Republican Issues Give Democrats Their Path Forward

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Democrats will not build a new majority in Georgia by themselves. They’re going to need to get some help.  The rejection of T-SPLOST across much of Georgia in the July primaries may be an aberration, or it may be a canary in the coal mine indicating growing voter dissatisfaction from Georgians over current leadership, trends, and direction.

Despite decades of work, Republicans didn’t become a majority purely on their own merit.  Instead, an arrogant and politically tone deaf governor alienated a broad coalition of political constituencies.  Each to this day takes credit or is credited with ending 130+ years of solid Democratic rule.

Educators, Northern Arc suburbanites, “historians” longing for Georgia’s rebel flag, and South Metro Atlanta suburbanites opposed to GRTA as a stalking horse for MARTA all took a pound of flesh from Governor Roy Barnes.  He had all the power of incumbency and outspent Sonny Perdue handily.  And he lost.  The voters were angry, and Democrats bore the brunt of that ire.

While it isn’t impossible that voters could be equally as angry in 2014, it isn’t as likely either.  The Republican power structure of the state appears to be ready to appease the largest voting blocs of the party with legislation addressing traffic, ethics, and education during the upcoming session of the general assembly.  By doing so, they will then be finally acknowledging they own the problems that should have been addressed during the last decade.  The performance of these plans between now and 2018, when a new Governor, and likely new Lt. Governor and many other statewide officials will be selected, can give Democrats the opening they desire.

Democrats are already beginning to find legs with their messaging.  Beginning with Senate opposition to HOPE scholarship reforms, the minority party began to find a backbone and understand the divide and conquer strategy that Republicans used to split the majority Democratic caucuses during the 80’s and 90’s.

Democrats, however, are using good old fashioned populism and pragmatism in an attempt to peel off rural Republicans from their Suburban Atlanta counterparts.  The income means test for HOPE recipients as proposed by Senator Jason Carter was demonstrably better for the constituents of rural Republican legislators, but significantly worse for the constituents of suburban Atlanta Republican legislators.  Ultimately, the Governor’s plan prevailed, but not without Democrats exposing a weak link in the Republican’s unified majority.

Democrats are now taking aim at Republicans plans to promote state sponsored charter schools. They are using Republican school board members predominately in suburban Atlanta counties to argue the Republican concept of “local control” is being violated by this amendment.  They can count on their side Republican State School Superintendent John Barge, who is persona non grata among many other statewide Republicans.  This contest is likely to move many educators who left the Democratic establishment back into their camps if not handled more delicately.

The recent fight over Georgia’s immigration reform revealed another split between rural and suburban Georgia, as South Georgia legislators’ pleas were ignored, and found themselves with crops in the field and no one available to pick them.  Rural Georgia legislators, used to being at the head table of Georgia’s political power structure, are not used to taking such a back seat, and neither are their constituents.

Another opening has been left for Democrats on the issue of ethics.  While no choirboys (or girls) when they ran things, they like members of most political parties have found religion on the subject of ethics while in the minority.  Republicans meanwhile privately concede that T-SPLOST failed not because it was a massive tax increase, but because public trust of elected officials does not exist at this time.  Democrats must now figure out how to capitalize on this mistrust if they are to use this issue for their advantage.

And then, of course, there is transportation – and lack of Republicans to execute a coherent plan.  Republicans transportation policy is defined by accomplishing two things thus far: Killing the northern Arc and adding unpopular HOT lanes to I-85 through Gwinnett County.  T-SPLOST was a failure in most of Georgia, and the initiative to relieve local governments of the T-SPLOST penalty for those regions who voted it down will likely upset the three regions that passed it.

There are plenty of issues that Republicans have given Democrats on which to make inroads.  And the reality is, the Democrats, like the Republicans before them, don’t necessarily have to offer better plans.  They need only be standing by with acceptable candidates when voters decide that inaction and failed initiatives do not deserve another term of platitudes and study committees.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at who is sitting on the Democrats bench, and what they may wish to be working on while the political climate becomes more conducive to their emergence.

