I was in a discussion this weekend about the worst-case scenarios for election night in November; the situations and outcomes that should have been debated and considered now.
Lately, the GOP in Georgia has been taking heat in my community because African American (AA) candidates Dr. Deborah Honeycutt and Melvin Everson couldn’t make it out of their primaries; the GOP voters spoke and the message bounced from GA to DC.
Former Governor Roy Barnes, who beat a field that included long-time Attorney General Thurbert Baker, heads the Democrat big ticket. The Black community supported Barnes for governor over African American Baker because they thought he had the best chance of winning. Frankly, a Black president and a Black governor at the same time just weren’t going to happen in the Deep South.
Barnes’ strategy seems to center on adding White moderates to the Dem base. But courting the center requires running from President Obama and national Democrats. Once again, the base gets taken for granted. Barnes and conservative Democrat Jim Marshall are slamming Obama’s health care reform with a risky passion but hey, what can the AA voters do since they won’t vote for the GOP candidate? The wild card in the race is Libertarian John Monds who is a Morehouse Man and Omega Psi Phi just might get enough votes to tip the election.
The big Dem ticket includes AA candidates Michael Thurmond, U.S. Senate; Darryl Hicks, Secretary of Labor; and Georganna Sinkfield, Secretary of State. While I think every candidate runs to win, my friends feel these candidates real value is to get out the Black vote and to help Roy Barnes secure the Governorship.
We must read the signs…literally. If you see a campaign yard sign for the GOP candidate for governor, you also see a cluster of other GOP signs. The same situation is true on the Dem side in my community. On the other side of town in areas of people who don’t look like me, you see Barnes signs and that’s it.
In other words, the White support Barnes will receive could only be for Barnes, the White and Black congressional Blue Dogs and that’s it. Is it every man for himself? The Dem ticket is D.O.A. without new voters who love President Obama and we are noticing the slighting he is receiving from his team.
That slighting seems to justify the vigorous campaign for Sanford Bishop’s seat. Okay, let me get this right: one of the most conservative Black members of Congress gets the biggest target. Mind you, Rep. Jim Marshall’s district was won by John McCain in 2008 and Austin Scott, the GOP candidate against Marshall, has a functional relationship with Blacks in his district and Blacks in the state legislature. Bishop must be flattered because the GOP really wants to remove a moderate CBC member so that the CBC will be as liberal as possible as they prep for 2012. The GOP is good at being bad. Dam good. Marshall isn’t catching the heat that some Blue Dogs are experiencing because he remembers Polonius’ speech from Hamlet—To thy ownself be true- and he votes “no” on major Dem legislation before bragging about it back home. They must think real Democrats won’t notice.
The worst-case scenario would be that all of the big ticket Blacks will end up having a bad election night while Marshall and Barnes win. If the governor’s race goes into a runoff, you can best believe my community would not come back out. Barnes is a smart guy and has time to adjust his approach. I am going to need President Obama himself to personal explain why we should care about Marshall.
Another worst-case scenario would be far Right conservatives taking over the congress; people who have little involvement or past interaction with folks different than them. On Meet the Press today, David Gregory played an old clip of Rudy Giuliani talking about the big tent that is the GOP and their numerous moderates. When asked if that was still the case, Giuliani didn’t have much to say. Rep. Jack Kingston under congress as a firebrand in the early 1990s but the tide as changed so much that GOP Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who lost to a Tea Party candidate, rightly points out that Kingston is now one of the only the voices of reason in South congressional politics.
On the bright side, President Obama’s White House might be pulled toward the center after election night or maybe before.