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Posts Tagged ‘moderates’

coo

Coalitions win elections.  After primary battles, the party that gets itself together fastest will likely be victorious.  I am still upset that Ralph Nader pulled enough voters from Al Gore to help George Bush win in 2000.  Like Hillary Clinton, Gore won the popular vote but you must have strategy where it matters.

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.   Remember, at this point in 2016, I was telling everyone who would listen that Donald Trump could win the election by playing opossum (playing dead) as we say in the country.  We let our guard down.

I am getting over my feelings about Bernie Sanders Progressives who didn’t vote for Hillary (…if you had it to do over, grasshopper….).  Yes,  those voters could have been the margin of victory in pivotal states.  I want to take a brief look at coalitions on the Republican and Democrat sides relative to 2012 and 2020.

First of all, the Republican base will obviously vote for whomever their party nominates in any election.  They have been so brainwashed about Democrats until they trust the Russians more than us.  To get to 50%, they motivate some rural people with faith and gun issues.  But, most of the Black folks at my church are veterans who own peacekeeping steel also.  Go figure?

So, will working class Whites stay with the Trump division of the GOP?  Will the Dem Team develop and market a package to entice those voters back?  You can’t win a statewide election in the South without a certain percentage of those voters.  It starts with quality schools, jobs and affordable healthcare.  The awkwardness of the Trump administration from day one has tarnished the Republican brand.  They have some decisions to make.

On the Democrat side in the South, we must understand that Blacks for now are the backbone of the party.  To some, the party feels like a plantation with Whites running everything while Blacks do the heavy lifting.  The strategy for me involves a coalition of everyone….city progressives, moderate rural Blacks and some working class Whites who are about to learn that far Right budget cuts know no color.

Know this: there is a difference between a political party and a movement.  Black Lives Matter, The Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Trump’s Make America Great Again and Sander’s Progressives are movements and not subject to political parties.

We need to know now if movements are going to “act right” if parties give them a national stage. Really, they shouldn’t as activist but just say so from jump street.

We are looking at candidates for governor in Georgia for 2018 and even president in 2020.  My friends don’t agree but I believe in asking candidates how they feel about candidates and officeholders on other levels of government.  You don’t get my vote if you thought Obama was a bad guy and Trump is wonderful….no way.  Actually, the 2018 election will be a referendum on Trump… local, state and federal.

The margin of victory for Democrats in 2018 is narrowed if candidates put a fire in the belly of infrequent voters.

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If politics and public policy are like grass, the Democratic Party is all about AstroTurf.  Yes, the fake grass design for the inside of ballparks is a fitting comparison for the fake grassroots of the Blue Team and one of the primary reasons we have been hammered in elections for the last 20 years.

20 years ago, most rural whites in the Dem Party decided to bounce for the GOP. The remaining Dems lived on the two coasts and in big cities.   To me, a winning national political party has a big tent that is tolerant of diverse views.  The current GOP seeks to be a ruling class that makes decisions for everyone without everyone being at the decision-making table.  The Democrats aren’t much better because they make elitist policy directives in headquarters then spend the election season trying to convince their so-called base to fall in line.

For what it is worth, marketing expert Donald Trump listened to the people and told them he would give them what they wanted—if he can or will is another question.  At the end of the day, it’s about jobs, the economy and federal spending.

Grass is like the community in so many ways.  If you think about it, grass is one of the most common organisms on earth.  In addition to being ornamental, grass secures the top soil.  My brother and I cut an acre of lawn grass with a push mower as kids for years.  Today, I have to convince the lawn care professional with his 5K zero-turn riding mower that grass should be 3 inches.  Long grass has deep roots that stores water and blades that protect roots from the southern sun.

Southern Democrats aren’t cultivating deep, strong roots.  Strong grass will fight weeds by consuming nutrients first.  Oh, you shouldn’t think your lawn will be nice because you have a fence.  Weeds from your neighbors’ yard quickly blow into yours.  In other words, we build strong communities together; trash down the street will be your problem if not addressed.

