So…What Did We Learn Dorothy?

We’ve just ended an unprecedented two year election cycle in Georgia.  For the first time in modern history, both major parties had unlimited cash to contest elections.   Republicans ended October doing a bit of not so quiet hand wringing about their ticket.  Democrats showed energy and enthusiasm that we haven’t seen this millennium.   The media and political industries of the state have divided about $100 Million among themselves.  And what is the top line result?

Republicans hold all statewide elected positions.  Republicans held every State House and State Senate Seat.  The Democrats lost a Congressman that I (but not Lawton Sack) had become convinced was invincible.

It’s almost like we just woke up at the end of a strange trip where we tried to see the Wizard but were thwarted along the way by a witch and flying monkeys, only to be saved by characters with no heart, no brain, and no courage. (I kid, I kid…)

I’ve got some early thoughts on the lessons I think the GOP learned this cycle, some they will probably quickly forget, and some that we’ll likely think we learned but probably didn’t.   I’m going to try and shake off some cobwebs before I commit them to print.

In the mean time, consider this your opportunity to answer the above questions.  Please don’t use this as an opportunity to “spike the football” in front of our Democratic friends, as you’ll no doubt be contributing to that last category of what we think we learned but probably didn’t.  Instead, I’m honestly and hopefully looking to our community members for your thoughts on how the major parties move forward.  What do we keep, and what do we change.


  1. Ed says:

    I would say Democrats have cause to be optimistic but equally worried.

    They are gradually doing better year over year. The improvement from Taylor (easily their nadir) to now is frankly remarkable. However, the demographic shifts still aren’t happening in terms of who is voting. It will probably be a few more years before the tides finally do shift for the Democrats and they’re able to make some inroads.

    However, they’re still a long ways away. The demographic changes might not help them and even if they do, Democrats have no power in the legislature. They won’t get there by the time the next census comes around and if they are out of the Governor’s Mansion as well…

    So, basically, I know even less than I did yesterday about what the future holds for Democrats. I’ve been hearing since at least 2002 that the demographics are changing in favor of the Democrats. At some point, maybe we say that won’t be enough.

  2. Bobloblaw says:

    Well……. I’m surprised by the margin of GOP victories. I knew Perdue and Deal would finish first but I thought Deal might get 50.1% but that Perdue was going to get Saxby’s 49.6% and need a runoff. This was the best the Dems had. I know there will be finger pointing, I’ve heard that a Dem operative say Nunn was a lousy candidate. But she wasn’t, she and Carter were the best candidates since I moved to GA in 2003 ( Martin did better in 2008, but he wasntca great candidate).

    One thing the left needs to learn about demographics. Stop cheering the immenient decline of white people. Or else whites will start to vote like minorities. The last Landmark poll had Nunn and Carter at 22% white support, which I thought was absurdly low, turns out it wasn’t. We saw that last night in many races, even in blue states where Rauner in IL got 63% of the white vote. The Dems have a white problem. The GOP nationally last night got 35% of the Hispanic vote and 10-12% of the black vote. Wendy Davis got 26% of the white vote, Greg Abbott got 44% of the Hispanic vote. In GA Hispanics were only 4% of the electorate, but the GOP got over 40% according to cnn exit polling.

    So where do both parties in GA go from here? Does the GOP get arrogant? Will the Dems, if they think they will lose go with their hearts and nominate more progressives or minorities?

    • I will say two things: pretty hard to expect D’s to win here when Mark Warner is only winning by 1% and the D is losing the Maryland governor’s race by an even larger margin. This ended up being a wave election and once it was nationalized about 3 or 4 weeks ago here, our ticket was up. The proof is in how closely aligned the Nunn and Carter votes were. There was just very little difference.

      The biggest thing that hurt Dems from the numbers I’m seeing is low black turnout outside of metro Atlanta. If you had told me that we would hold the Republicans to 55 or below in Cobb and Gwinnett, carry Henry Rockdale and Douglas and generally do about 5 points better on average than Roy in the core metro counties and yet still miss a runoff, I wouldn’t have believed it.

      But then you go to a place like Irwin County, I expected the turnout to be 2,600 and it was only 2,300. The county gave 41% of its vote to Roy in 2010 and Nunn got 29.5%. And that was the story all over SW Georgia – lower turnout and it seemed to come from us.

      Still the trends are good. In a wave election, the Republican vote total was down from what Romney received. Merle and Earl Black were wrong about the Republicans winning for 20+ years, I’ll continue to be wrong about the D’s until we actually do and at that point I’ll seem clairvoyant and it will also be pretty obvious in hindsight.

  3. Ed says:

    It would also help if Democrats don’t waste good candidates by running terrible campaigns. I will play nunn of the name game, however.

  4. gcp says:

    “What did we learn?” Some should have learned that blaming everything on “evil” businessmen for all your problems doesn’t work in Ga. It didn’t work against Romney in ’12 and it did not work against Perdue. Maybe next time a little more of what you would do, rather than a bunch of ads filled with whining women.

    And also Democrats need to acknowledge there is a North Ga. and you need to campaign there. Stopping at a rest room in Rome and taking a few pictures with Zell Miller is not enough.

    For the republicans; don’t be afraid to direct your message to everyone. While you covered the state geographically; your message was only partially spread ethnically.

    And for those that voted for Deal and Perdue; watch them carefully (particularly Perdue) because we don’t need another Chambliss.

  5. Jon Lester says:

    Ever since I held a meet-and-greet for Dr. Rad last December, I felt strongly that Georgia Democrats needed a better strategy for the top two races than famous name recognition, especially in lieu of those candidates actually standing for something. Next time, they need to acknowledge when other candidates are running in a primary, and encourage honest competition.

    Republican-leaning voters need to vote in the primaries, too. We got Jody Hice in GA-10 because he has a congregation and a radio audience, and no one else could marshal enough serious-minded people to the polls to prevent this from happening. At least he’ll be a freshman representative and can’t do too much real damage, inevitable HuffPo headlines aside.