65 comments

  1. dorian says:

    You know, I’m not a politician or pundit, but from an observational standpoint having the republicans run everything is AT LEAST as bad as having the democrats run everything. Maybe, not for the same reasons. If you’re a politician, the best thing you can do for me is nothing. Just leave stuff alone. See how things go for a while. Since our legislature in Atlanta is so enamored with how things run in Texas, why don’t you start with meeting every two years like they do? I could support that. I’d support it in Washington too. It’s like I have to choose between one group who only gives tax breaks to their friends or another group who just gives money away to people who now apparently don’t even have to bother to try and find a job. What an awesome choice.

  2. Gary Cooper says:

    The problem with Georgia Republicans is not that they don’t have good ideas or good legislators, a great number of them are and have great ideas. What is lacking is the leadership to advance those ideas and to keep the coalition together. The Democrats were really good at this when they were in power, whether it be Tom Murphy in the House, Zell Miller in the Senate, or a host of Governor’s over a period of time. The fact of the matter is, someone stood up and said this is what needs to be done and got it done and got most everyone on board. We don’t have that with Republican leadership currently.

    I sincerely hope, because I believe in conservative form of Government, that the leaders in Georgia step up in 2013 and put forth credible plans to put us on the right path to correcting our transportation issues. Our leaders also need to do a better job at selling the charter school amendment and how it actually helps Georgia families and students. However, fixing education should not stop there. Local school boards want local control and frankly you should give them the option. Give all local school systems in Georgia the achievable opportunity to become full charter systems. Allow them to better utilize their local funding and ease up on state mandates. Tie a percentage of their state funding to how well they meet certain benchmarks. In addition, the local school systems need to allow more choices to parents should they obtain full charter status. If a parent wants to send their child to a particular school within the district, then the school system should allow it and put the money for that child at the school of their parents choice. Ethics reform is a must. Georgia, as a state, can no longer afford having our political leaders – from either party – questioned and shamed by horrible ethics. Put some teeth in ethics legislation and make that threshold more black and white and less grey.

    • Used to hear a lot of stories from old guard Republicans (pre-2002) of how Democrats would “steal” their bill ideas – they’d introduce something one year, the next year (or later that year) roughly the same bill would be introduced by a leading Democrat and passed into law.

      These guys had good humor about it – if you believe in the idea who cares who gets the credit.

      Now – can you imagine this happening in reverse these days? I can’t. I know for a fact that there was a big appetite for the Democratic HOPE alternative (or striking a compromise) among Republican senators – and why wouldn’t there be as the Dem alternative was better policy and politics. But they rammed through their version.

      That’s not how it used to work, despite what some people might say.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Gary Cooper,

      Excellent points and excellent suggestion about giving all local school systems the opportunity to become full charter systems if they so choose, though there may already be some legislation on the books that allows but I am not completely sure.

      I also agree that legislative should do a better job of selling the charter school amendment if it is something that they really believe in as they have not really done the greatest job in communicating why this amendment would be so great if it passed.

      But, of course, selling the charter school amendment would require that our highly-esteemed State Legislature actually do some type of work, which is something that they don’t really like to do all that much, except for during the last few days of the Georgia General Assembly legislative session in the spring, of course.

  3. John Konop says:

    The party that deals with the wages falling and jobs going to third world countries will end up in control. I do think Charlie brought up some valid points, but at the end it is all about money for the average person…………..

    ………World’s richest woman suggests $2 a day wages for Australian miners

    The world’s most wealthy woman is warning that firms are in danger of having to abandon iron-ore mining in Australia if wages are not cut, pointing out that African miners are “willing to work for less than $2 per day.”

    In a video recently posted on the Sydney Mining Club website, 58-year-old Gina Rinehart — who has amassed a $18 billion fortune through iron-ore prospecting — said that Australia could be more competitive by emulating Africa.

    “We must be realistic, not just promote class warfare,” the billionaire explained. “Indeed, if we competed at the Olympic games as sluggishly as we compete economically, there would be an outcry.”

    “The evidence is unarguable that Australia is indeed becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export- orientated business,” she insisted, adding that “Africans want to work. Its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day.”

    Under current exchange rates, $2 a day in Australia is worth about $2.04 in U.S. dollars.