In south Georgia, lawns are plagued by a tall “V” weed with black seeds at the top.  Newsflash: that’s not a weed.  It’s a grass from Brazil called Bahiagrass that farmers brought to the U.S. for cattle feed.  You must know Bahia to fight it and the Southern Democrats must know the community to improve it.  As the Bible says, you reap what you sow.

What shall we do?  My community should get back to basics; we must reembrace the self-determination of the 1950s.  At the end of the day, the government can’t save you from you.  In the age of Trump, we should cultivate the community with positive personal actions rather than waiting for the government (local, state or federal) to correct problems of our creation.

We should spend the next year focusing on listening to the people and having frank discussions about the limited role of government.  Oh, the liberal elites in the Democratic Party don’t want to hear that.  The DNC and those who wanted a different president-elect spent over a billion dollars and got waxed.  Van Jones pointed out that most of that money went to rich Ivy League types for media buys and T.V. ads while regular folks were expected to do grassroots for pennies or for free.

The Democrats should be cultivating sod right now.  Sod is the rolled top level of grass grown on specialist farms.  It’s often genetically engineered for that region to be pest resistant and to spread eventually.  If you paid for sod and let your grass grow tall and deep, you spent less money on grass cutting.  While strong grass might need cutting ever three weeks, weeds will popup overnight.  If you fall on Astroturf, you will get burnt because it’s not natural…not organic.  You can ask Hillary Clinton about that.  That Donald Trump had a message tailor-made for every area and his people ate it up.  You can’t design southern Democrat grassroots if you grew up in the city—the concrete jungle.   You must ask the people who they are and what they need…if you have a solution, tell them.  If you don’t have a solution, tell them.  If their actions are the root of their problems, tell them…carefully.

My organic friends and I have a southern grassroots sod crafted for over a decade and every two years the Dem elite say “no thanks…we got this.”  No, what you have is a trash-filled yard over-taken by weeds.  They put astro-turf over that mess every other November and wonder why that doesn’t work.  They shouldn’t be surprised if ignored rural Moderates start looking elsewhere.

Our sod (less government solutions) can be found at  https://bestinterestsinitiative.wordpress.com/long-term-bii/

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We can disagree without being disagreeable.  I swear my friends are all over the place politically and culturally; life would be boring otherwise.  It is wise to listen to everyone (even if you know they are dead wrong, lying or trying the wreak havoc.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta was proud to be the city to busy doing business to hate.  It’s my understanding that BMW didn’t want to locate a plant in the Savannah area because they were concerned with racial drama among the workforce.  While some are acting silly, others are addressing issues as part of a reasonable community and moving forward financially.

Atlanta is the best Black city in the world and Georgia is the best Black state in the union.  We should manufacture everything here and ship it all to the world on the interstate system and the Port of Savannah.  Of course, industrial attraction starts with a quality schools and livable communities.  Those who like to “wreak havoc” recreationally are killing the golden goose.

If I had a little funding, my blog would host ten or so Town Hall meetups around south Georgia—like a good old fashion political stump.  We should create events so all sides can make their points to someone other than those like them, the proverbial preaching to the choir.  In modern times, the political stump presentation is beamed around the world instantly with social media.

The key effort here is to get people voting and speaking up.  If you don’t vote, decisions don’t reflect a cross-section of the community.  Personally, I am a moderate Democrat who doesn’t care for the Opportunity School Board Amendment or the Republican candidate for president.  However, I would have a coke and slice of pizza with my friends who feel differently just to fairly hear them out.  Actually, you formulate better responses to them when you hear them and at the end of the day, that respectful dialog is what grown folks do.

Now, to get 50 or so trendsetter members of a community into a venue, the “party with a purpose” approach is cool with me.  We could pick a café and pack the place with people leaving a high school football game.  It would take much to identify a local host or two that everyone follows to the hippest functions…and it’s free too.  Finally, we would be creating a network of people linked by social media.

