Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Give Up On The "OTHER" Georgia!

If liberal Georgia Democrats are serious about rebuilding the State Party and the coalitions they enjoyed during their success, they will have to figure out a way to recapture rural affections of Rural Georgians. These have been fading for some time  starting in 2002 when powerful House Speaker Thomas Murphy and then gov. Roy Barnes lost re-election and that's when the Democratic Party began staking its life and its fortune on the urban vote.

There was a time, of course, when rural Georgia and the Democrats were virtually the same thing. But over time, Democrats became more urbanized and rural people became Republicanized, due to the lack of a field team or "bench" of candidate to run in districts that was once held by dems for 20,30 years and that was all right with the Democrats. So long as cities were thriving and their political machines were humming, it seem possible that Georgia Democrats could win statewide elections without benefit of rural support. But as it turned out, they are 0 for 3 (2002, 2006, 2010)

But a new dynamic is occuring...New demographic patterns have altered the math. With the large influx of Black, Hispanic and Young professionals moving into the state, and population shifting from Rural Ga to North G, the rural sectoe is shrinking and the Metro Area of Atlanta is growing...and growing....and growing.  But despite those trends, democrats here in Georgia from the Young Democrats to Rank and file democrats are making a grave mistake in complete seceding the Gnat Line voters to the GOP because they tend to lean conservative and independent who doesn't see eye to eye with National Democrats and its increasing left-wing philosophy.

Certainly liberals here in Georgia will have to show more sensitivity to rural needs than they have displayed. To begin with, they might re-examine the common assumption that rural Georgia exists solely for the convenience of city people and suburbanites, as a dispenser of rest and recreation

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Diagnosing Democrats Problems In Georgia And Why They Continue To Lose

I'm not what you call a die-in-the-wool liberal demorat, nor an "Obamacrat". I never served on any democratic committees. I once served as chairman of my local democratic party (Temporarily). I reside in Small Town, Rural Georgia, where most democrats are far different than those in the urban areas of the state, socially conservative, fiscally responsible, economically moderate. Having said that, I know (and I'm not being cocky here)......I know why democrats haven't been able to win in this state over the past decade, or why democrats in the legislature have a hard time recruiting canddiates. And I don't need graphs, a 20 page thesis or political scholars to tell me why democrats have such a hard time winning. 

For starters, let's start with candidate recruitment. Liberal, progressive, (whichever you wanna call it) candidates works in areas that are heavily diverse with voters who are center-left. But they will not work in areas that are not as diverse where voters are center-right/independent.  The quality of candidates democratic leaders have found and supported have been abysmal. Ideology is another factor. Black and White Bluedog Democrats are met with suspicion nowadays within the party mainly because of the recent party switchers the have endured over a 5-6 year period. But I'm here to tell you, without them, democrats will NEVER sniff the possibilty of being the majority least in my lifetime. 

In recruiting candidates, you must find that person who's background fits within that State Senatorial or House District. What's the median income of that district, the racial makeup, the voting tendencies, what issues resonate with the voters of that district because let's face it, all districts do not have the same problem. If a district have a high number of Social Conservatives, then you need a candidate who's not afraid to talk about his/her religion or if it's a area high in poverty and lack jobs, you need a person with a extensive background in business who can articulate the problems facing the area and then can come up with a solution to the district's problems.

Or if its a district that haven't elected a democrat in years (locally and legislatively) then you need to recruit someone who have a ability to appeal cross party lines and someone who's not afraid to disgree with the party on issues that maybe out of step with the voters of the district.

And the overly majority black districts, the reason these types of districts were created in the first place was to assure the election of black elected officials due to the VRA of 1965, but it came with a heavy price. It severely weakened the democratic party as a result...and I'm going to stop right there! If a candidate happens to be white and running in a majority black district (and I'm speaking from experience)......stop trying to influence a election out of fear of a majority minority district being represented by a white democrat! If the white candidate voted republican in the what? All that matters is who is the better candidate with the better message, who can appeal to the masses, regardless of skin color or gender. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the "BIG TENT PARTY" or so it claims to be. Instead of trying to cut the legs out from up under the white candidate out of fear the majority black district being represented by a non-minority, embrace him/her and let the chips fall where they may, but I know that's wishful thinking especially with the current leadership in the legislature

Now democrats troubles as far as winning can be attributed to a few things: (1) Culture (2) National Democrats (3) Values (4) Unwillingness to court white middle and lower class voters (5) Rural Black Voters

Culture & Values are issues have hounded democrats since the 1970s. Culture is the shared knowledge, behavioral norms, values and beliefs that help people to live in families, groups and communities. It can be defined by religion, work, region, or some other status. For decades National Democrats stances on cultural issues have been detrimental to local democratic candidates. From Gun Control to Gay Marriage, those issues have had a trickle down effect on democrats who don't hold those views and thus these moderate/conservative democrats have to continue to fight back charges of they support gun control or favor marriage between the same sexes.

National Democrats: Like I said, National Democrats are out of step with majority of Georgians and in areas that are not as diverse, less populated and are conservative on social and economic grounds. Now being the realist that I am, democrats cannot not going to win every rural county in Georgia. Some they can definitely win, but the trick is not to lose some of these rural counties so badly which contribute to republican margin of victories in the last few election cycles. The question is how to appeal to rural voters in an election year without the benefit of having a president on the ballot who would spur turnout among democratic base voters of young, minority, college educated suburbanites. But to be successful, democrats should not be so eager to embrace the National Democrats and its politics. Develop your own brand of politics (case in point John Barrow & Joe Manchin)

White Bluecollar Voters: Despite all the talk about demographic changes coming to Georgia, Democrats cannot forget about White Bluecollar Voters. You still need them! Democrats need to win the support of this significant group of voters who are now part of the Republican coalition.  A high number of white working class voters have historic ties with Georgia Democrats, even among those who currently vote Republican. Some have personal memories and others family traditions of past Democratic voting. No comparable connection or previous ideological affinity exists with today’s upper income or other Republican voters. While white workers are overwhelmingly cultural traditionalists they are not all conservatives. Despite the cliches of “conservative white workers” the group is actually divided, depending on the issues, with majorities being “populist” on some issues and conservative on others. So Dems cannot give up on this group and put all their eggs in the basket on minority voters who are not the most reliable bloc of voters out there.

Rural Black Voters are different that those from the Cities. They're no doubt the most socially conservative group of voters in Georgia, they're fiscally discipline, but economically liberal and some, not all, but some support school choice. In courting rural black voters, a candidate must run two campaigns. Word of Mouth (Barbershops, Churches) and the Airwaves. This approach is used everyone, but it is very important in small isolated communities in Rural Georgia

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Medicaid and Rural Georgia: A Political Issue in 2014? You Better Believe It!

It's a program geared toward Rural White, Black, Elderly, and Young Residents who are heavily dependent on the program

With the latest population trends, Medicaid is becoming increasingly important to rural areas, in Georgia. Medicaid is the program that pays for medical services for those too poor to afford their own coverage, and it's funded by a combination of federal and state dollars.

In rural communities, Medicaid has become the only insurer for many people, particularly children, whose parents work at low-wage jobs with no health care coverage. It provides health care services and access to health care for a large number of rural Georgians who probably wouldn't have access to those services otherwise, whose health would suffer because of that. So, from a human perspective, it provides necessary services and access that these populations need.