    “It’s not the Australian way to toss people $2, to toss them a $2 gold coin and then ask them to work for a day,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters on Wednesday. “We support proper Australian wages and decent working conditions for Australian people.”

    Rinehart came under fire last week after she wrote a column urging those “jealous” of the wealthy to “spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working.”……………

    ds-richest-woman-suggests-2-a-day-wages-for-australian-miners/

    • Hardly says:

      Paul Ryan: ” Wow !! Somebody give that brave job creator a tax cut before it’s too late ! ! She’s earned it ! !”

    • Scott65 says:

      She is the richest woman in Australia, not the world. Also, she inherited the business…she didn’t build it from scratch. She did, however, vastly increase its worth. If you read some of her writings…she make Scrooge look charitable (pre ghostly visits).

      • China needing materials vastly increased it’s worth. To her credit she’s been successful but had she inherited something less valuable no guarantee. Her current behavior makes me wonder how long she’ll keep growing the business at record pace.

        • John Konop says:

          Chris in all due respect you seem to have no issues with Americans getting replaced by illegal immigrants for a cheaper rate, less rights…….. Do you not support her political view relative to workers? She is just taking to the extreme…

          • benevolus says:

            I can’t speak for Chris, but I think the dilemma is that we are dealing with human beings, not numbers. I don’t think you can just round up 12 million people and dump them in the desert. We have to find a way to mitigate the financial burden but in a humane way.

            • John Konop says:

              There you go again…..I never said anything about rounding anyone up. I just made the point that this issues is not as black and white as both sides make it.

    • saltycracker says:

      If I recall from Forbes articles she is no sweetheart, inherited the mine’s, caught the boom wave and is involved in lawsuits with her children over the family trust. Suspect her approach to digging in the mines is like GA. farmers with illegals, no rules except those from the boss.
      Don’t think she’ll be a pin-up poster gal as a shining example in the mining industry.

  4. Three Jack says:

    Not sure what unions screwing their workers has to do with charter schools, the NARC and transportation, but I do see why I no longer consider myself a republican. I was against the party on the 4 main issues Charlie mentions; charter schools (go for real reform, not this incremental stuff that never works), HB87/chase off mexicans because you get the nut vote, Northern Arc (would be completed by now, think about that the next time you drive from Woodstock to Duluth) and ethics (or lack thereof).

    Dems are no better, but Charlie is correct about them playing the emotion card well which could lead to a few statewide pickups if they ever find decent candidates.

    • Scott65 says:

      One only has to look at the fool Amy Kremer, of tea party fame, made of herself in front of a national audience if you need an answer to the question what has happened to the Republican party and politics in general. When you let people like this get out on a national stage its embarrassing not only to GA republicans…but to all Georgians. Yet, these are the people they are pandering to…gonna get us where we need to go…dont think so

      • caroline says:

        I hadn’t seen that before. I’m sure people all over the country are seeing that lady and laughing at her. You know what’s probably even more interesting is the fact that people see that and it turns people off of Mitt because who would want to turn the reigns of government over to that nut.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Unfortunately, it was on CNN, so not that much of mainstream America was probably watching.

          • Stefan says:

            CNN gets the people that don’t tune in through the entire show. Unfortunately they don’t count. However, their viewers are less likely to describe themselves as either “liberal” or “conservative” than the other two “news” networks.

            • Stefan says:

              sorry, didn’t finish the thought

              …which means they are more likely to have swing voters and thus performances like this are all the more damaging.

          • caroline says:

            With You Tube think about how things go viral. So not many might have seen in live but there’s no telling how many people have seen it the same way I just did.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        An extended argument that the candidate that the Tea Party opposes don’t love America is film documentation that large swaths of the Tea Party’s grass roots are as smart as a bag of hair.

        All they need to know is that Obama is a Kenyan muslim socialist that hates America.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      You’re right that the Northern Arc would be completed by now…except, perhaps, for that part of the road that runs through Bartow, Cherokee and Forsyth counties which played a key role in defeating the road.