Will this find funding in a few weeks?  It would take the right supporters but it’s better than pouring money into those same old, same old T.V. ads.

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Will the Black vote baton be passed from Obama to Hillary, will it be intercepted by an innovative elephant like Rand Paul (unlikely) or will it fall to the dirt?  With so much time before the presidential primaries, candidates have time to test and research new projects to reach all voters—run it up the flag pole and see who salutes.

Of course, all campaigns should be reading Project Logic Ga’s Best Interest Initiate because I have personally crafted a unique budget-friendly approach to many southern concerns.

https://projectlogicga.com/best-interests-initiative/

Recently, the Hillary Clinton campaign announced the hiring of LaDavia Drane, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, as outreach director and point person for the Black community.  Ms. Drane seems really bright and hopefully she will acknowledge the diversity of the Black community across this great nation.  To me, the CBC and BET has a thing about being “urban” this and “urban” than; like the Black community in Georgia is only the A-T-L.

Well, a quick look at last year’s elections would indicate that Atlanta Blacks didn’t care for Democrat candidates for governor and U.S. Senate who spent more time bragging about connections to old Dixiecrats and current Republicans than embracing the Democrat in the Oval Office.  Some of the time and energy spent trying to get the Atlanta vote out should have been spent on the rest of Georgia where Black voters are more moderate to conservative.  But, people sitting in strategy rooms in the DNC see Atlanta as a big juicy peach and the rest of Georgia as a pit.

Hillary Clinton could win Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia with ease if the suburban soccer moms support her.  It could be a national landslide for Clinton if that demographic was paired with most of the Obama voters but the uncertain segment of the Obama coalition is called Cousin Pookie.

President Obama coined the term Cousin Pookie for inconsistent voters.  Pookie would be the guy who voted for Obama during the presidential elections but didn’t vote for any other candidates on the ballot (i.e. the Congress that Obama needed).  Pookie doesn’t vote in midterm elections that often.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Starting tomorrow, you can vote too. You’ve got to grab your friends. You’ve got to grab your co-workers. You know, don’t just get the folks you know are going to vote. You’ve got to find Cousin Pookie, he’s sitting on the couch right now watching football, hasn’t voted in the last 5 elections, you’ve got to grab him and tell him to go vote.        

 

That Leader of the Free World Obama really cracks me up; he was so right.  But peep this: Democrats and Republicans should sit down on the couch with Cousin Pookie and ask him why he doesn’t feel the need to vote.  Wait a second, Pookie is over his mom’s house; a house purchased under a USDA first time homebuyers program.   He has countless friends who used military service as a ticket to a secure and better life.  Of course, Pok should be watching CNN during half-time of the football game because the wrong President could send those homeboys and homegirls in uniform into harm’s way for questionable reasons.

What would happen if Pookie was looking for CNN and came across Sen. Rand Paul, a GOP presidential candidate with some interesting views on prison cost and weed.  Paul is making a real effort at outreach.

In Georgia, Cousin Pookie might live in Hotlanta but he has folks from rural areas and the five or six smaller cities.  That would be Cousin Ray Ray.  Ray Ray served in the military after graduating from high school; he has never been in trouble with the law in his life.  When Ray watches the Democrats on T.V., he see a bunch of liberals who are breaking their necks to give free stuff to folks who have never show any personal initiative.  Actually, Ray Ray and his co-workers at the plant are pissed that their tax dollars are being used for more handouts than handups.

Cousin Ray Ray agrees with some of the conservative messages from talk radio in his F-150 or Ram with a Hemi but the next thing you know the talk about the President turns ugly and mean-spirited.

With so much time before next year’s election, the Dems and GOPers have time to listen to Pookie and Ray Ray.  Someone needs to come up with a fresh approach; something that’s about solutions and answers.  In the South, many Whites who voted for Bill Clinton are deep, deep into the conservative movement.  They are going, going, gone like a Braves home run.  To win, Hillary must replace them with suburban voters and rural Obamacrats.

