Let me start with a softening statement. It isn’t the fault of Georgia Democrats that the deep South polarized to the benefit of the GOP in the years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We all know the story of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, to recruit the segregationists into the GOP. It was a strategy that worked for many years, until states like Georgia are practically a GOP lock for the governor’s office and the statehouse.
That’s a strong current to be swimming against. But the Democrats have to swim against it if we’re going to avoid becoming a fragmented series of local area cliques.
Which brings me to the four special elections for Georgia house and senate seats Tuesday. There were 14 candidates, only one of whom, Natalie Bergeron in district 21, was a Democrat. In fact the Libertarians fielded candidates, so if you looked at these elections alone, you’d assume that the two parties in Georgia were Republican and Libertarian.
Really, fellow Democrats, is this the best we can do? Seriously?
My second complaint is that I read about district 21 and Ms. Bergeron’s race on the Sunday before the election. Granted I should be keeping up with local politics more regularly, but I’m on every freakin’ Democratic Party mailing list at every level. I get fundraising appeals for races in Montana and Alaska, New Hampshire and Florida, yet no one sent an email saying “Hey, there’s a Democrat running in a north metro race, could you help out?”
I sent a small, very late donation as soon as I found out, but if someone had asked, I would’ve given more help, and there are thousands of Democrats out there like me who will help out with things if someone bothers to ask. Our time isn’t unlimited, so the answer will sometimes be no, but for God’s sake we can’t do anything if we don’t know what to do.
I spent Saturday morning stuffing envelopes for the Cobb County Democratic Party, which was a fine thing to be doing. But my time would’ve been better spent phone-banking or canvassing for the active election going on just to the north of me.
I’m not trying to assign any blame here. I have access to the same information as other people in Georgia. But there are many enthusiastic Democrats in metro Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. We should have been all over the district 21 race like a swarm of killer bees, contributing, helping with office tasks, phone banking, and doing anything possible to free up the candidate and local volunteers to focus their time where they deem important.
As for the other three races gimme a freakin’ break. Are we ready to just sublet Democratic Party office space to the Libertarians? They’ll make better use of it.