      • Gary Cooper says:

        The Northern Arc idea was about a decade to late, although it would still be useful just as a different proposed route. You allowed the route that it was long proposed on to be developed and thus brought many new citizens (also voters) that did not take too kindly to the suggestion that they were about to be uprooted for a four lane road.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          The Northern Arc idea was (at least) a decade too late…Fits exactly into the continuing theme of Georgia’s transportation policy…

          You make a great point…For the Northern Arc idea to have had a better chance of success it would have been proposed, at the very least, a decade earlier when the area surrounding the path of the proposed road was much more sparcely-populated with a lot fewer high-income and politically-influential voters to oppose a road that had actually been on the books since the 1960’s (when the type of growth and development that the Atlanta region has seen was actually considered to be something that was akin to tales of fiction).

  5. Somebody on this blog has to stick up for Evil Republicans and I guess that somebody is me.

    There are problems for Democrats on a several of the issues Charlie mentioned.

    1) Charter Schools: A sizable portion of their base supports the charter school amendment. While only a handful voted for it in the Legislature, 44% of their primary voters said “Yes” to this question, very much biased in favor of a no vote: “Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?” If anywhere close to that percentage votes yes in November, the amendment passes easily. Democrats need to be careful or they’ll be out of touch with their base on this issue.

    2) Ethics: Other than Common Cause, Democrats have been silent on Ethics. Of course that’s probably the smart thing since the GOP is beating itself bloody all by itself. Also, contrary to conventional wisdom, Republicans have done a number of things to strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws since gaining the majority, especially since Ralston became Speaker. Now Ralston is proposing to eliminate gifts. The people spoke, he listened. Shouldn’t voters be happy with that?

    3) The Democrat Bench is thin. While there are certainly up and comers out there, they need to do better than joining with Republicans to boot out an Athens incumbent by electing…..another Republican.

    4) We’ve seen that voters are willing to toss out incumbents this year. However all that’s happened thus far is Republicans have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Republicans, and Democrats have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Democrats. Are voters willing to replace their incumbent with someone from the other Party? We don’t know that yet. Georgia is a pretty conservative State and the Democrats in Georgia, with a few exceptions, are not all that moderate. It’s hard for me to envision voters in a conservative district tossing out the devil they know in favor of a liberal Democrat.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      (1) The converse may be true, GOP General Assembly support for charter schools may exceed the rank and file.

      (2) I suspect there is a greater proportion of Dem General Aseembly candidates that GOP candidates on record supporting limitations on gifts.

      (3) No dispute.

      (4) I don’t think a willingness to toss out General Assembly incumbents has yet been demonstrated. I suspect the incumbents defeated in 2012 primaries is about par for the course in a redistricted year.

    • John Konop says:

      …. 1) Charter Schools: A sizable portion of their base supports the charter school amendment. While only a handful voted for it in the Legislature, 44% of their primary voters said “Yes” to this question, very much biased in favor of a no vote: “Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?” If anywhere close to that percentage votes yes in November, the amendment passes easily. Democrats need to be careful or they’ll be out of touch with their base on this issue….

      This is a strange issue. I do think inner city schools districts do have support for Charter schools which hurts Dems. But red districts with good schools have opposition to the state taking control of their districts which hurts the GOP. I think net-net it may end up hurting the GOP via the lack of controls in the bill over time as tax payers take hits……… Had the GOP but in proper controls they would win the debate ie coordination with district, private companies at less risk over tax payers……

      …….2) Ethics: Other than Common Cause, Democrats have been silent on Ethics. Of course that’s probably the smart thing since the GOP is beating itself bloody all by itself. Also, contrary to conventional wisdom, Republicans have done a number of things to strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws since gaining the majority, especially since Ralston became Speaker. Now Ralston is proposing to eliminate gifts. The people spoke, he listened. Shouldn’t voters be happy with that?….

      This is based on future behavior and we will see…………

      ………3) The Democrat Bench is thin. While there are certainly up and comers out there, they need to do better than joining with Republicans to boot out an Athens incumbent by electing…..another Republican…….

      I agree and do not see any cohesive message……….

      …….4) We’ve seen that voters are willing to toss out incumbents this year. However all that’s happened thus far is Republicans have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Republicans, and Democrats have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Democrats. Are voters willing to replace their incumbent with someone from the other Party? We don’t know that yet. Georgia is a pretty conservative State and the Democrats in Georgia, with a few exceptions, are not all that moderate. It’s hard for me to envision voters in a conservative district tossing out the devil they know in favor of a liberal Democrat…….