    And with all that money flying around, I need to get my T-shirt and cap printing operation in order and ready for 2016.

  6. Max Power says:

    Here’s what the Democrats in Georgia need to learn, you’re not good at running scare campaigns so stop doing it. Let’s face it, Nathan Deal may be (perhaps) corrupt but has he been that bad of a Governor? No. David Perdue was a businessman and made the kind of short term profit focused (and probably stupid) decisions business people make. Want to beat them, make selling policy alternatives the focus of your campaign. Remind everyone that the solution to poverty in Effingham County is the same as the solution to poverty in Fulton County, education, transportation, and opportunity. Finally, they need to ignore everyone from the national party apparatchik because as a rule they’re idiots.

    • Jon Lester says:

      You’re absolutely right on that last point. To cite but one spectacular example: any reasonably observant person should have known Wendy Davis was a terrible candidate for Texas governor, but everyone from the DNC on down was completely insufferable and oblivious to any such concerns.

    • I fell on the floor when I read your first comment. Fortunately, it was a short fall.

      80% of the GOP ‘supported’ PACS ran fear mongering ads of ISIS coming to get us! and Creepy photos of the lowest local race as ‘an Obama liberal.’

      And you can’t seem to fathom that anyone would have anything against those fine gentlemen. Would you have voted for Deal and Perdue if they were Democrat?

      Didn’t think so.

      And now the media is ‘bought and sold’ by all this unlimited spending and will continue to thrive on divisive reporting, and further fear mongering.

      Don’t blame the D’s. Blame Lee Attwater.

      • Max Power says:

        Yeah but here’s the difference, the GOP for a whole of reasons is great at running on fear. Democrats are not.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          You right.

          Heck, the D’s had ads out saying that the GOP wanted to cut federal funding for student loans.

          Nobody’ believed that ****. If I did, it would actually have been an incentive for me to vote FOR the GOP. Worst scare tactic claim ever.

  7. Ellynn says:

    What do peaple think about the many ‘progressive’ leaning ballet votes that passed or ‘conservitive’ measures that failed by huge magrins in states that elected republican leaders (min. wage, personhood, ect…).

    • Max Power says:

      That should tell you everything you need to know, across the nation Democrats ran on a campaign of vote against ________ because he’s bad instead they should have ran on vote for me because I want to __________. But it’s easier to run a negative campaign than a positive one, handlers are afraid to let candidates talk policy.

      • John Konop says:

        I agree via both sides…that is why it will mainly come down to math….Dems will make the next election all about women, immigration, healthcare and min-wages. If the GOP does nothing but appeal Obamcare with no real solution for preexisting conditions…, hard line on immigration, anti birth control and nothing on min-wages, 16 will be ugly for the GOP. Remember GOP has more seats up then Dems had this cycle.

        • therightdirection says:


          You seem to try and discuss things rationally, but then you include this gem:

          “hard line on…anti birth control.”

          Who is against birth control? And no, abortion is not the same as birth control.

          • John Konop says:

            You are right that is the wrong way to put it….The GOP should be for creating better access to birth control especially for low income people….All studies show free birth control cost way less than unwedded mothers….

    • Jon Lester says:

      Contrary to what you’ll see in comments at and to the left of HuffPo, voters were hardly taking a reactionary mindset this time around (and those commenters are doing nothing to repair their brand).

      • Ellynn says:

        I don’t normally read the HuffPo or many things to the left of them, so I have no idea what you are talking about. When I do read left leaning articles, I try to find a right leaning article on the same topic, so I get both sides of the issue.

        • Jon Lester says:

          You’re not missing anything, and you can get through your day just fine without seeing for yourself. Also, I gather you don’t live in a community where such talk is said out loud and in person. Nobody likes being called stupid for how they vote or who they support.

  8. bsjy says:

    I don’t know if the political class learned it, but the lesson to be drawn from these elections is that the split is more the “ruling class/country class” theme articulated a few years ago than “Democrat/Republican.” Cantor, a Republican leader, got bounced in a primary. McConnell, a Republican leader, got a huge margin of victory against what should have been an attractive. In Georgia, rolling out Nunn and Carter reminded voters that American politics is supposed to be about your principles and programs rather than who your father or grandfather was. The cap on income tax rates was a roundhouse punch at the gut of the ruling class, that always has important projects on which to spend revenues but never has any cuts it can identify.

    It was a bit distressing to hear all these winners talk about the need to “do something” when they were emphasizing the “do” instead of specifying the “something.” Republicans will squander their victory if they focus on the thrill of ruling rather than the reality of lives of the folks in the country.

  9. androidguybill says:

    Enough with the “we had bad candidates”. Deal, Perdue, and Woods were bad candidates.
    Enough with the “he ran a bad campaign.” Deal, Perdue and Woods ran bad campaigns.

    The Democrats keep waiting on demographics to save them. The problem is that even most of the nonwhite voters in this state are originally from places governed by progressive and other sorts of left-liberal Democrats. They moved away from places like California, Illinois, New Jersey etc. to come here, and moreover to suburban areas like Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and even Cherokee (Forsyth not so much). So these people aren’t going to turn out in huge numbers to vote to make the place that they came to seeking better lives more like the places that they escaped from. They aren’t going to vote Republican, obviously, but in midterm elections (no presidential candidate to vote for or against) they are going to stay home.

    And what Bobloblaw says is correct. Keep talking about how you are going to gang up on and beat white voters, and white voters are going to respond to keep that from happening.

    • The only problem with your story your’e telling is that in the places you site, we ran about even with Obama and about 4% ahead of Roy 2010. So those voters that are moving here, they are voting for Democrats still.

