they know in advance that the people who identify with her were never going to vote Republican anyway. We turn around and fire on our own troops.
Democrats don't need to abandon their convictions about public schools, or health care, or gay rights, or even the separation of church and state. We do need to learn to respect that born-again construction worker for his religious commitment, instead of treating it as a disease we'll cure him of if we ever get him tied down long enough, or as a distraction that can be finessed by pledging allegiance "under God" on national television. We need to rework our image as the party of the kind of people who are just so...pained...at the spectacle of people eating at McDonald's after coming out of the latest Michael Douglas movie.
We need to accept the fact that people can oppose the things we favor without being stupid, venal, duped or brainwashed. We need to address the concerns behind the positions, and we can't do that if we define those concerns as being irrational and illegitimate on their face.
Monday, November 15, 2010
What happened to the old Democratic Party? Bring back the party of Truman, Roosevelt before its too late.
I'm not old enough to remember, but I always hear about the Democratic Party's "Glory Days", those days which have slipped away, days when the Democrats led the country out of "The Great Depression" with a bank holiday, the W.P.A., the C.C.C.,the P.W.A., the N.R.A., and I don't know how many other alphabet combinations.
It was Democrats who created the minimum wage. They were always in the forefront where labor gains were concerned. But nowadays days are not "glory days." It was Democrats who fought for Social Security, civil rights, and Medicare. Social equality is still a claimed Democrat priority, but these aren't the "glory days."
Environment is a contentious issue, and when there is a conflict between environment and profit, Democrats defend environment. The other guys defend profit. Preservation is a higher purpose than making money, but that doesn't make these the "glory days."
Democrats improved the economy and and achieved a deficit reduction during the Clinton years.
They enacted a crime bill in spite of heavy opposition, but those were not the "glory days."
Why not? And why so many defections from the working middle class which has benefitted so much from past Democrat effort? What's missing?
Nothing is missing. Something has been added: a form of immorality. In its zeal to be all things to all people,the Party has tried to become all-inclusive and the voters' perception of the Party has changed. Many of the faithful have deserted their Party because they can't stomach their fellow travelers. Some have a deep-rooted moral aversion to abortion. Some believe the rights of law-abiding citizens have been subordinated in favor of predatory felons. Most abhor and are disgusted by social acceptance of sodomy and other deviant sexual practices. Their consciences force them to reevaluate ptriorities.
Rightly or wrongly, a very large number of defectors believe that permissive liberalism is responsible for moral decay, bastard babies, proliferation of drugs, crime and pornography, unwarranted welfare, suppression of public prayer, and practically evry other social evil. In their minds, lurks a simple equation. Democrat equals liberal, atheist, permissive, criminal-coddling, homosexual, and abortion.
I recognize the problem, but I don't think desertion is a viable solution. The country needs two strong opposing parties. It needs a healthy, moral Democratic Party. The Party must be retaken by Moderate and Conservative Democrats and former Democrats.
Sometimes when I listen to members of the GOP country club elite, I come to believe that the true meaning of G.O.P. is Greed, Oppression, and Profit. Those who deep down believe that must not be silent, passive observers. We owe it to ourselves to reclaim our party.
Letters to the editors, call-in radio shows, probing questions put to candidates in the primaries, direct correspondence with elected representatives, and most important,the vote, are all tools capable of reshaping the Party.
Our Democratic Party has a shining past. We must not abandon it to the special interest fringes with immoral agendas. Let's take it back!
The thought of the State of Georgia seceding from the Union undermines the strength of the Union itself. However, the thought of the State of Georgia's Democratic Party seceding from the National Democratic Party might strengthen our party and our state. Instead of the National Democratic Party defining what its mission is, it has been defined by its association with characters and ideals of immorality, that has subsequently led to its ineffectiveness and decline.
The Democratic Party has seeming become the "poster child" for do what you want to do, it's alright, rather than standing up for moral principles; the very ones that this country was founded upon. President George Washington said, "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." That great patriotic and noble General knew what would happen if our country strayed away from morality.
I am not insinuating that the Democratic Party is the only party that has all but denounced morality, but I am making it very clear that it has not held up the torch for it. As a result of this direction, the party has lost and continues to lose its base of support. As an Educator, I have learned that any time you get rid of an undesirable behavior, you are to replace it with a desirable one. Our party's undesirable behavior has led some to sever their affiliation with the Democratic Party all together, therefore leading them to defect to other parties; those that are more aligned with their values and beliefs.
