Friday, August 26, 2011

Hard Times for Georgia Democrats. What's the cure?

Georgia Democrats haven't been this down & out since the aftermath of the Civil War when the party don't exist for a few years until the early 1870s when it roared back to power. But the Civil war isn't the blame for a party that had basically controlled the state of Georgia for over 135 years.

A rapidly growing population by the influx of transplants from different corners of the country who came in around the time Georgia Republicans was beginning to make noise in the early 1990s, mass retirements of democratic officials who held seats in the state legislature, some as much as 40 years or more, party switching by democrats who felt the change was on the horizon after the shocking defeat of then gov Roy Barnes in 2002 & a party that was being taken over by Urban/Suburban Democrats, as rural democrats were beginning to desert the party.

Democrats were caught sleeping at the wheel 10 years ago & when they finally did, the truck was turned upside down. It was a total loss!

Georgia Democrats have now got to get back behind the wheel & catch up with a Republican Vehicle that's traveling well over 120 MPH. (Ga GOP).

Redistricting is a ugly affair. Dems did it 10 years ago, Republicans are trying to replicate it. So what's a party to do?

Three straight statewide elections lost for governor, minimum or no gains in both chambers of the legislature since 2006, a bench that is almost empty, I mean there's no where to go but up!

The local level is the party's last hope. Many of these local (rural) democrats on the City Council, County Commission, Mayor, etc are mostly moderate/conservative democrats. The progressives are found in the cities (Macon, Savannah, Augusta...etc)

But many of these local democrats are not about to leave relative safe seats to run for a legislative seat. The reasons have to be concrete, legitimate & most of all they have to know that they will have the full & unbinding support of the Georgia Democratic Party.

Political Consultant Jay Stalnaker, former candidate for Butler (Taylor Co) City Council said something that makes alot of sense: Democrats need to reach out to former democrats who have now retired like Robert Ray (Fort Valley), Newt Hudson (Rochelle), Carol Jackson (Cleveland), Rooney Bowen (Cordele), I can on & on, especially candidates who are running in areas that these legislator once held. Dems up in Atlanta don't realize that former legislators like them still carry sway on the local level in their counties & towns. Their word goes along way in these small communities.

Embrace democrats who hold different views that the typical democrat who is progressive. Turning a cold shoulder towards Bluedog Democrats does not help a party that is now down to 63 house members & 20 senate members. In 2012, there will be many democratic candidates who are in the mold of John Barrow, George Busbee, Jim Marshall, Zell Miller, Sanford Bishop (yes Bishop is a moderate, not a liberal many are trying to make him out to be). Running progressives/liberals in swing or conservative districts is a recipe for disaster as that candidate will not have a chance in hell of winning. I said this once & I'll say it again: A PARTY MADE UP OF ONLY BLACKS, HISPANICS, GAYS, LIBERALS CANNOT & WILL NOT WIN IN GEORGIA....PERIOD!

The so-called Big tent party is no big tent without some centrist/conservative democrats in its ranks. Democrats, you need 'em. Don't fool yourselves! The National Democrats made the same thing & look what happened.....lost control of house. Why? Many democrats who made up their majority were rural democrats.

Become the Democratic Party of GEORGIA again!


Linton Johnson said...

Rooney Bowen switched parties to the GOP after winning re-election in 2002.

camonforgovernor said...

Great article Keith! I only wish those within the Democratic Party in Georgia would stop just for one second and listen to what you've said.

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