GOP must recognize the obvious: We are in charge

November 4th was a good day for the Georgia Republican Party. We hold the Governor’s Office, every constitutional position, and overwhelming majorities in the General Assembly.

Despite the enormity of this victory, however, deep divisions were exposed among the electorate. The Georgia GOP claimed only about 11% of the African-American vote and won election by holding on to an estimated 75% of White Georgians’ allegiance.  Other demographic groups were also roughly pegged into one party or another but not by as stark a division.

The only thing that is constant in politics is change. Democrats, who held a similar strong position of political power before the 2002 elections, believe that these deep divisions are the Achilles Heel for Republicans future due to shifting demographics in Georgia which they believe favors their party.

For more than mere partisan reasons, however, demographics must not be allowed to determine destiny. Politics that presumes that people will vote one way or another because they are a certain race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or zip code cheapens all of us as individuals, is injurious to the various demographic groups pigeonholed, and is corrosive to our society.

If a political party knows that a particular group will always be with it, party leaders will tend to take that group for granted and give their concerns mere lip service. Similarly, if a political party in power expects that a group will never be with it, the legitimate societal concerns of that group may be ignored.

So, what should Republicans do?   Recognize the obvious. We are in charge. With our success at the ballot box, we hold within our grasp the ability to meet the challenges facing Georgians and the responsibility to do so.

In recent years, the party’s conservative principles have provided a guidepost to progress on saving the HOPE scholarship, launching criminal justice reform, improving the business environment in general and the manufacturing industry in particular, expanding school choice through the Charter School Amendment and special needs scholarships, deepening the Savannah Harbor, tackling human trafficking, conserving water, and balancing the state budget in tough economic times.

However, much more needs to be done. Small town Georgia is losing jobs. Urban school districts have a deplorable high school drop-out rate of close to 50% and are increasingly found to be corrupt. We have a transportation system that is woefully underfunded and our mass transit in Metro Atlanta is a patch work of disjointed systems. Our statewide network of trauma centers is inadequate. We have a growing legal immigrant population struggling to assimilate. We must develop an alternative to Obamacare for the neediest among us. High school students not wanting to attend college must still develop job skills to compete. The curriculum for pre-K must improve. Greater economic development attracting good jobs at good wages is needed. The list goes on.

To meet these needs, Republicans should resist the stonewalling of the forces of the bureaucratic status quo and the harsh and stark screams from CAVE (“Citizens Against Virtually Everything”).

Instead, we must be the party of reform by recognizing these compelling concerns of everyday citizens across all demographic categories and make their worries our calling. Only by having the courage to so, will we make Georgia a better place to live and solid red for years to come.

 

28 comments

  1. I wish.

    But it will be a while. A long while.

    My observation is this is a Big Red Herd. They don’t move much unless Farmer Leadership nudges them and freak out if anyone frisks inside the fence, like the two ‘mavericks’ they went out of their way to simply muscle out the undesired. Out you go! Now you are one of them – an outsider looking in.

    And the heard moves little, chewing up what grass there is, never trying to jump the fence. Live goes on, status quo, laa dee da..

    I’d like to be proven wrong and see the Lege decriminalize cannabis for adults, and provide some sort of safe access for patients. There seems to be rumors in little pockets that several are lining up to sponsor such legislation, but the liars at the Sheriff’s Association (yes, I called you a liar sir, based on your ‘testimony’ at the medical marijuana hearings. I’ll call you that to your face when we meet in person) or the North GA growers coalition that contributes to the Speaker through legit ways make sure these things don’t happen. Because loosening prohibition hurts current black market sources of this plant. Not good for business.

    So please, tell me to shut up. I will, if you prove me wrong.

    “Fearless Leaders” *snort*

  2. ryanhawk says:

    I don’t want to make “their worries” our government’s calling. Free us up to handle our own worries.

    We don’t need more government involvement in education. We need tax credits and vouchers so we can make our own decisions about where and how our children learn. Do this in 2015 and we can talk about changing the funding formula in 2016.

    Transportation funding? We need government to stop diverting funding we already pay at the pump. Don’t use it to pay for anything outside of maintaining and expanding our road network. Do this in 2015 and see how much easier the conversation about gas taxes will be in 2016.