      • androidguybill says:

        Hello Chris:

        You did not fully capture what I wrote. Yes, they do vote, but A) not in the numbers that you need in midterm elections and B) in general elections the white turnout is higher too.

        Demographics is not going to save the Democrats. In the places that did flip from red to purple or blue like Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia etc. there was a large population of liberal white voters, like the Miami voters in Florida, the union voters in Pennsylvania or the federal workers in Virginia and of course the left coast voters in California. So in those states, even the Republicans who did win were often liberal or moderate (California’s Reagan and Deukmejian are exceptions, and even they were elected in response to the civil unrest of the 60s and 70s). Even North Carolina … yes they elected Jesse Helms, but by very narrow margins, and the governor or junior senator was frequently Democrat (John Edwards for goodness sakes!) because North Carolina has a huge progressive university community as well as a lot of union voters.

        As Georgia lacks the large population of liberal white voters, it is more likely going to be Texas (where George W. Bush got 25% of the black vote and dominated the Hispanic vote as governor by the way) than Virginia. The only real chance that the Democrats have is if the state Democratic Party machine is actually willing to countenance legitimate moderates. Barrow would have beaten either Deal or Perdue this time around, but Porter and Abrams decided to go the stealth progressive mode and wound up seeing Barrow lose too. In 2016 Isakson is an incumbent who will tie himself to the national ticket, in 2018 the Georgia GOP is going to do their best to avoid nominating another Deal, and 2020 when Perdue is up for re-election will be a presidential year again.

        • John Konop says:

          You are missing 2 major factors presidential years help Dems and changing demographics nationally. This does not include a Hillary having huge women support….

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

          The past 3 months or more, we have heard nothing but wailing from the D’s about how the GOP needs to capture more of the black vote (not that they actually want them to, it’s just something they thought they could rub in their faces). Indeed, the GOP does. More support never hurts, regardless of skin color.

          But maybe the Dems need it thrown back in their faces that they need to capture more of the white vote (or does it turn racist when the cards are flipped?), and perhaps one way to do that is to stop running around telling everyone that blacks and Hispanics are the only ones who can carry them to victory. Maybe they don’t put it so boldly, but when every single freaking poll which showed democrats losing was met with “did they poll enough black folks?”, yeah, maybe it’s the Dems who need to stop focusing so much on race, and talk about, I don’t know . . . policy?

  10. Will Durant says:

    What the Democrats should learn is to not knock the wind out of a candidates sails by blatantly playing a race card at possibly the most inopportune time they could have for the Nunn campaign. Nunn’s campaign had scored big in North Georgia with Perdue’s outsourcing comments and the polls reflected this along with anecdotal confirmation from some of my relatives. While Georgia has made great strides in race relations a divide still lingers. The Ferguson mailer probably didn’t budge the GOTV numbers for African Americans but it damn sure moved the polls and the voting inspired by White Fright.

    I think the national tide is pretty obvious and Georgia was a part of the trend. In no way do I think the mailer was the cause of Nunn’s or Carter’s defeats but it was definitely a factor in North Georgia. I thought the Anti-Obama message repeated incessantly was the wrong tactic, but obviously I thought wrong. Just as in previous years when Republicans have won majorities they will need to put out more emphasis on what they are for rather than what they are against.

      • Will Durant says:

        In the advance polls, I believe it was SurveyUSA, but whatever, after the “outsourcing” comments hit Nunn was shown to be ahead in “NW Georgia” which turned out to be North Georgia minus Atlanta Metro. This vaporized in the advanced polls after the Ferguson mailer and the feeble protest that briefly shutdown the Connector but stayed on the AJC frontpage for a couple of days. She obviously did not win big in North Georgia in the actual election and I did not mean to imply otherwise.

  11. rightofcenter says:

    I don’t believe in spiking the football because humility is never an unwise choice (plus, some of our newly elected leaders will inevitably embarrass us all and soon – I’m looking at you Jody Hice). That being said, I must say that I am very surprised by the size of the victory. As an addicted reader of Peach Pundit, I had almost convinced myself that the polls were badly underpolling the Democratic vote and that a runoff was the best we could hope for. One interesting “what if” I would like explored: what if Nunn and Carter had not been talked into running this cycle, the state had not been dubbed a battleground, and no where near $100 million had been spent this campaign? Would the end results have been any different? It’s difficult to imagine the Democrats doing any worse even if they had just mailed in an effort.

  12. blakeage80 says:

    If David Perdue wants to improve his chances for re-election, his body of work in the Senate should include signing on to as many efforts to shrink government as he can until his pen runs out of ink. I don’t trust him and neither should any voters. I have a bad feeling that his time in office will be one of doing what’s best for Sen. Perdue, instead of Georgia. I hope I’m wrong. I think we sent a greenhorn to the Upper Chamber simply because we knew Nunn wouldn’t do anything constructive for Georgia. In his campaign, all Perdue had to do was keep the jury out through election day. I foresee many phone calls and emails to his office in his first term. He might need some advice from us!

    I think Jody Hice will prove to be a fine Congressman that will serve our district well. As a preacher, he will also be able to communicate his message more effectively than Mr. Broun did.

    Gov. Deal should stay the course in the reforms he has undertaken. I look forward to seeing what he and our legislature can accomplish to improve our education in Georgia before my son reaches school age.

  13. Harry says:

    I’ve been saying to you for months – there are lots of broken glass Republicans who are motivated to go vote. The switch of Obama from an image of being inclusive to divisive didn’t help Democrats at all, and they lost the Millennials this cycle. The black turnout was not bad – it’s just that Republicans did a better job to motivate and turn out more voters. On the subject of the black vote, we Republicans keep hoping that someday we’ll ideologically sway more than 6% of them.

    Now the trick for Republicans will be to keep the agents provocateur among us from internecine warfare on each other. We have to keep the Karl Rove types from trying to suppress the Rand Paul & Ted Cruz factions, and vice versa.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      “The switch of Obama from an image of being inclusive to divisive didn’t help Democrats at all”
      Amen to that.

