Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Have All The Statewide Southern Democrats Gone?

It's an "off-year" in Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Alabama  - most of the south.

But not in Mississippi and Louisiana. As our southern brethren to the west get ready to face what most of us faced in 2010, and as I scan the list of announced candidates for statewide offices - ahem *none so far* - it makes me wonder:

Where have all the Statewide Southern Democrats gone?

In Mississippi we seemingly will not put up any Democrats in the top slots - ditto for Louisiana. The Democratic AG in LA - "Buddy" Caldwell - switched parties a few weeks ago, and no one seems willing to run against Jindal.

Former LA D Lt. Gov. candidate Caroline Fayard - with her Hollywood face and deep family trial-lawyer pockets - seems poised to announce for SOS, but is also playing footsies with the R's about switching parties.

So do we think this is the end of the Democratic Party as we know it in the South? Or is it fair to count our posts in the lower seats and statewides? In Lousiana and Mississippi we still hold an enviable number of local and county-wide elected D's - even if most are old Blue Dogs - God Bless 'Em. But the LA House and Senate Caucus' barely exist. And Mississippi is only a few steps ahead of them in organizing and fielding candidates and operations.

If we apply the lessons of 2010 to LA and MS, we will likely lose our few Statewide Southern Democratic candidates to 15 point loses, and lose too many of our incumbent state senators and state representatives who fail to raise money and distance themselves from Washington, D.C.

But if we learn from those loses - if those operations get out of the gates, start raising money, start innoculating themselves early from the inevitable newspaper and mail attacks "Obama and (insert D incumbent name here) are BFF's!" - do we stand a chance to withstand the second political tsunami in the South?

Are we tough enough and bright enough to learn from 2010?

I think so. I hope so.


Amy Morton said...

We need to learn a thing or two from the Republicans. In 2008, they pretty much got the heads handed to them, but they fought out of the gate and look what happened nationally. In the South, the demographic trends favor us, but not if we allow Republicans to compose the narrative. We have a story to tell to Southern voters, but our first task is to make sure they know we're family - we're one of them. That's not just an attitude and identity issue. The ability to shift the message is about 1) sound policy development based on 2) sound polling. We need to be doing that NOW. Not to mention candidate recruitment, training, development, support. If we want to win, we have to fight.

Mary C. said...

I know who the Georgia Voter is and I know what they want...elected officials who give a damn that we have a record number of jobless, homeless, HOPE-less working class families. Who care about that above all else. Who support Georgians and our well being above any political's not brain surgery, Democrats do not make "Deal" s that further the disenfranchisement of the working class. We listen, we care, we shoulder the burden.We keep ourselves concerned with the well being of Georgians...not the political climate of Washington. We understand that encouraging new business to our state is not about giving our treasure away-we sell quality, not price. We truly believe that our children are our future-We guard education because that remains the best and surest form of upward mobility not just for the individual but also for the whole. We stand up for working class Georgians and the need to keep our middle class strong when it is not popular, when it seems like a "lost cause". We protect our natural resources and support legislation for that cause in order to ensure our future. Our narrative is that we stand for the right for all Georgians to demand and to own solvent, arduous representation during this economic crisis.

Tina said...

Please note that the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women is not only growing, but building a statewide network of mature Democratic women. We have active chapters in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fayette, Henry-Clayton, Rockdale-Newton, Forsyth Co., Middle GA (Houston),DeKalb, and Bulloch-Chatham-Effingham (East GA). Chapters underway in Douglas Co., Floyd Co., Lowndes Co. and more. We have no litmus test for membership & our main goal is----- elect Democrats.