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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why is Georgia a RED state, and what can be done to change it?

"…Georgia was a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections until
1964 and the passage of federal civil rights legislation. Democratic
candidates continued to be popular in state and local elections until
the 1990s. Since 2000 the white majority has supported the Republican
Party, which has majorities in both houses of the legislature, and
more recently, control of all statewide elective offices." Wikipedia
– History of Georgia

During our 2008 school board race, the numbers were wrong, so we lost! I learned a lot about politics, though. (Photo with Beverly McMurray taken by Kurk Johnson)
As soon as Obama was re-elected, I started getting calls from my
Democratic friends in Georgia who were looking ahead to 2014, trying
to figure out who they could get to run for office in local and state
races. As you know, Georgia goes along with other Southern RED states
and didn’t re-elect President Obama. Locally, Cobb School Board Member
Alison Bartlett lost her seat after one term; PSC Candidate Steve
Oppenheimer lost his statewide race; and State Senator Doug Stoner
lost after redistricting.

Some blame Democratic defeats in Georgia on the fact that there’s no
rallying point. One frustrated voter said, “There’s no passion or fire
in Georgia Dems. The Right Repubs get supported because they have the damn Rebel Flag (history) they get behind. The Dems don't have one thing
they can all use as a lightning rod for solidarity.”

Georgia Democrats also are not powerful enough to help folks get jobs.
I remember a friend of mine years ago telling me that Repubs. in
Kentucky offered him a job only after he agreed to become a member of
the Party and donate 10% of his wages. I myself have asked Democrats
to hire me to do pr work or to help me find a job to no avail. This is
a major downfall of the Georgia Democratic Party – the inability to
help the unemployed find jobs.

“Major downfalls of the Georgia Democratic Party are inabilities to
manufacture a rallying point, find the right messengers and message,
broaden its circle of voters, and help the unemployed.”

Moving forward to the next election, Democrats in Georgia are going to have
to enlarge their circle, concentrate on issues facing more Georgians,
and help EACH OTHER get some jobs in order to turn the state BLUE in
2014-16. Stoner, Bartlett, and Oppenheimer lost which is sad, but
that is because the DEMOS in Georgia either did not read census data,
depended too much on their OLD base of voters to vote and volunteer,
didn't choose the right message and messenger when backing candidates,
or did not use social media to get out the vote!

Then there's history. Repubs in GA are politically powerful because
they have position, money, youthful volunteer teams, numbers, strong
TeaPartyers, and candidates with good names. They also have something
they are still fighting for: the rebel flag and the conservative confederate mindset.

According to CNN, Georgia along with Texas and Arizona, can turn BLUE
if it gets right with young, African American, Latino, Asian, and
college educated women voters.

In a MSNBC interview between Al Sharpton and Obama’s Senior Political
Advisor David Axelrod, it was noted that Democrats were able to win
nationally because they had the right message and messenger, thousands
of dedicated volunteers, confidence, shared responsibility, verifiable
trust, and worked on the premise that actions matter. Obama won
because he enlarged his circle of participants in the political
process which was based on Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition
after his first presidential campaign of 1984.

Axelrod said that going forward, the Obama Administration's priorities
will be building a first class educational system, promoting clean
energy, creating good jobs, ending the Afghanistan War, building our
nation’s infrastructure, solving fiscal problems, and making immigration
reform happen very soon.

He described Obama’s leadership style over the last twenty years as
never too high or low. “He’s the first person to get up and move
forward, he keeps his eye on the ball and sees long term, he presses
forward on his goals and helps others to do so; but most importantly,
he is an idealist who sees politics as more than a game…and wants to
make people believe that opportunities for a better life do exist."

Georgia Democrats can learn a lot from Obama’s win. The time to begin is now.
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.   

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