So my question is why is Governor Nathan Deal and State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens so opposed to expanding medicaid here in the Peach State.  Sadly these men rather put politics and their party ahead of Georgians those who desperately need some type of coverage.

Medicaid also is an economic engine in rural areas like Wheeler, Echols, Baker, Jenkins Counties, etc and literally keeping some hospitals and clinics open.

Those hospitals and clinics, the backbone of the rural healthcare infrastructure, who are depended so much on Medicaid and Medicare payments that they probably couldn't keep their doors open otherwise. We've already hospitals close in Charlton, Stewart, Habersham and Calhoun County.

Many look at Medicaid as the classic "welfare" program, which it is, but in my view, that isn't the case. It really does provide a necessary benefit and necessary services to working people, what we sometimes refer to as the working poor. 

Those who are dependent on medicaid are: Children, Low-income disabled, Low-income elderly, Low-Income families and Pregnant women.

Medicaid is a critical piece of the rural health care system and the refusal of the governor to expand medicaid and the Insurance Commissioner opposition to the expansion of medicaid will be a campaign issue come 2014.

With Deal facing two GOP challengers and if he's able to escape the primary will face State Senator Jason Carter, a centrist democrat and the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter. 

The one down ballot race that's sure to receive plenty of attention will be Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, but so far no democrat have announced nor shown any interest in taking on the anti-health incumbent. 

Georgia U.S. Senate Candidate Gerald Beckum (D-Oglethorpe)... A Common-Sense Candidate for Senate

Sunday, December 1, 2013

HD 127 Special Election Runoff is Dec. 3

A runoff election for HD 127 replace the late State Rep. Quincy Murphy will take place tuesday between Diane Evans of Jefferson County and Brian Prince of Augusta.  Prince won 44.61 percent of the votes and Evans 29.57 percent while the widow of Rep. Murphy finished in third place during the first round of voting

Evans, a progressive democrat is a longtime state Democratic party activist who serves as chair of the Jefferson County Democratic party, secretary of the Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs and member of the state Democratic committee. Prince, a conservative democrat is a retired Lt. Colonel, graduated from Fort Valley State University and the Army Command and General Staff College and recently worked as a consultant for military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

Evans supports magnet schools, not charter schools, the ACA, b.k.a. Obamacare and economic development, while Prince wants to improve education, integrating military families in the district and the development of more small businesses

The election will be held on Tuesday Dec. 3

Republican Con Game On Rural Georgia

Why are Rural Areas So wiling to vote Republican when it has much more disadvantages than it's Urban and Suburban counterparts?

Well for starters, let's look at cultural issue. God and Guns are strong issues in rural areas. The Republicans wave these flags relentlessly every two, four years during election time and then put them away until the next election. Then you have to look at farming. Farming is more and more big business, with fewer small family farms. The Republican Party caters to big business, so we will be better off voting republican. Much of the reason for the democrats decline in low populated areas of Georgia can be attributed to the party's trouble of attracting white, working class voters, especially those without a college degree. The party has to realize that have got to include issues for non-college educated whites and blacks. Another reason is that there is more poverty in the larger cities like Albany, so they of course want more government programs and aid. They hear about getting tax cuts and of course they are drawn to that. 

While on the other hand folks like truck driver Marshall Johnson of Uvalda, Ga living in rural areas like Arlington, Nahunta, or Alma who make a decent living, have their money taken away to give to the poor. It's really upsetting if you work your whole life establishing a business and are overtaxed. They deal better with hard times because they are not as materialistic as people in larger urban/suburban cities. I do not think that its all about race in very city, contrary to some people's beliefs. In the rural areas, it's the opposite mentality. They prefer the government to stay away, except when necessary. They don't want the government to have to go to them, but rather they turn to the government only when a time of need.

Let's get one thing straight. both Democrats and Republicans want Big Government, it's just that they want "Big"  in different ways. Democrats....well "Some" Democrats want more social programs that largely serve the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, more money on education, more welfare. Republicans hate social programs, but they are willing to spend massive amounts of $$$ on corporate subsidies, wars, programs that are also biased toward full time. high waged workers and non-minorities. But republicans prefer to gut public education, public television, etc.

And let's not forget philosophical differences. Rural areas are more conservative and find a fit with the republican party over issues like abortion, guns, marriage. But that doesn't mean that they aren't open to voting democrat. Rural areas have reasons for voting republican. The idea that they want "Small Government" is wrong to begin with, they don't want small government, they just want less welfare. Surprisingly, they are big recipients of welfare and the redistribution of cash from urban to rural areas, but too hypocritical to see it/ Another reason why is that Republicans have been very successful at propagating words, like Government Programs are "Dependency", the wealthy are "Job Creators" for example. The Conservative media influences how folks think and to some the language is very compelling. And also those straightforward, gut response to issues like Protect the Unborn!! Eliminate the Income Tax!!! And as a result its hard to mount arguments to this kind of thinking. The ones who fall for this kind of language are poor and less educated who live in disadvantaged areas. It's sad to see so many of our citizens who are living paycheck to paycheck to vote for candidates who's plan only consist of trickle down economics and getting up off the couch.

That's why it is essential for democrats to get back into the rural areas of the state and compete for their votes becuase contrary to what these so called political experts, Rural Georgia is not lost for the democrats. It never was and never will be.

Democrats Caution: Gun Control is a Loser!!!

Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter & others..ARE YOU LISTENING???

When a lawmaker confronts a given issue, it's in their own interest and the interest of their constituency to do a cost-benefit analysis.  Is it worth the fight?  Will there be sufficient policy upside to spending political capital in pursuit of reform on a given issue.  Back in 2009, I didn't think cap and trade was worth the risk. Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) narrowly escaped with a victory over Mike Keown because of issues such as Cap and Trade.  The public only cares about climate change in the abstract, so if lawmakers were to ask for financial or lifestyle sacrifice from the masses in pursuit of keeping the planet livable for the human race a little longer, it would be far more sacrifice than the public was willing to endure.  And even for those who believe it's worth the political risk to save the planet, how much can be gained when the rest of the globe refuses to play along?

Being a pro-gun democrat, I'm torn on this issue as I believe law-abiding citizens should not be penalized for gun ownership.  On the other hand, the gun rights crowd presents such delusional and unpersuasive arguments on their own behalf, they make themselves impossible to defend.  No sane person's interpretation of the Second Amendment justifies limitless weaponization with no regulations whatsoever.  Still, the gun fetish has consumed the good sense of many millions of Americans, and there will undeniably be political retribution for crossing them.

Would it be worth it for the Democrats to throw away this constituency in which some base their vote entirely on one issue such as guns?  In my mind, it's an unequivocal no, even though I don't disagree with specific legislative goals of toughening background checks.

The majority that supports gun control is a mile wide and an inch deep, and the issue is extremely low intensity for just about everybody on the gun control side of the persuasion.  But when it comes to the gun rights crowd, there is no higher priority in life for them than firearms lawlessness.  And the lopsided intensity on the side of the gun rights crowd means huge financial contributions to gun-rights candidates and special interests, along with a full-throttle turnout at the polls in future election cycles by people convinced ATF agents will soon be going door to door to take away their hunting rifles. And like it or not, gun rights advocates do a terrific job at turning out at the polls during election time because they are passionate about the right to bear arms and so am I.