The key words here are "more aligned", because no one party has a monopoly on religion, morality or values, however, some take pride in being more aligned and have the commonsense and respect to at least acknowledge that those tried and true elements are crucial to our state and our nation's successful existence.
There are grassroots movements such as the Tea Party, which in the past few years have taken a stand against big government and the degradation of the moral principles by those elected officials who are sworn to uphold them. Their solution seems to be packaged in the form of preserving "States Rights". I support the idea of States Rights, when viewed in the scope of morality and applied without prejudice to all Americans. It's hard to do, but I am even willing to partially dismiss the notion that the sudden rise in the Tea Party's popularity is due to the election of President Barack Obama, but is rather attributed to the culmination of many years of political corruption and failure to adhere to the wishes of the people. I hope and pray that this is their true motive.
The Republican Party is not comprised of all ballerinas and altar boys either, but even in the midst of the infighting they have somehow managed to sway voters because of their stand on religious principles. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are all religious, but I commend the party for taking a stand. Until the Democratic Party concedes and admits the errors of its ways, we will continue to experience this great falling away of once diehard supporters. Many democrats may disagree with me and that's perfectly okay, but they can't deny the fact that I am a democrat talking about the Democratic Party, not a Republican talking about the Democratic Party.
They can, as we say in South Georgia, "pitch a fit", if they want to, but they were not the only ones who stood in frigid cold weather for hours, in Washington D.C., as President Obama was sworn in. I was there, just a few hundred feet away. I have served on the local, state, and national levels in various capacities, and have worn the democratic badge proudly, so I think I should be able to voice my opinions, even if they seem to be critical. I have served my country in the United States Military to preserve these very freedoms and I will not rest until the beliefs that our country was founded upon are restored.
I can only hope and pray that President Barack Obama has the audacity to refocus his efforts on shoring up our country's moral principles, and not allow Gay Rights Groups, Pro-Abortion Groups, and acts Greed manifested in the form of Corporate Interests, to define his Presidency. If the head of our country is distracted by these issues, what kind of message are we sending to the rest of the world? These restoration efforts need to come quickly, especially if I am expected to cast my vote for him in 2012. We can no longer be bound by party descriptions, but we have to be led by our own moral convictions.
We can't rely on ourselves to make it happen, because we are too busy fighting each other. We have to become that nation that was once known as the "In God We Trust" nation. We even have that phrase printed on our money, but it's sad that many no longer have that trust. If we don't hurry up and find it, we'll end up fulfilling just what President George Washington said, "Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government." My message is first to the Democratic Party of Georgia, and that is, if our party has to secede from the National Democratic Party to preserve our morality and restore our rightful place in our state, then so be it. Secondly, my message to all parties is, it's time that we ensure that the voices of all the people are heard at the highest level of government, and that government be brought back home to the people, where it belongs
By Carl Camon, Ed.S.
Former Democratic Primary Candidate for Governor of Georgia - 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The party, the Georgia Democratic Party, once was one of the strongest democratic parties in the entire South since the days of reconstruction has now fallen on extremely hard times as it continues to lose the few remaining rural democrats to the Georgia GOP.
First Alan Powell, then Bob Hanner & Gerald Greene. Now Amy Carter & Ellis Black has jumped ship over to the ever strengthening Georgia GOP, making it 113 to 66. That's a 47 seat margin for the Georgia GOP.
Only 4 rural democrats remain in the democratic caucus.
For decades the democrats held on to power despite other southern states going republican due to the strong hand, or iron fisted rule of the late Tom Murphy, who managed to keep together the fragile coalition of Black Urban & White Rural Democrats toegther.
138 years ago (1872,) James M. Smith (D-Columbus) became governor, which symbolized the end of Reconstruction and the "redemption" of the Democratic Party in Georgia. And every since then the state elected democrats for governor ranging from the former Confederate States of America president Alexander H Hamilton (1882-1883) to a former school dropout in Lester Maddox (1967-1971)
With this past tueday night's election drubbing, the "Old-Guard" conservative Georgia Democratic Party is now officially dead & now a new more centrist democratic party has to be built from the ground up
Can the party rebuild the coalition it once had which spanned over a 40 year period? Yes, but it remains to be seen
Yesterday the caucus elected new leadership in the form of Stacey Abrams, Carolyn Hughley, Doug McKillip, Rashad Taylor, Debbie Buckner, Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield. (Buckner is the only center-right leader in the group). Will Abrams be up for the job? Will the new;y elected caucus leadership call out the GOP when they stray too far to the right on certain issues? We'll see.