I personally think the conservative movement has been hijacked by the most radical element but the Republican presidential nominee won’t need to say “they are sitting on their tailgates…listening to NASCAR.”  Oh, conservatives vote without encouragement and one voting conservative carries more weight than 1,000 non-voting Cousin Pookies.

There are those who think that listening to positive Cousin Ray Ray’s personal history and opinions will get Ray Ray voting and that Cousin Pookie should be listening to Fox News’ coverage of the GOP primary season.  If Fox doesn’t scare him off the couch, he isn’t coming off and Dems should let him feel the wrath of the Tea Party.

Naw, that wouldn’t be right.  I was reading about Esther in the Bible today and she said in Esther 8:6 For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction  of my kindred?   While the GOP isn’t exactly evil, some of them can be quite naughty.

Zora Neale-Hurston said “All my skinfolks ain’t my kinfolks.”  At some point, my community might need to spend more time and energy on the positive segments and less on Cousin Pookie.  In time, Pookie will get the message and decide to become Paul, Jr., an American voter.

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On the movie Soul Food, the grandmother made a brilliant point about fingers coming together to form a fist that could strike a mighty blow.  Of course, the five fingers are the members of the family.  As southerners, we should consider five points that could greatly improve our region by changing how all of us “carry ourselves.”

Some of us are living smarter than others but we can’t sink while others float because we are all in the same big boat.  The actions and shortcomings of some prove costly to the taxpaying others.  In the Black community, we are transitioning from the civil rights era “marched with MLK” leaders to new leaders who recognized that personal development and financial planning are as vital as social justice.

The defining image of Project Logic Ga blog is a rural bridge that takes us from one place to a better place.  I think two rural bridges could be Senator Rand Paul and my former boss Sanford D. Bishop.   While Senator Paul’s international isolationism is questionable, he is the conservative/libertarian who is most open to dialoging with everyone about public policy.  I still feel that Republicans treat everyone else like children—making laws and policies without opposition input.

Rep. Bishop has had a nice political career but it has been in many ways too safe.  The guy is a brain and was an eagle scout.  I don’t think Sanford Bishop and President Barrack Obama have don’t enough hard talking to Americans about their personal growth and what young people can learn from their proper development.  I am one moderate/centrist who thinks the government has a limited role in everyday living and that leaders should say that.  As Justice Clarence Thomas’s grandfather said, you don’t need to government coming into your house asking if you fed your children today.

Bishop reads a page of text in 10 to 15 seconds.  So, he should take an afternoon to read this entire blog—all 500 plus post.  He could then singlehandedly craft the knowledge-based message about how we are wrong and what should be done about it.  Of course, he has always known what was wrong but Democrats are about the business of giving poor folks the impression that government can help them.  Liberals helping regular folks by pouring money into problems isn’t helping.  Actually, kids have kids far too early because they feel that the government will provide.  Mark my word, the Obamas post-presidential efforts on personal living of Americans will be as significant as their historic time in the White House.

I have always thought that candidate Obama learned more about rural America from watching Rep. Bishop than he learned from any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus.  The crowning achievement of Bishop’s career, his legacy, should be the bridge he builds to our southern future with his book and speaking tour.  You know Rep. Bishop will mention one of his favorite Bible scriptures, Luke 12: 48, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.  That passage expresses Bishop’s public service and the best could be yet to come because a mighty blow must be struck first.

I want to outline the mighty blow mentioned earlier in bullet form.  In a discussion, I wonder if I could hit five points with five minutes each.  I bet I could do five points in five minutes total.

  1. Education: learn 24/7; education is formal and informal; informal involves good grammar at home, educational TV channels and life lessons from elders. Hard to unlearn bad habits.  All legal work is good; continue to learn on the job.

 

  1. Faith: You must believe in something or you will fall for anything. Life is God’s gift to you and what you do with your life is your gift to God.  Church kids know how to sit, listen and learn.  Bible is a manual for living.  Respect others’ faith.  Try to faith walk 24/7.