Millions of voters who would be receptive to the Democrats' message on saving Social Security and Medicare, or on pressuring the business community to reverse decades of wage and benefit declines amidst an increasingly stratified income disparity in this country, will tune all of that out and hitch their wagon to those shouting the loudest about guns and that is also another fact!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Candidate Recruitment, Georgia And The Democrats

If Georgia Democrats want to be a player again in State Politics, it must.....I repeat, MUST do a better with candidate recruitment and drop its ideological and issues litmus test it current have and recruit democrats who REFLECT the views of independent moderate and conservative constituents.

In past election cycles, pro-gun, socially conservative democrats such as U.S. Army Veteran John Tibbetts ('06, '10 candidate for State Rep.), Marjean Boyd ( 2010 candidate for State Representative), Quentin Howell (2012 candidate for State Rep.) Renita Hamilton (2012 candidate for State Rep), etc, etc are the type of democrats who's backgrounds and political philosophies fit those perspective districts they were vying, but unfortunately they weren't "Democrat" enough for party leaders because they were....AHEM.....Bluedog Democrats or plainly put, Conservative Democrats.

This is the one area the party has got to get a better hold on..Candidate Recruitment. Last election cycle saw the fewest number of democratic candidates run for the state legislature office in over 90 years. One of the biggest embarrassments was the inability to recruit a democratic challenger to take on Doug McKillip who switched parties after the 2010 elections and thus party leaders threw their support behind another GOPer, Regina Quick who went on to defeat McKillip (who I actually like)

In many areas of the state, the democratic party still lack the infrastructure needed to win campaigns. Strong Democratic County Chapters should partner  with a struggling rural county Democratic Party to help them raise money, develop public relations, CANDIDATE RECRUITMENT PROGRAMS an GOTV machinery.

Back to candidate recruitment, one thing I find quite interesting is what I like to call..The Clean means moderate effect." I have a lot of friends who don't know a damn thing about politics whatsoever. They know the candidates, see their picture on television of a campaign brochure and make their opinion on whether they like a candidate purely on looks and speaking ability alone. But one thing I have noticed is that when a candidate looks well kept, speaks well and presents him or herself in a non-hostile manner, these friends of mine think that these candidates are moderate. And, as odd as that might sound, it's true.

You like to know some of these moderates they liked? Scott Holcomb, Jason Carter, Demetrius Douglas, Stacey Evans, all are now currently won their races and are now serving in the State Legislature.

Democrats need to start thinking like voters instead of...Democrats! In order to win elections, they need to start thinking like the average voter, the cashier at Harvey's, the Truck Driver for Indian River, the electrician for Georgia Power, and stop over-analyzing their decisions and come up with a plan to recruit candidates.

If moderate and conservative democrats want to run for office n South Georgia, East Central Georgia, will party leaders simply turn them away or do a back-door negative campaign because they aren't exactly 100% liberal party loyalist?  About 70-80% of seats in the state legislature were unopposed and that my friends is unacceptable.

I'm sure that everyone reading this message knows someone who would make a good public official, and a good campaigner, but perhaps has never thought of it themselves, or never received the encouragement of having someone say, Hey, you ought to run for office.

Now if there is a red county democrat, or a republican, who used to be a democrat looking to run next year as a democrat here's what you're facing. Nationally a economy that is still struggling to get going, a polarizing culturally agenda from the President and National Democrats like Guns for example and the Obamacare law that has stumbled out of the blocks miserably. Statewide, changes to the Hope Scholarship that's affecting children attempts to enroll in college, the continued downward trend of our Public Education, the lack of Economic Fairness for many hardworking families that are living paycheck to paycheck, the lack of job creation and Issues facing Georgia Agriculture.

Issues Nationally doesn't present a welcoming environment for any democrat looking to run for the State legislature (remember all politics, including nationally are local), but here in Georgia, those issues I mentioned present a very welcoming environment for any democrat or ex-democrat (now a democrat again) in running for office. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

All Points Bulletin To Georgia Dems: Stop Avoiding......or Running Away From The Rural Georgia Voter!!!!!!!!!!

Democrats for some reason are afraid of the Rural Georgia Voter. For some mathematically challenged reason, they don't think they can beat the republicans on this isolated, sparsely populated terrain and that is sad from my vantage point. Congressman John Barrow although he is a congressman have no problem with going out and appealing to rural voters in his conservative-tilting district and he enjoys doing it. If Statewide Democrats and democrats in general have the kind of passion and drive Congressman Barrow, who is a independent, conservative democrat in the mold of the late Congressman Bo Ginn (D-Millen) who held that district during the late 1970s-early 80s have, the party would be in much better shape down here

As we approach 2014, I will be watching very closely to see whether or not statewide candidates will put forth a effort and build grassroots support from the Swamps of Ware County to the Cotton fields of Dooly County to the Mountains of Rabun County.

All statewide democrats have to do is just go talk to people. But don't do it in a condescending, "We're going to teach you people how to vote" kind of thing. Go sit at Priscilla's Restaurant in Eastman, Ga or Sister's Country Kitchen in Hazelhurst, Ga and listen to the concerns of citizens who feel slighted by what they see as no progress in terms of job creation, the regression of the local school systems, etc. Establish a presence in Rural Areas such as these. Be a source of information and support. Most Rural Georgians are long-time residents and that means for generations. If Democrats.....Georgia Democrats are seen as just regular people and not the three-headed monster Faux Nooz and the Republican Party (who have had a control of rural Georgia for over a decade now) you'll go a long way toward earning back their trust and ultimately their ear.

One candidate, Gerald Beckum, candidate for the U.S. Senate will have no problem, being a rural conservative democratic mayor of a small town. As for the others and other potential candidates, that remains to be seen.

And for goodness sakes, lose the terminology like "Hicks", "Hillbillies" in describing rural residents in this state. Believe it or not, for the most part, these are good people who would do anything in the world for a person in need. It's important to remember that if the Georgia Democratic Party is grow their numbers, they need to stop avoiding Rural Georgians. If a Jason Carter, or Branko Radulovacki, or Michelle Nunn or whoever can cast him/herself as the candidate for rural voters, someone who understands the plight and values of the rural, bluecollar family, family farmers and attract culturally conservative voters in South Georgia. 

Rural Georgia is pivotal for the resurgence for Georgia Democrats next year going forward. But they must have the right candidate, one who can break through the rural way of life and the culture brickwall, which no democrat, at least so far haven't shown a willingness to do.

It's not complicated: All they have to do is show up!

These visits are important because they have a multiplier effect: Each meeting will lead to a conversation at the barber shop, grocery store or at church about how that democrat came to town. Don't underestimate the power of the grapevine in Rural Georgia!

By democrats staying away from Rural Georgia since 2002, they allowed Republicans to define and caricature them, especially on social issues such as religion and guns. If democrats don't show up, people will only hear what republicans say about them. When Roy Barnes made that ill fated decision to not put much effort into Rural Georgia in 2002, the republicans defined him in unsavory terms and the famous "King Roy" and "Boot Barnes" slogans were all over the place (from his decision to change the confederate flag, among other issues that lead to his defeat). Because of Barnes lack of presence in rural Georgia, he couldn't refute it.