One reason that may have led to the quick demise of the party was the hard fought battle of Terry Coleman (D-Eastman) & Larry Walker (D-Perry) for Speaker in 2002 after Murphy was defeated by re-districting.
You have to wonder had Walker become Speaker & not Coleman, then its possible that democrats would have never lost control of the house. Well we'll never know & that's water under the bridge.
The party is represented by most black members from majority-minority districts & these members now have to step up their game. No longer they can just sit back & let the likes of DuBose Porter, Cal Smyre carry the water.
I doubt that they will. Seriously!
One, the GOP doesn't respect the black members of that legislative body. & two, none of them have gravitas to go up against any member of the GOP.
But keep an eye on newly elected State Rep. Dar'Shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) as a potential early leader for the democratic party, as well as J. Craig Gordon (D-Savannah).
What does the future holds for the Porters of Laurens County?
Porter (DuBose) gave his seat to run a unsuccessful campaign for governor. He is, in my opinion the next democrat in line to take a stab at another run for governor in 2014 against Nathan Deal, or whoever.
Let's not forget he's only 57 years old, so he still has some political life left in him since this was his first run for statewide office.
He ran a impressive grassroots campaign, but he couldn't beat the deep pocket donors of Roy Barnes in his bid to become the democratic nominee. Plus being minority leader at the time in the legislature, he didn't have the time to get his message out there to the people.
He's a graduate of Davidson College, interned for then US Senator Sam Nunn, he served as Administration Floor Leader in the House of Representatives to Governor Zell Miller. In January 2003, Porter was elected Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives.
I asked a question yesterday would the result been different had Porter was the nominee against Nathan Deal? Probably, but who knows?
Porter is in prime positon to make another run for governor in 2014, but its a question whether or not he will.
Then there's his dynamic wife & former Lt. Governor Carol Porter who came out of nowhere to make a strong run at Casey Cagle, garnering around 42% of the vote for a so-called novice candidate.
She wowed crowds with her fiery speeches, got high praise from unlikely republican supporters such as Macon CityCouncilman Erick Erickson of Redstate.Com. She stepped up when no other democrat was willing to challenge Casey Cagle because let's face it, it was "FEAR" that kept some other dems from challenging Cagle. Despite being unsuccessful, she has left a built in infrastructure for another run for office in 2014 as well, possibly for governor, Lt. Governor or another office down the line.
2010 elections was one of those rare instances that only happen every so-often, so 2014 could be the year that these two strong, viable candidates can resuscitate the party once & for all.
Looking at the Democratic Bench, there isn't much to work with:
Other Possibilities are:
David Adelman, ex-State Senator & current US Ambassador of Singapore
Ed Tarver, ex-State Senator & U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Let's face it, the School Voucher issue is about politics. Nothing else!
12 years ago, Grover Norquist, one of the most influential Republican strategists said in a 1998 interview with Insight , the magazine of the conservative Washington Times, has long recognized the partisan value of vouchers, sometimes euphemistically referred to as "choice." "School choice reaches right into the heart of the Democratic coalition and takes people out of it.
The teacher unions back up their support for the Democratic Party with money and grassroots organization. After all, public schools exist in every municipality and county in the state. Unlike manufacturing, teaching cannot be outsourced to Mexico, China, or Bangladesh.
School vouchers are a way to diminish that power. "School choice allows children and money to leave the system, and that means there will be fewer public teacher jobs, lower union membership, and lower dues. It's long been obvious that vouchers are an attack on teacher unions. The main motivation of some of the choice supporters was to weaken public education unions. Another thing, eliminating public education may seem un-American. but a growing number of movement conservatives have signed a so-called proclamation from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State that favors ending government involvement in education.
While universal vouchers remain the goal, for tactical reasons conservatives have wrapped vouchers in the mantle of concern for poor African Americans and Latinos. Indeed,some voucher supporters are fond of calling school choice the new civil rights movement. This plays well not only with voters of color but also with liberal suburban whites who, while they may be leery of allowing significant numbers of minorities into their schools, nonetheless support the concept of equal rights for all.
Even if Republicans fail to woo African Americans and Latinos to the Republican Party, they may dampen African American and Latino voter turnout--a neutralization strategy, as it were. The Republican emphasis on vouchers runs the risk of alienating moderate Republicans who support public education. Such support is strong not only in rural areas where public schools are a vital part of the community and private schools are few, but also in suburban communities with strong, well-funded public schools.
