The Democrats failed in the mid-term elections for reasons that were clear to most—except them. I knew a year ago (no five years ago) that I would be writing these points today.
Money: Dems in Georgia raised and spent enough money for Nunn and Carter to win but they spent it in the wrong places. Most voters are unaware of the cottage industry surrounding elections, an industry that centers on Buckhead in Atlanta. First, you find a candidate who can raise tons of dollars with our friends then you hire our other friends to run the campaigns and still other friends to produce and do media buys for a zillion TV ads. How many people didn’t vote because they were weary from campaign ads?
The people inside this cottage industry won the election a year ago when they secured legacy candidates like Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter, rich fellows like David Perdue and sitting congressmen like Jack Kingston and a few others. They had the money makers.
Better Money: If Nunn and Carter listened to seasoned cats like Sanford Bishop, they would have cut the media buy money by a third and put that money on old school street teams outside of Atlanta. When the original Carter and Nunn were winning in the 1970s, the Dems knew to secure the support of old ball coaches, funeral directors, barbers, pastors and other community leaders. These community leaders would put together teams of workers who made a few dollars. Grandmothers would be so proud that their family members were involved and leading rallies.
I knew Michelle Nunn would make a great senator but her work history involving volunteerism concerned me from the start. Black folks aren’t volunteering when they can see that you spent millions on T.V. ads. They should have spent those millions on rally D.J.s and those free hot dog trucks. Food and old school music will get the crowd out and that’s when you hook them with warmth.
Learning from Florida: There are two important lessons we can learn this election season from our neighbors to the south. First, Gwen Graham won a U.S. House in North Florida by striking a correct balance between T.V. ads and community events. Of course, she is from a famous political family but she rolled up her sleeves and pressed pressed pressed the flesh at dozens of free food events. Hey, we like free food and Frankie Beverly music. Graham took it home last week with a free Jimmy Buffet show…nice.
Secondly, Governor Rick Scott narrowly won reelection by running up the numbers in rural areas to counterbalance big Dem numbers in the Florida cities. In Georgia, we have city Blacks in Atlanta, Blacks in the next five cities (Columbus, Albany, Macon, Savannah and Augusta) and rural Blacks. Obviously, the plan was to get metro Atlanta to balance the GOP’s rural base. But, those Blacks in Atlanta are real liberals who weren’t going to get pumped up to help Michelle Nunn while she ran from President Obama and ran to Governor/Senator Zell Miller. Yes, Miller was a great Georgian back when but he spoke at the GOP national convention for Obama’s opponent. Black folks have memories. On the other hand, rural Blacks are more conservative and more likely to support moderates like Sanford Bishop. The Democrat efforts should have started by listening to Bishop.
Second guessing: The Democrat Party in Georgia spent the last year trying to get White Republicans to switch back…newsflash “They are gone.” The party spent less energy getting the Obama base out.
Future: Michelle Nunn is still a big winner because she is position to be the Dem Senate candidate when Senator Isakson retires. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed would be the natural candidate but you know the cottage industry mentioned above must eat and they eat exceptionally well. Again, getting money is more important than winning.
Black diversity: This blog started years ago as an effort to convince our community to take a better look at the details of politics and policymaking. Both major political parties have incorrect approaches to us. We need to take a hard look at the role political hope plans in how we carry ourselves because the parties and the government are indirectly hurting us.
Hillary 2016: Not so fast, we need to talk.