      I agree but if demographics change than Charlie is right……………

    • griftdrift says:

      The Dem bench is thin but not as thin as it was four years ago.

      The larger problem is their leadership is thin.

      Despise Roy Barnes and his personal henchman, Bobby Kahn, all you want, but at least they kept the lights on.

  6. seenbetrdayz says:

    4) We’ve seen that voters are willing to toss out incumbents this year. However all that’s happened thus far is Republicans have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Republicans, and Democrats have replaced a few of their incumbents with other Democrats. Are voters willing to replace their incumbent with someone from the other Party? We don’t know that yet. Georgia is a pretty conservative State and the Democrats in Georgia, with a few exceptions, are not all that moderate. It’s hard for me to envision voters in a conservative district tossing out the devil they know in favor of a liberal Democrat.

    That neglects the Law of the Stay-Homers. I don’t think it would be necessary for anyone to vote for the other party. What seems to happen more and more in these elections is that people just end up staying home, and the other party takes over practically by default. Elections are decided by a smaller and smaller proportion of citizens each time the circus comes to town.

    The common retort by those who stay involved is that ‘your voice won’t be counted if you don’t vote’— which, is not a very persuasive argument with people who have given up believing that their voice matters, anyway.

    • Calypso says:

      As an interesting aside, I read a thought somewhere (PP maybe?) that if those folks who don’t vote because ‘my one vote doesn’t count’, or equally likely ‘I don’t like any of the candidates running’, all decided to vote for the same candidate (perhaps of their own choosing), then that person would be elected overwhelmingly, in most cases.

      That ‘one vote’ may not count for much individually, but if all the disheartened folks voted of like mind, then there would be a major amount of ‘count’ to it.

      No, I’m not advocating the uninformed and apathetic make an effort to get off the couch and go vote, I’m just mentioning a comment I read somewhere that I found interesting.

  7. bowersville says:

    There is no reason to encourage the uniformed and apathetic to vote. It’s bad enough that the ill informed vote.

    One of my favorite quotes from one of the uninformed, “I get my news off the Colbert Report. It’s news that’s fun and entertaining. Not so depressing.”

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Non-voting doesn’t necessarily mean uninformed. Heck, bouncing back and forth every 2, 4, or 6 years, between (D) and (R), without any significant improvement in our national debt, foreign entanglements, civil liberties, or economic growth *is* depressing, if you think about it.

  8. wicker says:

    The sad thing is that a legitimately moderate Democrat, not just someone that the media calls a moderate Democrat, wouldn’t win a primary in Georgia. Democrats have their litmus tests – including on social issues – too. It is just that no one ever castigates them for having them. Democrats would rather just keep running candidates that are well to the left of the Georgia mainstream, and blame the voters when they lose. And until that changes, the GOP has no incentive to stop nominating their less-than-stellar (to be kind) candidates. The Democrats would rather keep losing than move to the center, and that is the really sad part.

    • griftdrift says:

      Two names. Barrow and Marshall.

      I’ll add another. Kasim Reed.

      Or could it be that they are viewed as “left” because to be “moderate” in Georgia means you only agree with about 90% of the Republican/Tea Party platform. And even then, you better keep your weak wrist stiff.

      • wicker says:

        Kasim Reed is a good, mainstream Democrat. He is very good for Atlanta, but I wouldn’t want to impose him on the rest of the state.
        I will give you Barrow. If he wins re-election, he should be the nominee for governor in 2014.
        Marshall I don’t know enough about.
        And yes, this is being a moderate in Georgia, not in Vermont. Or for that matter in Utah.

        • griftdrift says:

          That you don’t know who Jim Marshall is and yet claim, in your own words, “Democrats would rather just keep running candidates that are well to the left of the Georgia mainstream” is…interesting.

          Let me help. As a Democrat, Marshall ran radio spots featuring audio clips of Rush Limbaugh. And as much as the Atlanta based Democrats complained about him, they never primaries him. On the other hand Lynn Westmoreland got two primary opponents…from the right.