But democrats from here on out, even those who will run for the State legislature need to forcefully explain their convictions, even if they're out of step with Rural Georgia. Rural Georgians can live with candidates with whom they disagree on some issues. But nowadays people are reticent about saying they're a democrat and the reason is because many feel that democrats of today do not share their values and interests. 

Winning with only the bread and butter issues is not enough to appeal to the rural voter. Many here are homeowners and entrepreneurs and and like low taxes and less regulations among other things so that's one of the reasons they vote republican.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Former Secretary of State Lewis Massey Should Consider Another Statewide Run

If there's anytime for Lewis Massey to make a return to Georgia Politics, it's right now. Many of may remember Massey who served as Georgia's Secretary of State from 1996 to 1999, first appointed by then governor Zell Miller (D-Young Harris) at 34 years old. Massey would later make a run for governor back in 1998, losing to eventual winner Roy Barnes (D-Mableton).

Massey who is now 51 is currently a partner in Massey, Watson, Bowers & Hembree LLL, which specializes in Public Affairs. Tattnall County Sheriff Quinton Rush once said of Massey, a University of Georgia graduate, who made numerous trips to the county during his run for governor back in 1998: "He's a fresh face with good intentions. He's been here about four times in the past few months. I like him, he's a family man. I've been in law enforcement for 30 years and I feel like I'm a good judge of character."

Massey who father Abit Massey once served as director of  the powerful Georgia Poultry Association for over 40 plus years worked for Joe Frank Harris in his bid for governor back in the 1980s, then later he went on to work for Pierre Howard for Lt. Governor.

Massey is a moderately conservative democrat who should consider another statewide run....he's only 51 which is relatively young in today's politics. I don't know whether or not he plans to re-enter the political world, but if he is, now is the right time to do so. In politics, it's all about timing. Maybe it wasn't the best time back in 1998, but in 2014 or even 2018, it could be. With Michelle Nunn running for the U.S. Senate, Jason Carter for Governor, why not Massey for Lt. Governor? Or Labor or Insurance Commissioner?

Friday, November 15, 2013

GA-2014: A Jason Carter-Carl Camon Tandem Looks Very Appealing From My Neck of the Woods

By now many of you know that State Senator Jason Carter will run for governor next year. As a result of that, previously announced candidate for governor, ex State Sen & DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes decided to drop down and run for Lt. Governor. Nothing wrong with that

Camon during his 2010 run for Governor
But as I was thinking, the one person would pair perfectly with Jason Carter in the 2014 General Election....Carl Camon, the former Mayor of Ray City (Berrien County) and 2010 gubernatorial candidate for governor. Camon hails from South Georgia, a area which democrats have not committed to compete in over a decade.

Camon served five terms as mayor of Ray City, helped start Georgia's first municipal Pre-K Program, served 10 years in the U.S. Air force and was listed as Georgia's 40 under 40 rising stars in Georgia a few years ago by Georgia Trend Magazine.

During his 2010 run for governor, Camon stated when it comes to education, he believed that many of Georgia's problems were linked to education. He supported returning authority to teachers and increase their pay to the National Average and he also would encourage teachers to retire after 25 years to reduce cost in addition he would phase out alternative schools and work to reduce the number of students who repeat grades. With education being one of State Senator Carter's top platforms in 2014, this would seem like a perfect match for the 2014 General Election.

Camon is a Rural, Conservative African American Democrat who opposed abortion, supports the second amendment, Pre-K, Hope and QBE. Nothing against Connie Stokes, but in a general election, a duo of Moderate Jason Carter and Conservative Carl Camon, two young, smart Georgia politicos would be formidable and both would be a friend of Rural Georgia.

I don't know whether or not Camon would run for office again and currently he's doing some great things down in South Georgia, but the thought of Carter-Camon '14 is something to think about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

State Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan Should Definitely Run For State School Superintendent in 2014

State Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan (D-Austell) can and should run for State School Superintendent. It's no secret that Georgia's Educational System is not up to par compared to other states. Morgan support for Charter Schools has her at odds with some of her own democratic colleagues as well as Georgia Federation of Teachers. It's nice to see a democrat go against the special interest of her party..Kudos Rep. Morgan

But Morgan only wants the best for Georgia's Students so why display so much opposition to a possible candidacy for State School Superintendent by Morgan? If you listen to some black leaders or politicos, Charter Schools..even Vouchers will cause grater inequality in education and increased segregation in our public schools.....HELLO we already have that already in some cases. Believe it or not but there are many families, especially black families who support parental choice, charter schools and magnet schools.

The education of our children should be a top priority of this state and the nation. Our schools need to provide a safe learning environment with the most modern technology and the best teachers whether it's public, charter, private or magnet schools. In this state sending your child to a charter, private school should be a choice, not a necessity, that's why parents should be able to have other choices if the current school his or her child is currently is not living up to its standards. Rep. Morgan authored Georgia's Law Empowering parents to access more options within the public school system and was a co-sponsor allowing the state to authorize charter schools. 

Carter Announces Bid For Georgia Governor

Earlier Today State Senator Jason Carter announced his entry into Georgia's Governor's Race next year.

Carter, 38 is the grandson of Former President and one time Georgia Governor James E. "Jimmy" Carter of Plains, Ga. Carter, was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2010. In his professional career, Jason is an attorney at the business litigation firm of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP. In addition to his business practice, he has received numerous awards for his pro-bono efforts and leadership within the bar. He also served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Lochiel, South Africa. He received his law degree 
summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, and received his undergraduate degree from Duke University. Jason and his wife Kate have two young sons. They live in DeKalb County.''

Carter is pledging to build a coalition of urban and rural with a focus on education and the economy. This is crucial for him as well as Michelle Nunn. The last time democrats had that coalition, they were more successful at the polls.

Carter's entry gives Democrats two top tier prospects going into 2014. Connie Stokes who first announced her run for governor will now instead seek the Lt. Governor post, which is held by Casey Cagle.

I'll have more on this later

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Austin Scott and the 8th Congressional Distict

Back in 2010, Austin Scott switched from running for governor to challenging Conservative Democrat Jim Marshall for the 8th CD. That turned out to be a wise move on Scott's part as he rode the anti-Pelosi, anti-Government Tea Party wave election of 2010 in unseating Marshall to become the new congressman of the 8th Congressional District. And as a result the 8th was redrawn to re-assure his re-election by removing democratic Bibb County and placing it into the 2nd CD, currently represented by Sanford Bishop, thus the 8th has become strictly a rural-dominated congressional district with Houston County being the population center of the district.

So since then, what has Congressman Scott done since being elected. Well he's sponsored, or co-sponsored a few bills such as H.R. 972 to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of drones to introducing a bill to end furloughs and ensure civilian workers are paid. Those are nice gestures, but since arriving in congress, Scott has been a reliable party line soldier for the GOP. The National Journal back in February named Scott the second most conservative lawmaker in the House in 2012. He was named Class President for the 112th Congress after arriving.

Someone asked me without the Tea Party wave of 2010, do I think he could have still managed to unseat Marshall? My answer was no! Without it, he probably would have come close, but not enough to unseat the Bluedog Democrat.