    Economic development? Stop giving special tax cuts to well connected big business (Delta Airlines, Pulte Homes, etc…) and give us all a tax cut. Tax receipts are growing. Use some of that surplus to cut the state income tax rate in 2015 and then we can talk about how best to encourage economic development in 2016.

    • androidguybill says:

      “We need tax credits and vouchers so we can make our own decisions about where and how our children learn.”

      1. This is illegal according to the state and federal constitutions.
      2. This is not viable politically, as it is opposed even by most Georgia voters.
      3. Unless you wish to completely privatize education, state involvement will still be needed to improve the public schools that do and will exist and educate the vast majority of the state’s citizens

      “We need government to stop diverting funding we already pay at the pump. Don’t use it to pay for anything outside of maintaining and expanding our road network. ”

      Ending the diversion of the fourth penny is nowhere near enough to pay for all the needed improvements. And excuse me, but the government pays for more transportation than the road network, and yes there are far more transit agencies in this state than MARTA.

      • ryanhawk says:

        Education: Despite the left’s continued War on Children tax credits and vouchers are not unconstitutional. And we already have them in Georgia, to a limited extent. Georgia just needs to follow the lead of Indiana, New Hampshire, etc… in greatly expanding these programs. If the Georgia GOP won’t do it, Democrats like Alisha Thomas Morgan will. And if you are looking for a post racial governing coalition Android guy you’ll find it in the edu reform movement. Come join the party.

        http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2013/08/06/tax-dollars-for-private-school-tuition-gain-in-states

        Transportation Funding: I’m all for users paying for their tranportation. I’ll pay at the pump for the roads I use, and you pay at the turnstile for the bus or rail you use. Fair enough?

      • It’s kind of amusing how they are on the one hand fighting Obamacare so hard and on the other hand many of their policy ideas essentially boil down to Obamacare for ____.

        Because what are the exchanges ultimately if not tax credits and vouchers for healthcare. Too regulated? Sure, but you think education won’t be?

        • ryanhawk says:

          I would love to have the Medicare model for education: Public funding and private delivery from a provider of my choice.

          The flaw in the Medicare model is not the public funding or private choice, but that spending is virtually unlimited (i.e. the hospital or doctor can bill for everything they can imagine you might need) and the taxes paid to support the spending are inadequate. Everyone likes to imagine they have paid their fair share and almost no one has. With an annual voucher or tax credit for education you don’t have this budget busting problem.

          • You can not have that. The Christian based schools have shown that people can not be entrusted with a solid secular education. A parent can criticize a government run school and not face retaliation because of constitutional guarantees.

            Make every school private and a parent will have to sign valid legal contracts that always lean towards total control by the educating entity, including barring the student because a parent complained publicly. It happens all the time http://kdvr.com/2014/08/27/4-year-old-expelled-from-preschool-over-moms-facebook-post/

            Under your scenario, segregation would be the ‘market force’ that drives the better schools with mega resources from the Christian Family of Churches, able to hire better teachers, while minority and poor families will get the dregs. White folk will pay a premium for a so-called ‘safer’ school. The rest get worse than what we have now.

            You want to enable a christian church or a ‘bottom line focused’ for-profit (what you call ‘private’) to indoctrinate children with select christian doctrine by using public money.

            What the hell is wrong with you???? Why aren’t you calling instead for a system that allows children to learn at home with tutors or in neighborhood pods, on the internet, at their own pace and choosing instead of rigid bells and aptitude testing? Can you conceptualize the savings of having one room schools with banks of computers and a few masters of each subject moving from student to student?

            Medicare…*eyeroll*

            • ryanhawk says:

              Sounds to me like you are describing our current system Rick. Segregated schools with minorities stuck in the crappy ones and all the best teachers in well funded suburban schools that have the best of everything. And I’d love to see hyper local one room school houses with the best ed tech and highly compensated experts as mentors. In fact that is exactly what I want for my own kids. The difference between me and you is that I’m willing to allow others to make a different choice and I don’t want to deny funding to people who need or want something different than I do.

  3. Alex Rowell says:

    It’s entirely possible (probable, even?) that I won’t exactly agree with you on the solutions, Ed, but it’s great to see someone acknowledging the challenges our state has to deal with over the next four years. Here’s hoping the Georgia GOP takes heed.