          As far as Barrow running for Governor, I’ll just say this. Most of the Democratic players like him even less than they did Marshall.

  9. bowersville says:

    As far as Barrow running for Governor, I’ll just say this. Most of the Democratic players like him even less than they did Marshall.

    Which is why the GA DEMs seem stuck inside the perimeter(or other larger cities) when Gwinnett might be ripe for picking on the local level by 2014. Other south GA counties might be as well but without a move to the middle..not happening.

    At some point you would think voters would grow tired of the local R candidate, be it for dog catcher or county commissioner, presenting themselves as the only way to stop the agenda of President Obama and then delivering on nothing at the local level. But, without a viable alternative they keep winning. So for now what counts in red GA is the R primary.

    • griftdrift says:

      Barrow isn’t a move to the middle, it’s a leap. And Gwinnett is not middle Georgia. But it is ripe for the picking but not with a Barrow. More like a Scott Holcomb.

      • wicker says:

        Sorry griftdrift, but the Democrat that can actually win has to be someone that doesn’t remind the people who vote Republican of why they vote against Democrats in the first place. Otherwise, you are stuck waiting on the state to totally melt down before anyone even considers voting for a Democrat.

        Like it or not, Georgia is a center-right state. It has a large middle like every other state, true, but the problem is that there only a few very liberal voters, and a lot of very conservative ones. Many of the latter, especially in the Atlanta suburbs, are transplants from other areas of the country who honestly don’t know anything about the yellow dog (or blue dog) Democrat thing … to them “Democrat” doesn’t mean Joe Frank Harris, Sam Nunn and Tom Murphy, but Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt and John Kerry. You aren’t going to get the hundreds of thousands of people who moved to the Atlanta suburbs to get away from Democrats in California and New York to vote for Georgia Democrats unless you first convince them that Georgia Democrats are different from the Democrats that turned them into refugees. It takes people like Barrow to get that done.

        • griftdrift says:

          I see. And do you know who Scott Holcomb is?

          Here’s a hint. Prior to the latest redistricting, his was barely a Democrat majority.

          And yes. I understand very well it is a center right state. You seem to be under some impression that I’m a naive idealist. You couldn’t be further from the truth.

          And you seem to be entranced with Barrow. Might I suggest you learn about some of the other players in the DPG. Saying its an inner city urban monolith is too simple.

            • griftdrift says:

              Yes. I understand the general narrative. But you should also heed Charlie’s warning which you’ll notice didn’t mention the ITP liberal narrative once and used three ITP Democrats as examples.

              Generalities only work for a while. Eventually the narrative changes and if you tie yourself too tight to a particular narrative, you’ll eventually be in the squeeze.

        • caroline says:

          Don’t bet on everybody thinking this way. A friend of mine said he was a Republican until he moved to GA. He said the Republicans down here are just whacked compared to the Republicans in PA. I think that most of the Republicans in GA are from other southern states not necessarily from places like NY. Of course, I don’t know if there is anything to verify that because I don’t think polling gets that deep into things.

          • Dave Bearse says:

            I was a Republican when I moved to Georgia in ’91, and had become a Democrat before ’96. (Never say never, but it may be that Bush I was the last GOP candidate for Prez I’ll have cast a ballot for.) There was more to it for me than the mindset of southern Republicans, but that mindset contributed to change.

            I agree with Jay Bookman’s column of a week or two ago citing Gingrich as a catalyst for the escalation of political nastiness and partisanship. Gingrich’s tenure and his being close at hand in my new state (and not some pol in Washington from another state), likewise contributed to my change in politics.

        • SallyForth says:

          @wicker, this is SO on target, possibly one of the most astute posts I have ever seen on P/P.
          The following bears repeating:
          “You aren’t going to get the hundreds of thousands of people who moved to the Atlanta suburbs to get away from Democrats in California and New York to vote for Georgia Democrats unless you first convince them that Georgia Democrats are different from the Democrats that turned them into refugees. It takes people like Barrow to get that done.”

          And from your earlier post:
          “The Democrats would rather keep losing than move to the center, and that is the really sad part.”