Scott ran unopposed in 2012, will he go unopposed next year? Who knows. I doubt it will come from the GOP side, if it comes from the Democratic side, it will have to be from someone who's background fits the rural congressional district and someone who is not afraid to show their differences with the National Democrats and President Obama.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oglethorpe Mayor Seeks Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senate Seat

Oglethorpe Mayor Gerald Beckum, elected in 1983 has announced his decision to seek the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. He sees himself as a conservative Democrat who can bring “common sense” to government. Beckum, 68, said he realizes that it will be a tough fight because of the money usually spent on these type of campaigns and because it is difficult to get elected in Georgia if you live south of Atlanta. People from South Georgia are entitled to representation, and he believes it is important to make the effort to show that it is possible to run and be elected without megabucks.

“Someone familiar with this kind of race told me, ‘If you don’t have a million dollars of your own money or backers with millions of dollars, you might as well forget it’. I don’t have either, and this will be a real ‘grass roots’movement. I plan to visit every city and county in Georgia during this campaign,” he said. Saxby Chambliss from the Moultrie area “probably could have been reelected, but it is harder and harder for someone south of Macon to get elected. There is such a preponderance of population in the 10 counties around Atlanta and Fulton County that we find it impossible for someone south of Macon to be elected statewide, Beckum said.

People in this country are frustrated, he said. And he lists the frustrations. “One of the greatest frustrations at the moment is the inability of our government to function. We have too many politicians –Democrat and Republican – trying to make themselves look good and make the other side look bad, to care about what’s good for the country.

“A second frustration is that due to the inability to govern, most people feel that their tax dollars are wasted. They are living from paycheck to paycheck, if they have a job, while our government officials act like school children on the playground instead of responsible adults.

“A third area of frustration in the country is that for the last 12 years we have been a nation building and democratizing the world all the while we have wasted young lives, maimed many more, and failed to take proper care of the very young people who put their lives on the line for the United States. While we were doing all of that, we have let the infrastructure of this country start to crumble and deteriorate and have wasted billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, on countries who hate our guts. This policy makes no sense and we need to take a fresh look at our foreign policy.

“Health care is another issue of extreme frustration for most of us. No matter what side of the current debate you are on, we can all agree that we cannot continue down the path we have been on for the past 10 to 20 years. There is no doubt that our health care will soon be unaffordable for all of us. Premiums continue to climb at 20 percent or more rates, the deductibles higher and higher, the benefits get lower and lower. We are all beginning to wonder if we should drop our insurance and take our chances. I fully believe if the insurance of Congress, the president and government hierarchy were suspended and we insisted that they must come up with a plan for us as well as for them, it would surprise us how quickly they might act.”

Other issues that should be resolved are real tax reform, immigration, abortion, defense spending, the economy and schools and education are on his list. Beckum has been mayor of Oglethorpe, a small town of 1,274 population, and he says that position “has been an honor and a privilege.” “Some days I was in Atlanta with the governor and legislators and back home the next day in the trenches and ditches
with my workers.

I think being mayor of a small town may be the toughest and most rewarding job on earth. One of the most important lessons I have learned has been that most politicians spend way too much time talking and not enough time listening to the needs of people,” he said. He was always a full time mayor and a full time business man. He describes himself as “a conservative Democrat with a heart for the needs of people. I grew up with Herman Talmadge, Richard Russell, Sam Nunn and Richard Ray, among others as my role models. Of the governors that I have known, I think that I am closer to Governor George Busbee’s definition of himself: ‘I am a work horse, not a show horse.’ I have worked closely with Jim Marshall, Larry Walker, and George Hooks during the last 32 years and consider them role models as well as friends.”

He spent 42 years as a small businessman in agribusiness. “I have been in the nursery business, the irrigation business, and lawn maintenance business. I have farmed pecans and timber. I know what it is like to make payroll week after week, to handle finance and personnel problems, but mostly I know how to work with people,” he said. Beckum worked in the Macon County High School System for six years, teaching math, science and coaching football, basketball and baseball at the high school.

He completed high school at Louisville Academy, a public school, in Louisville, Georgia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in science education from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro in 1962 and took advanced courses at Auburn University and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A family man, he was married to his wife, Linda, for 44 years. She died of cancer in early 2012. The Beckums have two daughters.

So far the democratic field includes Michelle Nunn, Todd Robinson, Branko Radulovacki and Steen Miles

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Black Voters Are More Forgiving Of Scandalized Politicians?

African American support for tainted politicians comes from the same ethic that has allowed Democrats to maintain black support despite poll after poll showing black attitudes on abortion, religion and, until recently, gay marriage line up more closely with the GOP’s positions.  In a perfect world, one might prefer a governor who addresses your interests and doesn’t sleep with prostitutes. In the imperfect, racially and economically stratified world we actually live in, the former takes precedence over the latter—especially in communities where political attention can be a life and death issue.

So why does it seem that many black voters rally behind corrupt or disgraced political figures and in many cases still cast votes in their favor? Well for starters, many other black elected officials, represents districts that suffer from relentlessly poor economic prospects. Once elected, these professional politicians seem to abandon all sense of judgment as they seek to enrich themselves and expand their influence, all while doing little to improve lives for their voters.  Look at former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Washington D.C. former Mayor Marion Barry as examples of corrupt politicos who still won despite mounting proof of their corruption.

The above cases illustrate a profoundly misguided tendency of Black Voters rallying to the side of an embattled politician because he or she is “one of their own.” Even before President Obama was elected, black voting patterns were, or are nearly monolithic -virtually any Democrat could win black votes; and indeed, most have. Black voters have developed a dismaying habit of remaining fiercely loyal to their public servants. This is built largely on the idea,  perpetuated by many Democrats, black and white, that the political system is stacked against black interests.

So long as entrenched black politicians continue to cultivate myths of victimhood within their electorates, corrupt politicians will forever win elections whether they deserve to or not. Many of these public servants exist in cosseted worlds where the needs of their voters don’t affect them, and they stopped attending those concerns long ago.

The Left Exaggerate Republican Gerrymandering of 2011 in Shutdown Role

Gerrymandering is among the weak spots in our constitutional system of government. Although it wasn’t intended or foreseen by the Framers of the Constitution, it popped up pretty early.

Anyway, skipping ahead two centuries, Democrats are understandably annoyed that despite the fact that Dem House candidates nationally received more aggregate votes than Repub candidates, the Republicans maintained a solid 234-201 majority.

Successful Republican gerrymandering had something to do with it, but gerrymandering  alone is not only or primarily in producing that result is often overstated.

During the current shutdown mess, some liberals have embraced a second, related theory suggesting that not only did the Republican gerrymandering manage to cobble together a majority of House seats out of a minority of House votes, but they also managed to create a large number of safe red districts packed with voters who are so far right that they produce congressmen who are either right-wing hardliners or have to act like they are to fend off a Tea Party primary challenge.

The goal of gerrymandering is to maximize the number of districts that are barely safe enough by packing as many of your opponents' voters as you can into a small number of extremely partisan districts while safely distributing the rest throughout your own districts. In this way, gerrymandering may actually increase the number of moderate Republicans.