    • Max Power says:

      On the subject of the black vote, we Republicans keep hoping that someday we’ll ideologically sway more than 6% of them.

      Perhaps it’s the ideology that needs a little work. From the 1956 GOP Platform Statement.
      In 1956 Ike won 39% of the black vote.

      The spirit of our people is the strength of our nation.

      America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper.

      Government must have a heart as well as a head.

      Additional technical research in problems of development and distribution for the benefit of small business;

      Legislation to enable closer Federal scrutiny of mergers which have a significant or potential monopolistic connotations;

      Procedural changes in the antitrust laws to facilitate their enforcement;

      All workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.

      Furthermore, the process of free collective bargaining has been strengthened by the insistence of this Administration that labor and management settle their differences at the bargaining table without the intervention of the Government. This policy has brought to our country an unprecedented period of labor-management peace and understanding.

      rotect by law, the assets of employee welfare and benefit plans so that workers who are the beneficiaries can be assured of their rightful benefits;

      Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex;

      Clarify and strengthen the eight-hour laws for the benefit of workers who are subject to federal wage standards on Federal and Federally-assisted construction, and maintain and continue the vigorous administration of the Federal prevailing minimum wage law for public supply contracts;

      Extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable;

      Continue to fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or sex;

      Provide assistance to improve the economic conditions of areas faced with persistent and substantial unemployment;

      We have fully resolved to continue our steady gains in man’s unending struggle against disease and disability.

      We have supported the distribution of free vaccine to protect millions of children against dreaded polio.

      We have asked the largest increase in research funds ever sought in one year to intensify attacks on cancer, mental illness, heart disease and other dread diseases.

      We have strengthened the Food and Drug Administration, and we have increased the vocational rehabilitation program to enable a larger number of the disabled to return to satisfying activity.

      We have supported measures that have made more housing available than ever before in history, reduced urban slums in local-federal partnership, stimulated record home ownership, and authorized additional low-rent public housing.

      We initiated the first flood insurance program in history under Government sponsorship in cooperation with private enterprise.

      We shall continue to seek extension and perfection of a sound social security system.

        • Max Power says:

          The platform even contained support for the ERA. Remember the ERA? How could the notion of equal constitutional rights for women have been controversial?

        • Max Power says:

          Sure you can. Because people still want the same things. They want to feel like the have an opportunity to do better, that their kids have an opportunity to do better, that they’re in control of their own destiny, and that they’re government spends their tax dollars wisely on things that will actually make a difference to them. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, the GOP’s main problem is Reagan.

          Since Ike, Reagan’s the only “beloved” GOP president. As a result Republicans keep trying to rerun Reagan’s 1980 campaign. But Reagan’s policies didn’t work as advertised, and since Reagan most Americans have become convinced that we can have big government and low taxes, the result permanent deficits. The GOP needs new ideas and not just shrink government as much as you can all the time because, newsflash, that’s not what most Americans want.

          • MattMD says:

            I’m paraphrasing here but The Economist one wrote that Americans like “Big Government” but don’t like having to actually pay for it.

            I’ve must have written this a hundred times but the notion of a limited government on a federal level hasn’t been practical since the 20th century. That horse left the barn before my parents were born.

          • Harry says:

            Everything said in the Eisenhower platform was correct, but the Democrats always hungry to create a new dependency class took those 1956 goals and distorted them to fit their political needs, so that today we’re left with the budget-busting entitlements and contorted interpretations of the 14th Amendment. Concerning equal rights for women – over 100 will be in the next congress, so I hardly think they need their own amendment.

  14. gcp says:

    One other thing the republicans learned; you don’t need Isakson as your candidate to hold that senate seat in 2016.

    • John Konop says:

      Not even close…I like you…but if Johnny does not run….you would need a candidate like him to hold on to this seat….fairly simple math….The GOP will more than likely get hit by 5 to 6 points via turnout( Dems do better in presidential years) and demographic changes….Add Hillary the extra 2 points could be made up if not more via women wanting a female president. That is why the GOP needs a Johnny type candidate or it will be rough in 16.

      • gcp says:

        For some reason, Republicans love Isakson even though he has accomplished nothing. Perhaps its the “nice guy” image.

        Realistically he holds that seat as long as he wants it but age will eventually catch him so a 2016 run will be his last.

      • Bobloblaw says:

        Kingston would the best if Issackson doesnt run.

        I dont agree that moderate and GOP women voting for Hillary in 2016, translates into automatic votes for the Dem nominee.

        • caroline says:

          No it definitely does not automatically transfer to a Dem candidate but it’s not going to transfer to an awful candidate like Kingston for sure.

      • TheEiger says:

        Johnny will run for reelection, but we have plenty of republicans that can win in 2016. Tom Price, Tom Graves, Cagle, Kingston. They all win in 2016.

        • gcp says:

          Price may be the best out of those four. Cagle and Graves potential ethics problems and “careerist” Kingston? Doug Collins is a much better candidate for higher office than your four.

          • TheEiger says:

            His district helps him win the Primary because he has a very strong base. Look at registered in the 6th. Price has more voters in his base then any other republican congressman. And I’m pretty sure it’s easier to sell a surgeon that fixes people than it is a CEO that outsources jobs. If Perdue can win statewide Price can. What Democrat will beat him? No one. If he wants to be a senator he will be a senator. I don’t think he runs though.

            • John Konop says:

              I think the next cycle will be a girl power election 🙂 Not a good cycle for guys…..On top of changing demographics….Cagle is positioned well via his work on education…and he has the right tone….The doctor thing could play well….but if the GOP gets branded as the guys taking away preexisting conditions and kicking their kids off health insurance….