But that won't stop conservatives , who view vouchers as a key ingredient in their effort to "downsize" government services. "The problem is that the federal government hands out billions of dollars, and people will lie, cheat, steal, or bribe to get it.
If you have a big cake, and you put it under the sink and then you wonder why the cockroaches are in your kitchen, I don't think any sprays or blocking the holes in the walls are going to get rid of the cockroaches. You've got to throw the cake in the trash so that the cockroaches don't have something to come for."
The people of Georgia do not view public schoolteachers and students as cockroaches. The overwhelming majority strongly support public schools. They don't want them dismantled; they just want them to work better.
But you can expect that with a increased majority in both Chambers & with Nathan Deal in control of the mansion, the thought of school vouchers maybe one step close to reality.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) & Bob Hanner (R-Parrot) both joined Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) as the latest democrats to switched parties making it 111 republicans & 69 Democrats.
Greene & Hanner are my favorite dems & I wish them well. Politically it makes sense for them to do so. Only Mike Cheokas, Rick Crawford, Ellis Black, Amy Carter, Barbara Massey Reese & Sistie Hudson, Debbie Buckner are the only remaining White Rural Democrats remaining. (Hudson turned down overtures to switch parties, so my hats off to her)
Like I said before, the democratic party is becoming more blacker, & more liberal, while the republican party is becoming more conservative & whiter.
Democrats can't afford to lose its remaining 7 White Rural Democrats. Boy this is bad!
There has been some indications that Jane Kidd, current chairwoman of the party might run again.
Then there was State Senator Robert Brown who openly suggested that he'll support former Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond for the job.
Then there GADCC president Mike Berlon who has been endorsed by Carol Porter, who Berlon worked as campaign manager.
There likely will be more names to come to the surface as Januray approaches.
Over the last couple of days I have brought up the names of Former Macon Mayor, Congressman & Vietnam Veteran Jim Marshall & former Ray City Mayor, USAF & Gulf War Veteran Carl Camon as possible contenders for the job.
Its time for the party to go outside the box & select someone who's not tied to the establishment, nor the current regime up on Spring Street.
The person has to be able t0 (1) Raise Cash (2) Build & Organize a Democratic Grassroots Organization Statewide (3) Usher in new people with fresh ideas & a vision for the future of the party & so on...........
One person who would fit that bill is Ted Terry of Savannah, who is the Finance Director for Congressman John Barrow & a former DNC Member who helped Organize Democrats on the ground in Georgia. He has worked on four consecutive winning campaigns for Barrow over in the conservative-leaning 12th District
Gen. David Poythress is also someone who would be a great fit at the job. He has a track record of turning around troubled organizations such as the Georgia National Guard, the Labor Commissioner's Office, etc. He ran a strong grassroots campaign, receiving donations from all of Georgia's 159 counties. He is a strong leader & would immediatelt command the respect of those inside the party & most definitely rock the boat at Spring Street.
But we won't know until its time to elect new party officers for the party, so stay tuned!
Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta)
*Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone)
Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus)
*Doug McKillip (D-Athens)
Brian Thomas (D-Lilburn)
Sharon Beasley-Teague (D-Atlanta)
*Carol Fullerton (D-Albany)
Ralph Long (D-Atlanta)
Nikki Randall (D-Macon)
Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta)
Chief Deputy Whip Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain)
*Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City)
Sheila Jones (D-Smyrna)
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta)
Monday, November 8, 2010
Georgia Democrats need a "Rural Strategy" aimed at the "Sticks", the "Boonies" to ensure its Survival in 2012
Rural Georgia's priorities have been overlooked in Atlanta. In the state legislature and governor’s mansion with significant rural components, the focus typically remains on urban, suburban and (now) ex-urban counties “where the votes are.”
Particularly in the post-Georgia nomination period, the political attention typically moves away from the concerns of rural caucus-goers to focus on the concerns of suburban primary voters.
There are elements in place that suggest more opportunity than in recent years to change the debate on rural issues and refocus the state on the rural agenda. But I highly doubt that Nathan Deal & his cohorts will have rural Georgia high on top of their list.
Many Democratic pundits seem inclined to write-off the rural Portions of the state to eternal Republican control. This is a serious misreading of the current political situation and likely future trends in the South. The inspired 159 County Strategy, which never really came to fruition is a much better approach. It will take more time and resources to show impressive results. It should be given more time and a much higher political priority.