So there's a problem in believing that gerrymandering inflated the number of House Republicans, while also thinking that gerrymandering increased the number of ultraconservative, Tea Party Republicans. That may seem surprising, but it shouldn’t be. In many respects, the GOP’s divide between relative moderates and ultraconservatives also cuts across geographic and partisan lines. In the fiscal cliff, for instance, northern, blue state Republicans were far more likely to vote for the Senate compromise than their red state, Southern counterparts. And the number of northern Republicans has been meaningfully inflated by GOP-led redistricting efforts in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Ohio. Without GOP-led redistricting in those blue or purple states, the inevitably conservative Republicans in red states, locked into ultraconservative districts by (let's call it like it is) racial polarization and the Voting Rights Act, would constitute an even larger share of a somewhat smaller GOP caucus, making it even more difficult to reach compromises like the fiscal cliff deal for instance. It would be more difficult to resolve the government shutdown or debt ceiling debacle.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Porter Elected as Chair of the Georgia Democratic Party

On Saturday in Newnan, Democrats elected Former House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) as its next Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, replacing Mike Berlon who resigned a few months. Porter defeated Former State Sen. Doug Stoner & current Georgia Democratic Party Vice-Chairman RJ Hadley. Over 200 plus members gathered at Wadsworth Auditorium in Coweta Couty, the birthplace of Ellis Arnall who served as governor from 1943-47 & was one of Georgia's first Progressive Democrats.

I was mildly surprised that Porter won, my money was on Doug Stoner because he had strong backing from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, ex-Governor Roy Barnes, State Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former president James E. "Jimmy" Carter.

Porter's connections to Rural Georgia will be critical for democrats as they begin to rebuild the once-dominant party from the ashes. With all the talk about fundraising, which is a must, candidate recruitment is also vital and it has to start on the local whether its County Commissioner or State Senator. The next move will be who will Porter name as executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, which is the next critical move for the party.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Michelle Nunn and Rural Georgia

How well can Michelle Nunn do in appealing for votes in Rural Georgia? Her middle of the road, independent approach to issues may help her in that regard as Rural Georgia has virtually gone red since the election of Sonny Perdue back in 2002. Most Rural Georgians are not particularly wedded to any political ideology despite what many might think and are not single issue voters on things such as religion and guns.

Now appearing on the ballot as a democrat could prove to be a disadvantage in wooing rural voters in central and southern Georgia, but if she can get out to Rural Georgia and present her ideas and solutions to problems facing Georgia and the country, then I think there some votes out there she can & will get. It's all about pressing the flesh and face to face interaction. She should cast herself as the candidate for rural Georgia, who understands the plight of farmers and working class bluecollar families.

Rural Georgia is pivotal, but you have to have a candidate who's able to get through to the culture. She can definitely break through the culture of rural Georgia if she shows respect for gun rights and don't let social or "wedge" issues define her campaign. If she can get through that culture, then she can get rural voters to listen to her ideas about education, the deficit, debt, healthcare, etc.

In addition she can not only hold the base, but she can also expand from that. From her interview with Lori Geary, I believe she is Pro-Gun, says her mother owns a gun and her boys are also hunters, abortion, well that's a unknown at this point, but she should avoid getting bogged down in debates about guns & abortion & talk about things bluecollar workers like to talk about like job security, healthcare, education for instance.

So for Nunn, rural Georgia will be key in her quest to become Georgia's next U.S. Senator. Already the GOP are coming out the gate with attacks, trying as hard as they can to tie Nunn with Obama, Reid & Co.

Their strategy against Nunn will be some of this: Attack her strength with character assassination, suppress the vote, demoralize the democrats with whisper campaigns. Republicans have tow things going for them.......a fanatical base that's willing to carry out the dirty tricks and the greediest billionares to finance them. They deceive good people by diverting attention away from much more pressing issues by talking about gay marriage and abortion. That's a trick they ahve used over & over again and it will be used in this contest in 2014

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Needed: Moderates in Congress, ASAP!

Many people have bemoaned our increasingly partisan Congress, with representatives from both parties clinging to the party line and refusing to compromise with the other side. I'm hoping that the 2014 elections would help fix this problem. During the past presidential election and now into 2013, I noticed something that really bothered me. It caught me by surprise, but when I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that it actually might be at the core of all the problems we have faced, now face and will continue to face in the future.Like the White, Southern Democrat, the political moderates are a dying breed.....or are they?

I'm the type who believes we have to take into consideration all ideas, including the nuts and wackos on both sides of the median ground? Then, in the end, put all those ideas out on the table, make conscious decisions that will positively impact as many people as possible and move forward with a view on truly improving society? I have found when a politician opens his or her mouth, when your neighbor starts spouting diatribes about his right to carry 300 high-powered Bushmasters in his trunk or when you get accosted by a PETA fanatic, who screams at you to protect dogs and cats but believes in abortion, you quickly are hit with the present and sad state of America.

We are being driven to exist in either a far-right conservative dungeon or a far-left liberal haze. I find very few, if any, of the above characters who make any effort to listen to anything but the voices they hear in their own heads and that makes many, including me very uncomfortable.

Most of what they allude to has no ultimate basis in fact. It all revolves around their EMOTIONAL stake in the argument presented.

Now a moderate is defined as a sane person; someone with a political belief that sits between the two extremes of liberal and conservative, usually combining aspects of both; someone who seeks compromise on political issues and, as such, gets insulted by the two extremes who just don’t get the idea that this form of government survives by compromise; someone whose political beliefs seem quiet and mild, and, as such, is always ignored by the media, which seeks out people from the screechy left and shrill right because they make for better sound bites, like Congressman John Barrow (D-Augusta) who is a moderately conservative democrat who is neither a loony liberal nor a rabid right winger. And although she is not a candidate, I suspect Michelle Nunn (D-Atlanta), likely candidate for the U.S. Senate is in that mold as well

If there is one thing the far-right and far-left have in common, it is that they refuse to listen and shut you down if you try to ask a question or, even worse, question their beliefs. Both sides also unequivocally believe they know best about every issue presented, whether it be recycling, abortion, birth control or gay marriage.  If you ever want to get in the middle of a vicious fight, disagree with a member of either side and try to get your ideas across. You might as well scream at the moon and beat your head against the wall. So, if you stop for a second and think about the current state of affairs, it is relatively easy to follow the above statements. The leaders of both houses of government make little, if any, effort to listen to each other because as they tell you, “We believe in Republican ideals! We believe in Democratic standards!

I just wish for once they actually believed in America, the land where you and I live and suffer under the bondage of the left and the right. They don’t speak for you and me because, come to think of it, maybe there are a lot more moderates than one might believe. When you listen to the far-right and the far-left, one would think they don’t speak the same language when issues come into the light of day. No one can compromise on gay marriage because marriage was instituted by God and given to a people who enter marriage only to call it quits at a failure rate of probably 50%.

We are told living in moderation will make us healthy, so we exercise and eat the right foods. We get a good night’s sleep and we practice breathing deeply and correctly. We cut back on the sweets and try to eat a few more apples and peaches a week. I think it is time to refute the comment that moderates are dead or dying, and scream that they are far from dead. They are very much alive and ready to take back the country. If the far-right and the far-left can’t do the job we sent them to do, let’s come up with a good name for the moderate party and return Washington to a form of sanity we haven’t seen for decades.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cobb County Democrat & State Senator Doug Stoner announces bid for Chair of the GA Democratic Party

"It is critical to connect Democrats around the State. Just as we've seen in the Georgia Legislature the priority of metro and rural citizens may not be the same. So it is with Democrats. It will be incumbent on our party's next leader to build consensus to ensure our success. I believe I have demonstrated that I can successfully build and lead that effort"Former State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) in a press release a few days ago, who announced his intentions to seek the Chairmanship for the Georgia Democratic Party.