              This mid term could play into the hands of Hillary for 16 if the GOP play the cards wrong with a big carry for congress…My bet is OBAMA goes aggressive on protecting ACA and immigration…..bates the hard right into a fight….payback to Bill Clinton on helping his reelection campaign that was diving downward….

      • caroline says:

        Yep, the Johnny Isakson model is the kind of candidate the GOP needs for the future. Look no further than his numbers. Perdue’s days are numbered unless he changes.

  15. John Konop says:

    Math is math… is clear the GOP has declining support from women and minorities. 2 cycles ago top ticket won by 18 points now it is 7. It does not take a rocket science to see which way this is heading unless the GOP reaches out to minorities and women.

      • androidguybill says:

        Two cycles ago … who was Sonny Perdue running against again? Exactly. And Nathan Deal is an incredibly weak candidate.

        And if by “reaching out to minorities and women” you mean becoming the socially liberal party, the result will be precious few minority and female votes (about the same number who votes for socially liberal Republicans in New York and California) gained but the loss of a huge number of socially conservative voters.

        Blacks and single women are going to vote Democrat. That is not going to change and we all know why.

        • Andrew C. Pope says:

          Hate to break it to you, but “socially liberal” policies are kinda winning. Ballot initiatives increasing access to abortion, decriminalizing marijuana, and raising the minimum wage all passed, even in elections where a Republican candidate was elected at the top of the ticket. Gay marriage is now legal in 32 states.

          The support for these socially liberal policies is incredibly high among young people, even young people that vote Republican. Failure to recognize that and adapt your sales pitch accordingly would be silly.

          • Harry says:

            Gay marriage is now legal in 32 states because of unelected federal judges, not the will of the people or their elected representatives.

            • Andrew C. Pope says:

              8 states legalized gay marriage through their elected representatives (DE, HI, IL, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT)
              3 states legalized gay marriage through the will of the people (ME, MD, WA)

              An elected state circuit judge in MO ruled that the state must recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere. An elected judge in Arkansas struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. An elected judge in Florida also struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

              Richard Posner, who wrote the opinion that overturned Wisconsin and Indiana’s gay marriage bans was a Reagan appointee and one of the most influential conservative judges in the nation.

              But, don’t let facts stop you Harry.

          • therightdirection says:

            Ballot initiatives increasing access to abortion, decriminalizing marijuana, and raising the minimum wage all passed, even in elections where a Republican candidate was elected at the top of the ticket.

            Somebody better tell Wendy Davis.

            Also Tennessees ballot measure.

        • Harry says:

          We agree, the GOP is or should be the conservative (fiscal/social) alternative, but always keep focus on opportunity. “A rising tide lifts all boats etc.” The need is information and education. We should go out to all segments with the message and avoid disharmony and hypocrisy, and if so they will come over. If they don’t, then it’s their problem. At least we have tried.

          • zedsmith says:

            Can we dispense with the rising tide expression since its been shown to be untrue? You can criticize the anemic obama recovery from the the Left, or the Right— but the fact remains that Wall St is outperforming Main St.

            • Harry says:

              A rising tide eliminates the wealth discrepancy between the rich Democrats, the poor Democrats, and the shrinking GOP middle class.

              • zedsmith says:

                So we’re just going to redefine the term until it only describes circumstances that improve the lot of the poor and middle class? Hope I see one in my lifetime!

    • Bobloblaw says:

      I wouldnt say that going from 18 to 7 is due only to demographics. Different election, different candidates. Carter is light years better than Mark Taylor.

  16. androidguybill says:

    Why all the Jody Hice bashing? If the Democrats get to have Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders, then the GOP should get to have people like Hice.

    • Andrew C. Pope says:

      While they are far from the ideological center, Boxer and Sanders have never said anything openly bigoted. That’s why.

        • Will Durant says:

          bigot – a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

          ”If the woman’s within the authority of her husband, I don’t see a problem,” Dr. Jody Hice of the Bethlehem First Baptist church in Barrow County said of women in positions of political power.

          In his book, Hice writes that “[a]lthough Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology. It is a complete geo-political structure, and as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”

          In an August, 2013, radio program, Hice lamented that “you can’t even speak against a person who is a cross-dresser or a man who wants to believe himself to be a woman” without being convicted of a “hate crime.”

          Quotes are from

          • Harry says:

            Those are his opinions based on his interpretation of scripture. His comment is factual in regard those who speak out in opposition to cross dressing. Bigotry is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you for your opinion as well.

            • Andrew C. Pope says:

              Well I interpret scripture as saying slavery is ok. I’ve got a whole bunch of pastors and politicians from the 1800s to back me up on it. Guess I’m not a racist scumbag after all!!

      • See, this is the problem. Folks like Harry are so immersed in ideology and talk show talk points that they can’t be bothered with ‘facts’ because they need ammunition to feed their fear of change.

        I saw a movie a few weeks ago called “Idiocracy”. I’ve also seen what is happening with our public school system and the young parents lugging 2-3 kids when they barely look 18. And I’m not talking ‘them’ either. They are growing up quick and dumber than a sack of hammers, with a mega dose of Country Fried Jesus dumbing them further every other day.

        I used to encourage my son to procreate to make me some more grandbabies. These days, not so much. You guys are going to lose this party to the preachers and their flock. Tea Party was just training. The real purge is coming soon.

        I told my wife this morning how much I detested what politics has become, but it is too important to ignore.

  17. Andrew C. Pope says:

    Back when this whole thing started, I don’t think the most optimistic of Democratic supporters was expecting a win in 2014. Everyone I spoke to felt that 2016 or, more realistically, 2020 would be the tipping point. Everyone’s hopes for 2014 were that Democrats would be competitive enough to take advantage of some unforeseen break (like a Gingrey/Broun type winning the GOP primary). Comparing this to 2010, Democrats should be very encouraged. Carter and Nunn were highly competitive, ran good campaigns, and got the Democratic message out to way more voters than previous candidates had. At the end of the day, this was an uphill battle with an inevitable conclusion. The demographics haven’t shifted enough for Democrats to win a midterm election, especially when there is a tidal wave of GOP support nationally. Change is coming, but in the mean time, Democrats need to do a better job of registering and engaging voters, particularly young people and women. Improving the quality and engagement of local parties should be a big priority. Democrats also need to start developing a platform that can win here in Georgia with solid policy proposals for education, ethics, transportation, and creating better opportunities.