But will the 159 County Strategy work? There are some counties that are so republican, that it will have to take hell freezing over for a democrat to win in that area.
So something like a 140 County Strategy maybe a better option.
In many Georgia rural counties, the Democratic Party lacks the infrastructure needed to win campaigns. Strong Democratic area around the state should partner with a struggling southern rural county Democratic Party to help them raise money, develop public relations operations, candidate recruitment programs and GOTV machinery. Small contribution of resources in those areas should show dramatic results in future elections.
Democrats need to help local Democratic Parties take on Republican incumbents like State Senator Ross Tollson of Perry, State Rep. Penny Houston of Nashville and Buddy Harden of Cordele. A Democratic political message that highlights economic bread and butter issues in a populist form can help Democrats win in Georgia. Democrats need to aggressively publicize Republican hypocrisy on moral issues. Democrats need to crusade against legal and illegal corruption in government. It is important for Democrats to respond to Republican lies on issues like guns, religious freedom and taxes. Georgia Democrats need to define themselves instead of letting Republicans define them.
Republican rural votes in the past have offset Democratic votes in urban areas. If Democrats want to win statewide elections they need to be competitive in rural areas.
Even though rural voters may still consider themselves as very conservative, this is an appropriate time for Georgia Democrats (despite what happened on Tuesday Night) to up the ante and attract more rural votes for the upcoming elections.
Believe it or not, I have always disagreed with those who propose that, for Democrats to win in Georgia, we must offer only conservative candidates. (Centrist candidates have won in this state & still can win here this state). I believe that Georgia's voters are ready, willing, and able to support candidates that will take a firm stand on traditional Democratic values and ideals.
There is nothing at all wrong with what we believe in, it is just that we’ve sat on our duffs and allowed the Republicans to frame us as something we are not. It is time for us to stand up and fight for what we believe in. The voters of Georgia will respect us only if we respect ourselves.
We need more state senators, more state house members, more county commissioners and more mayors. For example, here in Georgia, we cannot just focus on those areas where we have historically won, we need to expand our sphere of influence into typically Republican areas. Democratic donors and PAC's must resist the urge to focus all of their resources on the "sexiest" of the races in the State. Democrats must realize that the end goal of gaining a Democratic majority in the State House is our number one priority.
Introducing the "Rural Strategy"
In order to promote Democratic policies in our state legislatures we need to realize that even the rural seats have a vote in the legislature and each seat we win takes us one seat closer to a majority. In an effort to embrace full disclosure I may be biased as I am running in a predominately rural district but I truly believe Democratic donors and PAC's should consider embracing a new "rural strategy".
The theory behind the rural strategy is based in the idea that we have a limited amount of resources to put into winning seats around the state and need to maximize our yield in number of seats we can win. Which sounds simple enough but in practice we as Democrats have not been good at embracing this idea.
So you may ask "what does this basic idea about party politics have to do with a rural strategy?"Republicans have been particularly skilled at realizing the high yield that comes from throwing their money into rural house seats. (For example, they threw $80,000 behind Tony McBrayer in his run for HD 153 to beat back favorite John Tibbetts, a democrat). The Republicans have a majority in the Georgia House by heavily funding candidates in rural seats often saturating the small burghs of Central Georgia with scores of paid "volunteers." Though some may not agree with this tactic the fact is that it works.
Here is the reason this strategy is so effective, rural races are generally less expensive than those in more urban and suburban districts. These races are often cheaper for two important reasons:
First, broadcast advertising is much cheaper in rural districts. For instance local broadcasting on the local NBC affiliate during prime time in a rural district is 10-20% of the cost of advertising in a market like Augusta or Atlanta. Additionally, each ad purchased in a rural district is more likely to hit a prospective voter in that same district as opposed to a more urban district where you are forced to purchase ad time that will target viewers from multiple districts.
Second, rural races are often cheaper as the overall contribution level of the people in rural district's tends to be much lower. These two factors which lead to a lower overall cost of these rural races results in each extra dollar coming from outside the district having a much higher yield than one given to a contentious race in an urban or suburban area.
We have to be present with a compelling message in small towns and rural areas, "If we don't make the message, we can't complain when we're demonized, cartoonized as aliens."
We can’t win if we play on the home field they’ve rigged. It is folly to try, but we can’t seem to resist and they lead us by the nose. To reach Georgians, first we need to think about and be clear about the principles that are fundamental to us and to all Georgians. We need to get creative about how we express them in values-based language they “get”. And we need to be original about how we get our message out to them.
