Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Part 2: The future of the Democratic Party in Georgia: Strength in Unity

With Republicans holding firm control of the Georgia Legislature for decades, Democrats looking to take it back know they’ve got a long, uphill struggle ahead of them.

And while any Democratic uprising is likely to take time, money and an unprecedented amount of energy, there are some here in Georgia who believe that the current party leadership is not capable of doing exactly that & then some.

There is plenty of blame to go around as to why the state party continue to do in a downward spiral but you must look at the top. Mike Berlon has been on the job for well over a year now & depending who you're talking to have or haven't done enough to turn around the sagging fortunes of the DPG. Like I said there's plenty of blame to go around so it'll be unfair to pin all of the blame on Berlon's shoulders.

Last night, I wrote about State Representative & former DPG Chairman Calvin Smyre coming in to fix the once dominant Georgia Democratic Party.in 2015. Leadership is sorely lacking a this point. Smyre is known as a bridge builder, who carries a big stick with many current & former democratic officials across the state & nationally. I used a sports analogy to make my case..Buck Showalter, a re-thread former manager of the New York Yankees & Texas Rangers & ESPN Analyst was brought in by the Baltimore Orioles & in his second year has led the Orioles to the playoffs, Davey Johnson who has ben out of baseball for years was brought in to fix a young, but woeful Washington Nationals Baseball team and in his second season has led the Nats to the division title & a playoff berth Bill Parcells was brought in to turn around struggling franchises such as the New England Patriots ('96 Super Bowl), New York Giants ( 90 Superbowl), New York Jets ('98 AFC Championship game). All these guys are re-threads, re-runs, veterans who many thought was way past their prime or over the hill. This is a direction the Georgia Democrats need to go to to fix problems that are hurting the party & Calvin Smyre in my opinion is the guy who could do that!

Improving the party's ground game should me the main objective, more than anything & that is missing below the gnat line. Having a strong ground game all over the state of Georgia can result in Georgia going from a reliably red state to a purple state. Plus it would help future statewide democratic candidates,. Achieving this kind of transformation in Georgia is not a daunting task, but difficult. There are clear inroads Democrats can make at the statewide level, as well as the legislative and the party job is to make sure its candidates make the most of those opportunities.

What Democrats needs to do here in Georgia is simply get to people’s guts instead of retreating to the ivory tower of the State Capitol to a place where they talk statistics when things begin to get difficult for working people who feel left behind.  Go on a tour of the state where communities have been hard hit by job losses, struggling school systems, high in poverty like Fort Gaines, Hazelhurst, Mount Vernon, Millen, Homerville, just to name a few & to hear & to see what's going on in those areas.

The thing that’s missing from the state Democratic Party’s efforts has been the need for human connection on a gut level. In the past Democrats were most successful when they were able to connect emotionally with voters, whether it was Carl Sanders 1962 victory or Zell Miller's 1990 and 1994 victories, even go back to the rabble rouser Eugene Talmadge's victories for governor in the 1930s & 40s. Its all about connection on gut level with voters. But to do that you must have candidates who have that ability to connect on a personal & emotional level.

But to achieve that kind of connection Democrats first need the infrastructure. When a Democratic candidate shows up at a campaign event, they need to have people already in place to inform them of local issues, to coach them on what policy points they need to emphasize, and to provide surrogates on the ground to introduce them before they speak.

(To do that) they need to have an ongoing, consistent and sustainable fundraising mechanism and, in general, they need to professionalize and modernize the governing bodies of the party. As the party begins to build a stronger infrastructure, its candidates need to begin focusing on the start of a great fracturing within the Republican Party of Georgia. Georgia Republicans are more in line with the National GOP which is ultra-conservative for the most part.

The Republican coalition here in Georgia is showing some signs of fracturing, and as orthodoxy continues to take precedence over compromise, Democrats (if they ever get their act together) are poised to capture the votes of independents and moderate Republicans in ways they never could before.

Democrats have to start fielding more moderate & conservative, pragmatic, sensible Democrats who intend to fill their (republicans) shoes as moderate, sensible, pragmatic Republicans are purged from that party.

Scott Holcomb may well be considered one of those moderate Democrats I hopes to see more of in Georgia.

First elected in 2010, Holcomb represents State House District 81. He serves as deputy whip for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. The 12 year Military Veteran is considered one of the few rising stars in the party who has the ability to appeal to independents and moderate republicans. But while he may or may not agree with the national party on much of its platform, he and many other Georgia Democrats tend to shape their opinions to reflect some of the state’s key issues, often to the point where there is little daylight between the Republican and the Democratic positions.

But as we start to see more hardliners entering the Republican Party, there is a opportunity for moderate & conservative Democrats to make headway in the Legislature & that's where the party leaders have to begin to change their views on. With the recent wave of party switching, most recently with Polk County Democrat Rick Crawford, there is a sense of paranoia among Georgia Democrats whether its in the caucuses or at the state level that any candidate that's either black or white moderate or conservative democrats will jump to the GOP. Like it or not, they need those types of democrats to pickup seats in the legislature. It's just that simple! Instead of supporting liberal fringe, demographic oriented democrats who can't appeal across political & racial lines, begin supporting moderates & conservative democrats, they'll begin to see progress, until the

I absolutely see Democrats in 2012 and 2014 picking up some seats. But it won't be because of the the DPG, they're too weak & have too many problems to deal with & it won't be because of the house & senate caucuses because they have a one-size fits all mentality that the only candidates they'll support are liberals & liberals only. And if you're a African American moderate or conservative democrat, you have two strikes against you before a election is even held. If you're white, well, I'm not going to go any farther with that
There are a lot of good candidates who lose races or excluded from offices in today's politics just because they're democrats. That's got to change & change soon!

1 comment:

Mumbles said...

I'm having a very good time reading your blog--extremely informative! I'm a "hard left" democrat who spent 40 years in Utah. Finally out, but my Dad is a "hard right" republican (?) in Georgia, so I'm enjoying learning more about the political climate in his neck of the woods. Thank you!

This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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