Friday, November 10, 2006

It's the Women

Women, a problem for Georgia Democrats, were a huge part of the solution on a national level. It goes without saying that to succeed in the future, Georgia Democrats have to figure out how to reach out to this key constituency. While estimates are that 70% of white women in Georgia voted for Perdue, on a national level, women were central to the Democratic takeover of Congress. We have our first female Speaker of the House, and at least one women, Hillary Clinton, poised for a run at the White House.

I was one of the 30% of white women who voted for Taylor, but for me, it was more of a vote against Sonny than a vote for Taylor. I suspect that was true for a lot of women who voted for Taylor by default but were not inspired to give their time and money to him. The only two candidates for statewide office who got fewer votes than Taylor were Denise Majette and Guy Drexinger. Martin, Buckner, Randolph, Wise, Irvin, Baker and Thurmond all out-polled The Big Guy. To blame women because they found Taylor uninspiring is futile. Women are a key constituency for Democrats, and if the party does not take seriously their displeasure with the nominee, we will be in the minority for a very, very long time.

Here's the good news that EMILY's List reports:

EMILY's List Celebrates Election of the Largest Number of Women to Congress in History
From the first woman Speaker of the House to historic highs for Democratic women in Congress and state offices to surges in women voting that put Democrats on top in races across the country – EMILY's List members helped make this midterm election into the Year of Democratic Women.

In the U.S. House, victories by 50 Democratic women helped put Democrats in control and elevated Rep. Nancy Pelosi to her historic role as the first woman Speaker of the House. The eight new Democratic women elected to the U.S. House this week puts the number of Democratic women in the House at 50, the highest level ever ... and we're still counting.
Five races are yet to be decided that could increase the ranks of Democratic women in the House: FL-13, OH-02, OH-15, NM-01 and WA-08. EMILY's List members are also anticipating an additional victory in Louisiana, where State Representative Karen Carter advanced to the December 9th run-off against Rep. Jefferson in LA-02.

In the Senate, Democratic control was put solidly in the Democrat's grasp with the hard fought win of Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Her strong message for change and her common sense approach to problem-solving appealed to voters of all stripes. When the campaign committees were still waiting on the sidelines, EMILY's List was the first organization to get into to the senate primary and endorse Amy Klobuchar, who claimed a commanding victory in Minnesota. EMILY's List also worked hard to protect our incumbents and ensure victories by Senators Maria Cantwell and Debbie Stabenow. The re-election of all our incumbents and the addition of McCaskill and Klobuchar brings the number of women in the Senate to a new high of 16, the first gains for Democratic women in that body since 2000.

As you know, EMILY's List is the only organization outside of the campaign committees that makes a major investment in recruiting, training and funding candidates in order to change control of Congress. This cycle, EMILY's List invested nearly $19 million in recruiting, building and supporting strong Democratic campaigns to regain control of Congress and make Rep. Nancy Pelosi the first woman Speaker of the House. More than two-thirds of that investment was dedicated to winning back the House. EMILY's List members contributed more than $11 million to EMILY's List endorsed candidates and another $34 million to support EMILY's List political programs.


Tina said...

The Georgia Democratic Party needs to get both feet in the 21st Century and re-invent itself as the pro-active party for the working people of Georgia.
I hope all of the cut & run politicians who plan to jump ship and become Republicans have already done so. Then we can figure out WHO WE ARE and move ahead with a clear-cut and meaningful agenda. Amy, you did a great job and if everyone had worked as hard as you did for the Democrats we would have done a lot better in Georgia.

Kathy said...

You sure did, Amy and Tina was right in there with you. As a party, we need many, many more people with your kind of dedication! Thanks for giving it your all, ladies.

Amy Morton said...

Thank you. There are a whole lot of people wh have the will to change the face of politics in this state. Just remember that two years ago, the national media was talking about the GOP like it was forever king.

Kathy said...

One of the toughest problems we face in our county, and I suspect in the state - aside from large urban areas, perhaps - is the one everyone tiptoes around. Amy, you noted that 70 per cent of WHITE women voted for Sonny Perdue. The Republicans have been remarkably successful in marketing their "moral high ground" and "patriotism". They have also succeeded in marketing a thinly veiled attempt to appeal to the brain stem voter issue called racial prejudice. Think "flag controversy". Perdue actually won election the first time because he vowed to reinstate the "rebel" flag as our state flag.

They approach so many issues in just that way: medicaid - even for disabled children! Pubic assistance programs are a prime target. Though the statistics plainly show differently, if you ask individuals here in our county who benefits from (your choice of programs) they will name two ethnic groups. This racial polarization is something we cannot afford to ignore. I believe, however naively, that people do have a better nature. Appealing to it is something we will have to do better in 2008.

Lyman Hall said...

Most of our best chances to win back seats in the legislature this year were female candidates (Carol Jackson, Jane Kidd, Marjene Boyd, Benedict over your way). They all fell just short. I think the loss was more of a function of the (D) behind the name then anything relating to gender.
Taylor getting less votes then other Democrats on the ticket was more a function Cox supporters wanting to send a message then female voters sending a message. Plenty of male Cox voters stayed away from Taylor. Buckner may have had more votes than Taylor, but only Democratic incumbents won.
Others have tried to pin the vote difference on ideology--Martin was more liberal and got more votes, so we should go with more liberal candidates. I don't think this is it either.
Prior to Barnes, Georgia just didn't turn out incumbent governors. Perdue basically served as the state's mascot, avioding offending anybody for four years, and got himself re-elected.
I don't have all the answers, but I don't think gender is the answer.

Amy Morton said...

Incumbency was certainly the only thing that insulated democrats this year. I know that there were angry Cox voters, but there was no organized effort to boycott the race. The problem is deeper.

Amy Morton said...

Kathy: It speaks to deep bias and perhaps prejudice that within campaigns, both for dems and republicans, voter data is analyzed along demographic lines, and race is right there at the top of the list. I have conversations in the context of campaigns that I cannot imagine having in any other setting. There is "AA Mail" and "AA Radio" etc. We look at racial percentages when analyzing whether a district is a good place for a dem to run. It goes without saying that this is problematic on so many levels and that it does speak to bias and prejudice. Many of my friends who are African-American express frustration and down right anger with dems for taking their votes for granted. And justifiably so. Republicans have begun, a number of years ago, to parse data also along economic lines, and even religious (evangelical) lines. This racial dynamic-that few discuss but that is such a huge part of politics in this state-also comes into play with GOTV efforts, both in terms of focus and finance.

We need to broaden our focus. That said, here's a startling quote from Insider Advantage: "Sixty-eight percent of the white vote (male and female combined) went to Republican Sonny Perdue last night and 27 percent to Democrat Mark Taylor. Conversely, 81 percent of the black vote (male and female) went to Taylor and 17 percent to Perdue. The results come from the exit poll conducted for the broadcast networks and The AP, and published on the CNN website."

This is a little different than the earlier number I had for caucasian women, but still startling!

definitelydemo said...

I do think Cathy Cox not getting on board definitely hurt Mark Taylor's chances. Week after the week the story was about CC not being with MT, or CC being with some other candidate, or CC being with Sonny Perdue.

This kept the debate off the issues and kept the party from uniting.

Sadly, we will all pay for this for a long time to come.

Yesterday was the first day to pre-register bills for the next session. The first bill pre-registered by the Repubs is to outlaw abortion in GA. They have the votes and Sonny will probably sign it.

Thanks Cathy Cox and Zell Miller.