    For the GOP, this is a great win and they should be proud they could still win with bad candidates and bad campaigns. I don’t think Deal wins this comfortably without the incumbency advantage and Perdue really benefitted from national trends because he ran an utterly horrible campaign otherwise. Two words of advice:
    1) Don’t rest on your laurels – the Georgia GOP still needs to do a better job of appealing to and converting younger voters, minorities, and women. I understand that the whole, “let’s just win an overwhelming percentage of the white male vote” has been a valid electoral strategy in this state since Reconstruction, but the demographics ARE changing and the future success of the GOP will hinge on their ability to present and articulate policy positions that appeal to these new voters.

    2) Don’t do anything stupid – Democrats just demonstrated they can hang with you. More ethics issues (cough, Deal, cough, FBI, cough, cough) will only give them a bigger hammer to hit you with. Hyper-partisan legislation will only push more people towards them. If you Sam Brownback this, the Democrats will win. The longer Georgia lags in job creation, economic growth, educational attainment, etc. the harder it’s going to be to sell your message. So guys, no guns in preschools. Focus on creating jobs and opportunities. Maybe pass some real ethics reforms while you’re at it.

    As I said yesterday, the GOP winning the Senate doesn’t change anything. Obama still has the veto. Republicans don’t have the margins to override said veto. The big question is whether Republicans spend the next two years tilting at windmills or make the compromises necessary to get things signed into law. I think it’s going to be a challenge for McConnell to reign in a GOP majority that has 3 very prominent, very conservative Presidential hopefuls trying to position themselves for the primaries. When you’re the minority, it’s easy to keep everyone on message and in line. When there’s a responsibility to govern, it’s a much harder task (Boehner has faced, and still faces, this very issue in the House).

    For Democrats, I hope this provides the impetus to move on from Harry Reid and shakeup the leadership in the Democratic caucus. Tim Kaine would make an outstanding minority leader. I’d like to see bigger roles for Gillibrand, Warren, and Klobuchar. Democrats lost this thing because they were unwilling to embrace the positives they’ve accomplished in the past 6 years: economic recovery, 10 million new jobs, $1 trillion in deficit reduction, better access to health care, higher stock prices, etc. etc. Instead they tried to fear monger on Republicans. Obama’s success in 2008 and 2012 came from a willingness to project optimism. “GM is alive, Bin Laden is dead” worked as a campaign slogan because it reminded people that things aren’t as crappy now as they were. Honestly, the Democrats message should have been “Hey, y’all remember how terrible the economy was 6 years ago? Well it’s getting better, no thanks to those losers in the GOP. So, stick with us, since we’re actually trying to help, instead of handing the keys back to the drunks that crashed us in this ditch in the first place.”

  18. northside101 says:

    Some lessons?

    (1) so much for endorsements (Sam Nunn, Zell Miller). Of course Zell’s lack of clout at the ballot box was evident in 2002, when he backed Max Cleland—who lost to Saxby of course. And yesterday, Zell’s home county, Towns, backed Perdue over Nunn by nearly a 3-1 margin. Even Houston County, Sam Nunn’s home base, gave Perdue 60 percent.

    (2) like I pointed out weeks ago, it was unlikely that Nunn and Carter could win outright (majority) yesterday unless they carried more than the 4 majority-black congressional districts (2, 4, 5 and 13). And the returns make pretty clear they obviously did not win any GOP-held congressional districts. Perdue as one example got an estimated 57 percent (excluding split precincts) in John Barrow’s CD 12—Romney got 55 percent there two years ago. And in Jack Kingston’s CD 1, Perdue’s 56 percent matched what Romney got there in 2012. Nunn in fact looks like she even ran behind Obama in CD 2 (Bishop)—rough count shows Nunn with only 56 percent in Sanford Bishop’s majority-black 2nd CD in southwest Georgia, where Obama got 59 percent in 2012.

    (3) a few bright spots for Democrats—Rockdale looks like it has transformed itself into a solid Democratic county (about 60 for Nunn) and Henry County narrowly backed Nunn after supporting Deal in 2010. So Democrats continuing to make inroads on east, south and west sides of town, but remain in terrible shape in the north Georgia mountains and much of rural south Georgia.

    • androidguybill says:

      F0r c) Economics is the reason why. Middle class and working class people who moved to the metro Atlanta area could not afford the real estate prices north of I-20 (i.e. in Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee) etc. so they settled in places like Clayton, Henry, Rockdale, Douglas etc. where the real estate was cheaper.

  19. Boredatwork says:

    Not sure Republicans will learn anything (not sure of a party learning something when it won with a far wider share than was projected). Democrats should have learned that they need a candidate who can turn out the black vote without scaring off the white vote. That’s overtly racial, but the numbers on this point speak for themselves.

    Nunn and Carter should have been able to do that. But the Ferguson flier did not help, and Carter ran a lousy campaign. Deal was vulnerable on many points that carter simply failed to exploit. I think Nunn ran a very good race, but it was a lot tougher for a Senate candidate to win this year than a gubernatorial candidate. I hope she runs again in two years.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      Nunn and Carter campaigns got stuck with an overplayed, soundbite as their major issue. They let the media control the repetition until it was nauseating.
      Nunn – Outsourcing.
      Carter – Education budget.

      Nunn stayed ultra quiet in the primary, lest an opponent latch onto the a soundbite they could work to death. Her lack of issues and solid platform hurt. Others candidates avoid presenting solid ideas and plans too. It seems to work for decades of campaign cycles.