  4. Ed – a few questions:

    1) By embracing being “in charge”, will we be able to change leadership to be a newer more liberty-oriented voice, instead of a “proven” leadership with a “track record” of policies that have seen the decline of small town georgia, an underfunded transportation system, and hijacking of basic liberties?

    2) Do you feel in charge? http://goo.gl/ac1HQB

  5. androidguybill says:

    I am going to go ahead and throw this out there:

    A major reason for the demographic divide (at least in the south) is POWER. During Jim Crow, whites enjoyed 100% of the power and naturally wanted to retain as much of it is possible. After Martin Luther King Jr.s’ death the civil rights movement quickly shifted from one that promoted integration (and wealth redistribution but that is another story for another day) but the black leadership wanting to create its own Jim Crow structures in its own enclaves (which they created and maintain with their own policies).

    Hispanics and Asians are more bipartisan because, while they have certainly experienced discrimination, they were never part of this Jim Crow dynamic. My guess: the group that gets us out of this Jim Crow stalemate will be the first group that is willing to share power. The left has already proposed exactly that: a colorblind progressive agenda. It goes back at least as far as Martin Luther King Jr.’s decision to abandon being a race leader and instead lead a “poor people’s movement” made up of white, black, Hispanic etc. low wage and unemployed people, and as a matter of fact was in Memphis to try to convince a mostly white group of workers to unionize when he was assassinated. But the approach, while often endorsed in theory, has had few to work to pursue it in practice either among the activist or political left, with Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles, serving as an exception.

    But while the left has failed, it can be said that the right has never really tried. Instead, the right alternates between either promoting the idea that blacks generally go along with the leadership provided by white conservatives (i.e. abandoning any ideas of “black interests”, “black agenda”, “black representation”) or the “Booker T. Washington” ideology of blacks staying out of the political debate altogether. Result: either the false idea that blacks have no particular interests or issues apart from the larger community (when statistics and history say otherwise) or the notion that only the issues that white conservatives are willing to address – and the methods that white conservatives are willing to use or accept to address them – are legitimate.

    Georgia is probably the state where this “Jim Crow” dynamic is best illustrated. You quite literally have black-run urban Atlanta (represented by Fulton, DeKalb and now Clayton) on one hand and white-run suburban Atlanta on the other. Which, of course, makes the Georgia GOP uniquely positioned to be the ones to come up with a way to solve this dilemma in a way secures and consolidates its power in this state and serves as a model for everyone else in the old Confederacy to emulate. But in order to do it, the Georgia GOP has to abandon its passion for devices designed to strip urban Atlanta’s leaders of their power (i.e. proposals to privatize Hartsfield airport, MARTA, create so-called Milton County), abandon the vain search for Booker T. Washington type leaders (recruiting Allen West and Herman Cain to run for office … really?) and actually come up with an ideology and governing practice where power is actually and legitimately shared.

    That is why the failure of T-SPLOST was such a tragedy. Yes, it was imperfect policy for a host of reasons, but it also represented a real attempt (by Sonny Perdue no less!) to get the urban and suburban areas to share power and resources that could have been a model for the future. But it fell apart not due to the policy imperfections (despite claims otherwise) but rather because the Jim Crow interests in both camps still love their Jim Crow, which was why the NAACP fought just as hard to defeat T-SPLOST as the TEA Party did. On the other hand, Nathan Deal stepping in to save the DeKalb County school system (and in the process DeKalb County itself) by appointing qualified people (mostly black Democrats) that are part of and respected by that community was a real success.

    This need not be a call for the GOP to move to the left. It can remain the party of Reagan conservatives if it desires. (By the way … Reagan was elected in 1980 with over 20% of the black vote. If the GOP could get 20% of the black vote today it would have it made.) But it has to find a way to do so in a way that shares power with blacks by addressing issues that blacks wish to address in ways that blacks find acceptable.

    If this approach is unacceptable to the GOP, a reality adjustment needs to be made: it is only necessary because of de facto segregation which results in blacks and whites having separate communities with separate identities, values and interests to begin with. This de facto segregation is a legacy of de jure segregation (and before that slavery) and the simple inconvenient truth is that blacks lack both the economic and political power to end de jure segregation. Yes, it is true that the black Jim Crow leadership is fully invested in keeping the communities apart for its own personal and ideological gain. Conservatives do a great job of pointing that out. But in the process, conservatives are equally good at ignoring that even if the black Jim Crow leadership did not exist, the communities would still be apart.