Prior to his service in the Georgia State Senate, Sen. Stoner served one term in the Georgia House of
Representatives during 2002-2004. In 2004, Sen. Stoner was elected to the State Senate, and he was
overwhelmingly re-elected by his constituents in 2006, 2008 and 2010. During his service, Sen. Stoner has received numerous awards including: the Outstanding Legislator Leadership award from the American Cancer Society (2003 and 2004), the Outstanding Leadership award  from the Georgia Alliance for Tobacco Prevention (2005), the Local Distinguished Service Award from  the American Public Transportation Association (2004), the Georgia Association of Emergency Medical  Services Star of Life, Legislative Award (2007 and 2008), the Georgia Association of Educators  Legislator of the Year (2005), the Cobb County Association of Educators Cheryl C. Rice Friend of  Education Award (2005), Legislative awards from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia  and the Georgia Municipal Association (2009 and 2010), the Georgia Conservation Voters  Environmental Leadership Award (2006, 2008, and 2010), and the Outstanding Legislator Award from  the Georgia Council on Aging (2010).

Stoner joins former State Sen. Mary Squires, current DPG Vice Chairman of County Parties RJ Hadley & Keyantwon Stephens of Athens, Ga.

Two other names that continues to receive attention are Former Gubernatorial candidate & House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin & Tharon Johnson, who led campaigns for John Barrow & John Lewis.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

DPG Chairman's Job Now Open to All, Regardless of Race or Gender

In a letter sent out to Georgia Democrats, Interim Chairwoman Nikema Williams have decided to open the DPG election to any democrat, not just for white males only.

Says Williams in the letter,
As you are aware, I have been in regular contact with our local party leadership as well as national party leaders to help navigate our upcoming special election for party chair. After extensive consultation, I have decided to open this election to any Democrat who chooses to run for the position.
I believe that an open election is more consistent with our fundamental belief of full participation in the political process.

Our state charter and bylaws were created to implement this very process, at a time when women and people of color had been systematically excluded from full participation.  It is that open process that I want to honor.

Our Counsel agrees and has advised me that the provisions of our charter and bylaws that address racial and gender composition of party officers can be interpreted as a goal that is intelligible when all offices are open for election, but do not explicitly apply in a special election for a single position.

I will be directing our Charter and By-Laws Committee to draft appropriate amendments that will clarify the goals of inclusion and establish uniform procedures for filling vacancies in any office at state, county, congressional district, or other level.

Therefore, the Special Election for Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia will be held on Saturday, August 31, 2013. The deadline for declarations of candidacy as outlined in the June 20th election notice will be extended until Wednesday, July 31, 2013. This will provide an opportunity for any Democrat to participate fully in our process.

GOP War on Poor People

When we talk about the poor, the word 'Poor' is always associated with minorities and this is a group the GOP is having trouble appealing to and it's latest actions will only make it harder for them to appeal to them in future elections.

 In a country where more and more people are living in poverty, why is the GOP branding itself as the party that hates the poor? Increasingly threatened by demographic changes, since November the GOP has sought to make inroads among Latinos while not losing more ground with America’s women. But their latest move will merely reinforce that they stand for punitive policies that target exactly these demographic groups, as they represent a significant segment of the growing population that is poor.

The Republicans are fighting a deliberate battle against the poor. It is audacious, insensitive and ugly. Republicans have clearly decided that the War on the Poor is good politics such as the case when it comes to food stamps.  Republicans seem to think people on food stamps must just be lazy -- or worse. Republicans are ideologically incapable of imagining a world where people can't find a job because there aren't enough of them. In other words, they won't let themselves understand the world we live in. They think food stamp use is at record-highs, because people are drug addicts or just shiftless, not because the recovery has been so weak. This insistence that our problems are all supply, and no demand, is why Republicans have opposed any and all attempts to stimulate the economy.

FYI: Food Stamp Use is Highest in Red States such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Texas, etc.

 The number of Americans relying on federal help to get food has been climbing for years now. It’s not just the unemployed relying on the vouchers....seniors, veterans, school children and the disabled are among the groups hit hardest in this Great Recession. And the Republicans in Congress have a great idea that will save money and take care of the hunger problem: Cut America’s “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” completely…

(GA-1) Democrats chances in the 1st Congressional District

Georgia's 1st Congressional District has a R+9 Republican Advantage, the same as Georgia CD-12 where Conservative Democrat John Barrow (D-Augusta) current represents. So the question is, can a democrat win down in the newly drawn district which now includes all of democratic-controlled Chatham County? Can democrats find a John Barrow-type democrat in that area to run in that area?

On the GOP side, former USDA Official & 2010 Agriculture Commissioner candidate Darwin Carter, State Senator Buddy Carter, State Rep. Jeff Chapman, Congressional Aide David Schwarz, Veteran Bob Johnson, and former Savannah Mayoral Candidate Stefan Jarvis.

So it's likely there will be a runoff on the GOP side, but back to the democratic side.

The democrats best bet will be on the local level, a county commissioner, mayor to find a candidate.... or military veteran such as the case when Retired Lt. Col. Bill Gillespie ran back in 2010

I don't know what's happening in terms of recruiting for the 1st, but dems should seriously look at fielding a Strong, Credible candidate for that seat.

It's Time To Do Away With Gerrymandering

Are you frustrated with the political environment we see not only in Georgia but in Washington, D.C?

Looking at the entrenched partisanship and gridlock in our political system, it's easy to become cynical. Year after year, it seems nothing changes. That's because your votes don't really count. One of the reasons is simple: GERRYMANDERING

Gerrymandering has effectively disenfranchised the majority of voters - and they don't even know it.

Districts are noncompetitive, so the winners are determined in primary elections, where the turnout is always low (typically about a third of registered voters) and the electorate is dominated by the most extreme and partisan voters. Legislators can only be defeated in the primary and so must become rigidly ideological, since any compromise can (and has) cost members their careers. That has led to legislatures as well as Congress incapable of solving problems.

With the SCOTUS decision to drop section 4 of the VRA, which was a huge mistake, what really needs to be looked at now is the total elimination of Gerrymandering.

In this redistricting process, gerrymandering – the manipulation of district lines for political advantage – has become the political weapon of choice. The two main purposes of gerrymandering are to protect the seats of incumbents and to allow the dominant party in a state to win more seats that it deserves.

A typical example of gerrymandering would be to draw district lines to keep a city with a large African American population out of a white Republican’s congressional district. The politicos would do this because African Americans are more likely to vote Democrat. In exchange for this the Republicans let the Democrats exclude white rural areas likely to vote Republican from their districts.

The result of this gerrymandering is that our politics get artificially polarized along ideological, cultural and racial lines. Republicans can safely ignore the concerns of African American voters because they know they won’t be a factor in their reelection. Democrats can safely ignore the concerns of rural and suburban whites because they know those people don’t vote in their districts. Instead of a healthy two party contest, elections become nasty little battles between different factions of one party. In many cases narrow ideologically focused bands of extremists can dominate the electoral process. Candidates have to pander to these groups rather than address issues of real concern to voters.