      Most campaigns tend to bait each other until they get a snarky issue that the media will not let die. Annoying to me and many people I know.

      Carter joins a list of candidates that just could not stay in place after 1.5 terms in office and continue building a good reputation by doing good work. It’s hard to vote for these folks again because you know they will jump ship and try for higher office at the next opportunity.

  20. Three Jack says:

    What we learned: Voters will overlook just about anything if they collectively despise the president. Republicans as I predicted yesterday had a big night, but not because of anything they did (they really didn’t do anything except deride Obama and scream ‘Amnesty’). This was an election about Obama’s policies, he and they were repudiated.

  21. SallyForth says:

    I have two words for the Democratic losses in Georgia: Ferguson Mailer. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a bad joke. But, nope, a state party actually sank that low in racist politics, cementing the opposition of any undecided voters and changing the votes of ones who were leaning toward Carter and Nunn. That mailer put the nails in the coffin.

    Add to that the fact that any Georgian with eyes or ears is well aware of what current corrupt Democratic control has done to DeKalb County, and voters across the state issued a resounding ” No Way!”

    And about that bunch of nut-jobs called the Democratic National Party…… The GA party should run like the wind from them, but they need the national money (especially after this fiasco). Georgia Dems have historically been conservative, and the party stayed in power until they allowed themselves to be taken over by people who moved here from elsewhere and the left-wing national party. The saddest thing that happened last night was the loss of John Barrow – the last white Democrat from the whole Southern U.S. And a traditional conservative Democrat. Georgia Dems had better hope he can be convinced to run statewide in the future; he may be their only hope.

    • SallyForth says:

      I should have clarified re traditional Southern/Georgia Democrats being conservative. They are fiscal conservatives, social moderates. They never had anything in common with the ultra-liberal national party other than the “D” after their names, but now the state party has left them too. The state GOP has out the welcome mat for all those former Democratic voters, and attrition will keep occurring in direct proportion to the amount of far-left positioning.

      • Bobloblaw says:

        Actually traditional southern Dems are fiscal moderates social conservatives. They love spending and bringing home the bacon.

  22. androidguybill says:

    Andrew C. Pope:

    Socially liberal ballot initiatives are one thing; socially liberal candidates are another. Here’s the deal: GOPers can either chase young people (a Democratic-leaning group with much lower turnout), single women and other socially liberal groups, but it will come at the expense of the older and married voters who lean GOP and vote in much higher numbers. Going socially liberal works for specific candidates, in specific states or in specific elections, it can’t be maintained or broadly applied. The only people who believe that there are all these people who would love to vote Republican if only that party would adopt Democratic stances on social issues are socially liberal Republicans. (Democrats CLAIM to believe this because they want the GOP to move to the left so they can win today and be free to move further left tomorrow … so yes they are insincere.) But the polling doesn’t show it and the election results certainly don’t show it. It is good for winning 1 statewide election out of 5 in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (generally when the economy is horrible, crime gets out of control or the Democrat opponent is facing federal indictment) but nothing else.

    If the GOP becomes “me too” with the Democrats on social issues A) the Democrats will keep moving left so any benefit is temporary and B) it will cost them tens of millions of loyal GOP voters. Most of them will stop voting. Some of them will actually start voting Democrat because of economic issues (just as a lot of them voted for populist Democrats before the “religious right” organized). There really aren’t enough “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” people out there to even so much as replace the social conservatives that the GOP would lose from its existing base, let alone expand the base.

    A lot of moderate Republicans feel otherwise because moderate Republicans – and Democrats – are all they know. Moderate Republicans tend not to have social conservatives in their personal and professional circles, and pretty much have the same opinion of that demographic as Democrats do as a result. (Which, of course, explains the grief that Jody Hice, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun got on this very blog … the many socially liberal and libertarian GOPers on here went after them much the same way that would have, and this speaks nothing of the particular disdain that Charlie Harper, the current curator of this blog, has against – gasp! – creationists!)

    But the truth is that the GOP really would be kissing off 20%-25% of its loyal support that turns out in every election (in addition to making campaign contributions and providing a large number of volunteers) in return for maybe 5%-10% that is nowhere near as loyal or energized. Of course, for the many who would rather lose as the socially liberal GOP than win as a socially conservative one because having a party that better fits their personal ideological leanings makes them sleep better at night or something, this all falls on deaf ears.

    I still remember the 1990s when Pete Wilson, George Pataki, Christine Todd Whitman and Rudy Giuliani were supposed to lead a revolution of socially liberal GOPers. All that happened was their respective areas’ reverting back to Democratic control as soon as they left office (even if technically Mike Bloomberg did “switch parties” in order to avoid a Democratic primary). Were guys like that to run for office in Georgia (or Texas, Florida, etc.) they would never get elected in the first place.

    • John Konop says:

      I guess you would call the 2 men who created the modern conservative movement liberals William F Buckley and Barry Goldwater. You know it was the socially conservatives that pushed for separation between church and state in our constitution. They came from a heavy handed one rule religious enviorment….and did not want that for America. Pleaee do not let history get in the way….

    • Andrew C. Pope says:

      The numbers indicate that social conservatives are only going to become a smaller chunk of the electorate. Millennials, Gen-Y, Gen-X tend to support socially liberal issues like gay marriage and equal pay. The approval rates get larger among the younger age cohorts. These voters are going to get older and presumably will continue to hold the same opinions on gay marriage, equal pay, etc. Older voters are, for lack of a better term, going to die off. They’ll be replaced by younger bands of millennials who will, if trends hold, support socially liberal issues at even higher numbers.