    • Harry says:

      You guys are overly optimistic about Gwinnett. It’s not flipping in the foreseeable future. Many of the 57% of “minorities” don’t vote in any case. Some of the ethnics if they do vote will be leaning GOP, for example the Asians. I would even predict that a significant percentage of black voters will go GOP.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        You make a good point as Gwinnett won’t necessarily be all that ripe for the picking for Democrats if they continue to have virtually no type of organizational presence to speak of in the second-largest county in the state, despite the overwhelmingly favorable demographics that make Gwinnett the most-diverse county in the entire Southeastern United States.

        Though, with Romney and Republicans current trailing Obama and the Dems by a margin of 94%-0 with black voters, I might be very hesitant to say that a significant percentage of black voters will go GOP. That growing black vote in Gwinnett might be competitive for the GOP in Gubernatorial elections if the Dems continue putting up underwhelming candidates in statewide general elections (former Lt. Governor Mark Taylor, ex-Governor Roy Barnes, etc), but, if anything, black voters will likely just stay home and not participate in elections rather than vote for GOP candidates on a consistent basis.

      • wicker says:

        “You guys are overly optimistic about Gwinnett. It’s not flipping in the foreseeable future.”
        Agree. But it doesn’t need to flip entirely to be a factor in governor and U.S. Senate races.

        “Many of the 57% of “minorities” don’t vote in any case.” True. And that is what people are talking about with the lack of organization or leadership by the Georgia Democrats. They only care about ITP and similar, because those are the only people that they want to represent. They could care less about people who choose to live in the outer suburbs or rural areas.

        ” Some of the ethnics if they do vote will be leaning GOP, for example the Asians.”
        That isn’t the case in other states, so there is no reason why it should be in Georgia. For example, there is a huge contingent of Asian Democratic voters and officeholders in the far west.

        “I would even predict that a significant percentage of black voters will go GOP.”

        Sorry. That will never happen. What GOPers don’t understand is that blacks vote for different reasons than other groups. Where other groups are voting for a person or philosophy, blacks see voting – and voting Democrat – as a civil rights movement activity. For that reason, candidates, issues, voter self-interest etc. don’t matter. (Meaning that the motivations of black voters are distinct from that of the ideologically left-liberal black politicians and leaders.) I wish it weren’t the case, but it is what it is, and I don’t know if there is any way to end that behavior. Not that the GOP has ever actually tried, mind you. But even if they were to make a good, honest effort I don’t think that it would work.

        • caroline says:

          Actually I disagree about the GOP getting black voters. I think they can be gotten but it’s going to take doing something that the GOP so far has been unwilling to do and it’s apologize for their recent history and do a rebranding of the party. This will happen after the GOP loses a number of Presidential elections and not until then.

  10. wicker says:

    @griftdrift:

    It isn’t that I haven’t heard of Marshall, but rather that I don’t know enough about him to say whether he is legitimately moderate enough to mount a serious challenge in a race for governor or U.S. Senator. Look, several Democrats that had reputations as moderates (Roy Barnes, Thurbert Baker, Mike Thurmond, Denise Majette) turned out not to be.

    “Most of the Democratic players like him even less than they did Marshall.”

    And this disproves what I say how? If the Democrats want to keep running MINOs – folks whose only claims to being centrists is themselves and the media claiming that they are – and losing, that’s their business.

    • griftdrift says:

      I didn’t say they didn’t run him. I said they don’t like him. And there’s sure as heck not enough independents and casual Republicans that like him. A statewide run by Barrow would be a joke.

      As far as MINOs? Meh. I could explain each of those and why you are wrong but you are more tied to the Democrats only care about ITP liberals than LDIG is to paving. Not worth it.

      • wicker says:

        I can’t enlighten anyone since I live in the dark ages myself 🙂

        But to try to answer your question: tell me what it is that makes those candidates moderate. Tell me the major issues where these candidates actually deviate from the Democratic Party line, especially if the standard is a southern (or midwestern) Democrat.

        To put it another way, use the same standard for “moderate Republican” that you do for “moderate Democrat.” A moderate Republican is noticeably to the left of a mainstream or typical Republican on several substantial issues. Likewise, it takes more to be a moderate Democrat than simply not being Andrew Cuomo.

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