    So the choices are:

    A. find a way for the black and white communities to share power and work together (which by the way would give more black leaders incentive to be Republican, and more black voters incentive to support them)

    B. make ending de facto segregation a real priority and committing real resources to it. (You could use A. as an intermediate step to B.)

    C. reject A. and B., watch the Democrats exploit the changing demographics to gain permanent and total political power, complain about how the state is going down the tubes as a result and be reduced to whatever little perverse satisfaction out of being able to say “I told you so!” from the sidelines.

    The choice is yours.

    • John Konop says:

      You hit it on the nail! All should read!

      ……So the choices are:

      A. find a way for the black and white communities to share power and work together (which by the way would give more black leaders incentive to be Republican, and more black voters incentive to support them)

      B. make ending de facto segregation a real priority and committing real resources to it. (You could use A. as an intermediate step to B.)

      C. reject A. and B., watch the Democrats exploit the changing demographics to gain permanent and total political power, complain about how the state is going down the tubes as a result and be reduced to whatever little perverse satisfaction out of being able to say “I told you so!” from the sidelines.

      The choice is yours……

    • DavidTC says:

      I completely agree with almost all of that(1), and let me point out I’m a liberal that does not live in Atlanta.

      The State government continually going to war with Atlanta is just utterly insane. (And I’m sure there’s examples the other way around, but the simple fact is that Atlanta doesn’t have much power to mess up the state, except by destroying itself.)

      As is various wealthy parts of the states trying to disconnect from poor parts they happen to be next to. Not even for *political disagreements*, but simple because people think those parts don’t contribute enough taxes.

      It would be one thing if one part of a county wanted some extremely liberal policy, and the other part some extremely conservative policy. I can see them both going their own ways, and the feeling would probably be mutual. But that’s not what’s *actually* happening with places like ‘Milton County’ and cities being created and stuff. It’s just ‘We want to concentrate our taxes here on us’, leading me to ask when the hell *people in your own county* became something other than ‘us’.

      Aren’t conservatives supposed to be the people pushing for a sense of a community and helping out in that community, instead of giant impersonal government help? Logically, operating at the country level is about as close as government can get to the people, it’s about as close as the government can mimic ‘a community’.

      But I guess all that changes when other people in the country make a tenth as much money. How dare they be the ones selling us fast food and cleaning our houses! (And money is the *charitable* interpretation…a less charitable one is that it changes based on their skin color.)

      A good step for Republicans in this state to take towards B would be *mass transit*, which is blocked *exactly because* of segregation, and not too carefully veiled segregation at that.

      1) Specifically, I’d like to point out you’ve correctly identified the dynamic *in this state*. Other states have other issues.

    • hate to be the magpie, but the magic bridge to that community, as well as the younger voter is to simply decrim cannabis. Do not legalize, no regulatory red tape, just stop arresting and criminally prosecuting people for possession, just like Mississippi has done. Do away with the paraphernalia crimes.

      Ticket, don’t Click it™

      Out away the cuffs and break out the citation book, officer! Republicans can say it is due to studies that show a disproportionate impact on said minority communities (actually the real victims are those 18-20 who make up about 50% of all arrests). The lege has pods of decrim support. Someone will take a leadership role and consolidate the decrim program. And a lot of people will look to that leader with respect and support for further office.

      It is easier to implement decrim than any type licensing system and is a good way to begin to show a compassionate side again. Helps with community trust of LE as well.

      Win win. Let’s do this!

      • Will Durant says:

        The point remains, that despite your ingrained prejudices, every one of these programs on record has saved the taxpayers less in invalid benefit payments than they have spent in implementing drug testing.

  6. Boredatwork says:

    Great job, CD11 voters. You could’ve had Ed, instead you have a culture warrior who will spew uninformed dribble about the founders while doing nothing. THAT is why we cannot have nice things, and nothing will get accomplished.

  7. taylor says:

    “For more than mere partisan reasons, however, demographics must not be allowed to determine destiny. Politics that presumes that people will vote one way or another because they are a certain race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or zip code cheapens all of us as individuals, is injurious to the various demographic groups pigeonholed, and is corrosive to our society.”

    This sounds like an argument against the current method of redistricting. Hard to believe that race isn’t a consideration when political lines are drawn.

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