      While moderating social issue stances may alienate socially conservative voters in the short-term, it prevents the GOP from losing out on younger voters in the long term. Social conservatives are only going to become a smaller chunk of the electorate as we move forward. If you’re letting young voters escape to the Democratic party now, you risk not being able to sway them back later because the image the GOP will have cultivated among millennials is that they’re the party that hates gays, women, and equal rights.

      • Harry says:

        You have a different view of the future than I. Because of demographics the socially conservative element will only increase. Liberals, homosexuals etc. are not procreating. At some point the Democrats will bail on social liberalism. I wish I could feel as confident about the future of fiscal conservatism…that’s another story.

          • Harry says:

            What’s your counterargument? I see increasing numbers of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Middle Easterners. All of these people are social conservatives.

            • Bobloblaw says:

              You are actually possibly correct. Rising Hispanic population might be one reason why support for the prochoice position has declined since 1990.

            • MattMD says:

              Tell me what homosexuals not being able to procreate has to do with gay rights or social conservatism. Liberals don’t have kids, either? This is just nonsensical BS.

              Do you think the gay community just brought about the gay rights movement on it’s own? Based on your faulty logic, gays will eventually be extinct since they don’t procreate.

              I really try not to go into ad hominem but you really do come across as a blithering idiot.

              • Harry says:

                Do I have to spell it out for you? The demographics are changing, and the new Americans are not as favorable to homosexual behavior. In fact, a large majority in this country has never been in favor of homosexual marriage. The homosexuals pulled influence with the media, legislators and judges to very aggressively game the system. Voters in only three states have directly approved their “marriage”. The trend is not your friend, despite what you may think.

                • zedsmith says:

                  Different national/ethnic groups subscribe to different beliefs in the constellation of “social liberalism”. Latin American catholics may be more pro life than Anglo liberals, but they also favor a more redistributive tax regime.

                  Different groups of immigrants are going to become politically socialized differently as they integrate into mainstream american society due to events that we honestly can’t predict.

                  • Harry says:

                    No non-European ethnic cultures are openly pro-abortion or pro-homosexual – not to say these practices don’t exist. Beyond certain individuals who wish to appear politically correct in workplaces, don’t think the current American liberal mentality will have much effect on them.

                    • zedsmith says:

                      An awful lot of south Asians who come to the states decide that even though their home culture is nice, they don’t want an arranged marriage. An awful lot of middle eastern and African immigrants arrive, and within a generation, decide that Islam is still the religion for them, but female genital mutilation is barbaric.

                      I think it’s silly you’re pinning your hopes on a future where everybody thinks like you do. The constant pushback you experience in this comment section from people who nominally share your political affiliation should give you a little pause. Opposition to homosexuality is evaporating at a rate that is really remarkable, historically– faster than interracial marriage, I think. You want a bunch of foreigners in the streets marchig against inclusive language in sex Ed curriculum, but you expect them to magically buy into the rest of your beliefs because they’re right– but of course if that was all it took, then everybody would already agree with you.

                      Your ideology is like an impenetrable force field. If you always want to be right, you would be better served by being flexible.

                    • Harry says:

                      If you guys really think opposition to homosexuality is evaporating, why don’t you allow votes on the question? Why do you have to depend on unelected judges to implement your agenda?

                    • Will Durant says:

                      Because individual rights granted by the Constitution cannot be subject to majority rule. This should be EVERY American’s agenda.

                    • Will Durant says:

                      PEOPLE are not explicitly guaranteed the right to marriage by the Constitution. There are many implicit guarantees however. Like the 9th with: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Like the 14th you want removed has been interpreted to protect against state infringement of the right to send one’s children to private school. Somehow I don’t think you are going to gripe about that one. If you want to take it to strict interpretation of just what was written and implied at the time of the writing then the 2nd allows you carry the muzzle loader of your choosing in a well regulated militia. Of course the courts have to interpret implied rights.

                    • Andrew C. Pope says:

                      Well, Harry, people with a much firmer grasp of the Constitution seem to be of the opinion that homosexuals DO have a constitutional right to marry. One of those scholars is Richard Posner, perhaps the most influential conservative judge not on the SCOTUS bench. I’m going to take his word over yours as to what the Constitution actually says/means.

                      Like I mentioned earlier, your unelected judges straw man is bogus. Gay marriage has been approved via referenda and state legislatures. Gay marriage bans have been overturned by ELECTED judges in multiple states.

              • Dave Bearse says:

                MattMD – Harry’s mindset requires indoctrination for it to continue, ergo, homosexuals must likewise indoctrinate or recruit or become extinct.

  23. drjay says:

    i am glad the gop basically “won” yesterday…i hope they do something logical and reasonable with their majority..they have the opportunity to pass some palatable economic reform, maybe audit the fed, maybe make some reasonable changes to the current obamacare legislation (like actually letting folks keep coverage/doctors they like) and really force the prez to sign some decent bills or look like an ass for not signing them…or they can vote twice a week to completely repeal obamacare (which is a fools errand as long as the guy it’s named after is prez), shut down the gov’t and and spin their wheels, making no meaningful progress and end being the ones who look like asses…i wonder which way they will decide to go…

      • NoTeabagging says:

        or as a friend of mind said today, “Sometimes I think Republicans and Democrats are just different cheeks on the same butt.”

    • NoTeabagging says:

      No one passes meaningful legislation leading up to midterms for fear of losing votes. I’ll bet that momentum continues until the presidential elections. Keep stalling, Congress! It obviously works, as proven every two years.

      • drjay says:

        yeah but if some of the stuff i’ve already seen on fb ends up in congress…the crazy train will be rolling along by january4…”are the republicans gonna impeach obama now that they have the senate” seriously, that is your priority? seriously?

        the gop, bound and determine the scare away the reasonable people who wanted to give them a chance to balance things out…

  24. I think the voting machines were rigged. How else do you explain the 5% across the board bump in ‘close’ elections.

    Not that I have proof or even any knowledge if it happened. I just wanted to be the first tin foil hat tossed in the ring.

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