We can’t trot out some Democratic version of the 1994 Contract on America , been there, done that! We can’t get the attention of the media by press conferences or by reading speeches to an empty Senate chamber. This means giving up equivocation and taking some risk and giving up some ways of doing things that are familiar. And it means not trying to out-Republican the Republicans on Tax Cuts and on media control for example. We must not play on their home field, it will always give them the advantage!
So let’s turn to Deep strategy, those things that help level the playing field fairly & new approaches to how we take our message to the people -- this has two components:
Changing the way the system works to level the playing field
Using new and different ways to take our message to the people
Rural voters bristle at the fact that in urban America, their chosen pastimes are considered backward, the punch lines to redneck jokes. And so the concept of respect, in rural Georgia, has become a genuine political issue. African-American voters, long bound to the Democratic Party by issues like affirmative action and affordable housing, don't demand that a candidate embrace
hip-hop. But to rural voters, an appreciation for stock-car racing, hunting and bluegrass is a critical show of faith -- and it has to precede any serious discussion.
Back to the Rural Strategy:
First, they need to get an office in every county in the state. It can be as simple as a dedicated cell phone that a real person can answer or return calls from. Someone who can pass out signs and answer questions and give out information.
Second, start showing up everywhere , this goes for both the candidates and the state party. Don't just show up at the county fairs; show up at the town fairs as well. Get the sports schedules and attend every homecoming game in the district. Show up for football games at Georgia Southern, Albany State, etc and basketball games in Hazelhurst and softball tournaments in Ashburn. Read the weekly papers and follow the fall church events. Be at every Lord's Acre Sale and Harvest Moon Bazaar that takes place between now and Election Day 2012.
Concentrating on the metropolitan centers and ceding the rural areas to the Republican noise machine is not a winning strategy for Democrats, and it is frankly insulting to the people in those areas. No, the population isn't dense down here in the southern tier counties, but the people aren't either. Listen to their concerns and give them a fair hearing. In other words, give them a reason to come back to their natural home in the Democratic Party, and I have confidence that they will.
I think Democrats realize, now, that you can't win if you don't play, and Democrats too often don't even travel to rural counties. And since there weren't enough of the statewide candidates who didn't go out there, there was nobody to promote the Democratic "brand," and the election results showed it. The fact is that many rural counties have a strong Democratic tradition. They just need to be reminded what a good, strong Democrat looks like.
If you read this article from Rural Progressive Patrick Davis who writes for the Macon Examiner you'll geta better picture of the situation: Democrats must find a way to communicate message to voterss
He did not mentioned if he was going to become a republican or a Independent.
This reminds me of Johnny Floyd of Cordele, Richard Royal of Camilla, Greg Morris of Vidalia, Butch Parrish of Swainsboro, Mickey Channell of Greensboro when they switched parties betweem 2004 & 2006.
This what he said to me in a message thru facebook: "I've fought the fight for years and after Tuesday, I think the Democratic Party in Georgia is dead for a long time".........
So there it is.
To be frank, I think the party is on life support with 2012 being the year that the party will either Do or Die in this state.
Friday, November 5, 2010
E. Culver "Rusty" Kidd (I), who won a hard fought battle against up & comer Quentin Howell (D) was taken to Piedmont Hospital after he fell from his wheel chair in which he had to undergo emergency surgery. Reports are that he suffered a broken neck & also badly damaged vetebrae as well.
Please keep Rep. Kidd in your Prayers. More details to come soon!
UPDATED: He apparently was in his Milledgeville office and someone fell on him and knocked him out of his wheel chair.The information was that he had a broken neck and has been taken to Piedmont Hospital.
Jane Kidd, the current Chairman of the DPG hasn't ruled out running for the seat again when elections take place in January.
Now back to Thurmond. Michael is a great guy who has a great knack of the state as a whole & as Labor Commissioner has won statewide numerous times in areas not knwn as friendly territory for democrats. But is he the right gut at this time to rebuild the party anew & bring it back to respectability? Can he effectively implement a much needed 159 county strategy of having county party chapters active in each Georgia County? Can he raise the money? Can he help usher in a new wave of Georgia Democrats in rural Georgia? There are so many questions that need to be asked.
Now if the party is serious about moving ahead, Carl Camon would be great at that position. Jim Marshall as well. Those are the two guys I would support openly for the chairman job at DPG.
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