Eliminating gerrymandering for Congressional & Legislative districts could make our politics more moderate. When elections are held in predetermined geographic regions not drawn up by politicians, American voters tend to elect moderate middle of the road candidates dedicated to compromise. When politicians have to face election outside predetermined regions they tend to move the center. History also proves that candidates will abandon polarizing racial, cultural and ideological politics when their re-election depends on those of another race or culture. Getting rid of gerrymandering wouldn’t be a cure all but it could go a long way to improving our political system. In particular it could give us a House of Representatives that actually looks something like the America it represents.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mike Berlon: It's time to remove yourself and your baggage as Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party

It's time for Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon to step down as head of the State Party so it can move on in preparation for 2014.Recently, Berlon had his law license suspended and received a reprimand from the state Supreme Court, and he's facing a lawsuit from a Gwinnett County man over missing funds, etc, etc. David Worley, a former chairman of the state party, said Mike Berlon’s legal woes tarnish the party’s image and hamper its abilities to raise funds. I agree with Worley who said he’ll ask the Democratic Party of Georgia’s executive committee to recommend Berlon’s ouster at next month's June 6 meeting.

Now Berlon has his staunch supporters who voted for him in huge numbers over former Secretary of State Candidate Darryl Hicks (who I supported) back in 2011 in a bid to take over as party chair from Jane Kidd.

But given his legal woes and the woeful state of the once-powerful Georgia Democratic Party, now is the time to remove Berlon as chair of the beleaguered Democratic Party.

The Georgia Democratic Party is in desperate need of a leader who can come in and knock some heads together. With 2014 Statewide & Legislative races right around the corner, the sooner State Dems can deal with this problem, the better.

Now who would take over as chairman and finish out Berlon's term? I suggest looking at current and former state legislators.

Former State Legislators such as Terry Johnson of Marietta, Don Wix of Austell, Kevin Levitas of DeKalb County Stephanie Benfield of Atlanta, Dubose, or Current Legislator Calvin Smyre of Columbus ought to be considered for serving out the rest of Berlon's term.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Michelle Nunn & Georgia Senate Race.....How bad does she want it?

Conservative Democrat John Barrow (D-Augusta) will not seek the soon-to-be-open Senate next year, which now leaves Michelle Nunn (D-Atlanta) as the top choice on the democratic side.

Nunn, who is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-Perry) is a largely unknown individual who once before flirted with a run for the Senate. But this time, if she's going to do it, now is the time.

Nunn is the CEO of Points of Light and co-founder of HandsOn Network, which is the largest volunteer network in the country, . Points of Light inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a major in history and a minor in religion. She has studied at Oxford University and in India. She was a Kellogg National Fellow and has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. No one knows her views or positions on certain issues that will come up if she does run for the senate...but that maybe a good thing, who knows. If she gets in the race, will that clear the democratic field? It's possible with other possible candidates such as State Rep Scott Holcomb, & Ex. Attorney Gen. Thurbert Baker rumored to be eyeing the seat as well.

The one advantage Barrow would have had is his appeal & knowledge of the "Other" Georgia...Rural Georgia, which democrats can not continue to perform poorly in if they ever want to be competitive statewide again. Just winning the urban & suburban areas alone won't be enough to overcome a republican way, no how!

Nunn with former Pres. George H.W. Bush
This is a area that Michelle Nunn father can play a important role's been 24 years since Sam Nunn been on the ballot here in Georgia, but among those who are 55 or older who still remember him, he or she maybe willing to consider voting for her because of who her father is....but like I said, it's been 24 years & Sen. Nunn's coattails will only drag her so far.

Someone asked me about ex-Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond in regards to this race & I said..I like Mike, but he needs to look elsewhere based on his ill-fated 2010 senate run against Johnny Isakson. Thurmond should seriously look at a run for the 10th Congressional District or even Governor against Nathan Deal.

Back to Nunn, she'd be a formidable candidate for the GOP, there's no doubt about that....but does she have the heart, the bad does she want to be senator? Based on reports, it looks like a foregone conclusion that she'll enter the race, but we'll see. If not, then Moderate Democrat Scott Holcomb is waiting in the wings and he could be a candidate for governor himself in 2014

Sunday, March 24, 2013

John Barrow...Run for the U.S. Senate or remain in the 12th CD?

Hello everyone, PPolitics has been on a hiatus for the last few months in which alot has occurred over that period of time. So let's dive into the topic everyone is talking about, the U.S. Senate seat which will be vacated by Saxby Chambliss next year. 

As many of you may already know, incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss decided against running for re-election in 2014 due to frustrations he has with Washington. That decision has many Georgia republicans taking a long look at that seat including Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun (who already announced his entry) & possibly other GOPers as well. On the democratic, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said no, as did former congressman Jim Marshall. Michelle Nunn is a possibility, as is Congressman John Barrow, but Barrow maybe the democrat's best hope for winning that seat & if there's anyone who can pull it off, its John J. Barrow

Georgia's 12th District Congressman John Barrow (D-Augusta) is not your typical democrat. He's one of the last remaining rural, conservative democrats left in the south who knows what it takes to win tough elections. If Barrow does decide to throw his hat into the U.S. Senate race in 2014, his chances of winning are pretty good. One huge advantage Barrow have over a Paul Broun, a Jack Kingston, a Phil Gingrey, a Tom Price....or any other potential Republican candidate is that he's battled tested. Neither of the people mentioned have never been involved in a tough, drag 'em out political campaigns. All hail from very safe, gerrymandered congressional districts where they have either gone unopposed or faced first time, very weak democratic opponents, as where Barrow has faced tough competition from his left (Regina Thomas) in the democratic primary & to his right, republican Max Burns in the general election.
Rural Dem. John Barrow (D-Augusta)

Barrow is best suited for a general election, not a primary, which would be his biggest problem where democrats nationally have moved even further to the left since the 2012 elections. The majority of Barrow's positions are not in line with today's Democratic Party.  Democrats want a liberal, staunch president Obama supporter to be their candidate in 2014, but guess what, that kind of candidate doesn't stand a chance of winning here in the peach state next year.

Barrow is a old school, pro-business democrat who is a tough, savvy campaigner who has appeal across party lines, which a democrat will need if he or she wants to win statewide. Now personally, I prefer Barrow to remain in the 12th where I believe he can stay for long time regardless how the district been drawn. Now if Barrow were to run, then you have to find someone to run for the dems. Former State Senator & current Southern District of Georgia Attorney General Ed Tarver is said to be interested in the seat if Barrow makes the jump according to Jim Galloway of the AJC. Another possible candidate comes to mind is current Augusta Mayor Deke Coperhaver, who's independent status would make him a strong candidate in the 12th, even for the 10th Congressional District for that matter.

Other names that have been floated for the soon to be open U.S. Senate seat include former Legislative Director and Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, ex-U.S. Ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin & Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. Michelle Nunn's biggest asset would be her father who was one of the most beloved politicians this state has ever produced outside of former governor Zell Miller. If she gonna finally do it, now is the right time to do so!

But if there is anyone who can pull it off in 2014 and win that senate seat, it's John Barrow. This will be one, if not the biggest decision of Barrow's political career on whether or not to seek that senate seat.

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

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