 

  1. Nature: Can’t break the rules of nature. Being free is natural; no jail.  Illegal drugs are unnatural and legal drugs should be limited if possible.  Committed relationships are natural…husband/wife.  Grow old together.  Free milk and the cow.  Avoid the struggle but adversity builds character.  Appreciate natural resources and wonders.

 

  1. Health: Eating right, exercise and rest. Much water.  Burn all of your calories.  Cut “To Die For” Foods.  Adjust soul food: Low fat, fatback.  Don’t self-medicate.  Respect emotional and mental health also. Bullets hurt.

 

  1. Loyalty: Mean what you say and say what you mean. Keep your vows or don’t make them.  Actions honor faith, family, nation, region, race and self.  Surround yourself with positive likeminded people.  Be loyalty to yourself with positive actions; don’t be your own worst enemy.

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Rep. Jack Kingston could have won the primary runoff easily in the Black community but the wrong cats must have been in his ear.  We are talking about the same Jack who has frequently visited and represented Savannah State University for years.

Military bases and the agriculture industry are the economic backbones of non-Atlanta parts of Georgia but no one had the idea to get 6,000 or so votes from Democrats who Jack has helped time and time again.  Look, I live in little Worth County and Kingston got 605 votes here but in huge Albany with a Marine base, Jack only received 655 votes.  Say what?

It’s the proverbial two-edged sword.  The consultants around the Kingston campaign knew that he needed  Tea Party support to win the primary and the Tea Party will not vote for anyone who gets any votes from moderates.

Was anyone in the Kingston camp watching the Thad Cochran Senate primary in Mississippi?  Cochran turned to the Black community for enough support to get over the top; he sought his old friends.  Jack Kingston has more old friends on the Democrat side than any House Republican from Georgia.

I just talked with Georgia Secretary of State’s office and they confirmed that people who didn’t vote in the primary election could have voted for either side in the runoff.  The right Black community leaders in Savannah alone could have gotten out 6,000 Black votes on the strength of Jack’s closeness to our community and long history of hiring Black staffers in key position. But, they decided to leave that on the table.

To be honest, Democrats wanted to see Kingston vs. Michelle Nunn because Jack has a long history of statement about President Obama.  Nunn will not say it nor think it but Black folks coming out to vote in November will be as much about helping the Obama administration have a Democrat-controlled Senate as much as it is about her….and that is okay.

When David Perdue’s cousin took the governor’s office from Roy Barnes, some people vote for Sonny Perdue but many people voted against Barnes over the confederate flag and a teachers issue.  You win how you can.  David Perdue shouldn’t say the word “Obama” until Christmas but he will…the far Right will require that he does.  The attacks on Obama will drive Obama supporters to the polls and if Nunn can secure a few percentage points from suburban GOP women, she wins and helps the Dems hold the U.S. Senate.

Mrs. Nunn must know that Get Out the Vote and street operations will be as important as T.V. ads.  Remember, if Jack had half the street operations that Thad Cochran had, he would have won.

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As President Nixon would say, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Nunns and Carters can’t win in Georgia in 2014 without Obamas and Clintons.  Jason Carter is running for governor and Michelle Nunn seeks an open U.S. Senate seat.

The exodus of the Georgia Whites from the Democrats to the Republicans was completed when Congressman Jim Marshall was defeated by Austin Scott.  Marshall tried to paint himself as a non-Democrat Democrat by running from Barrack Obama and then Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  He basically tried to become Sam Nunn.  Sir, I staffed in the Georgia congressional delegation that was led by Sam Nunn…I met Sam Nunn during my high school years…we went to countless Hill receptions with Senator Nunn.. you, Jim Marshall, was no Sam Nunn.  You don’t run from Obama and expect my communities support.

Like it or hate it, the formula for November 2014 Dem success in Georgia is:

(n + ca)/(o x cl)=w         or (Nunns + Carters) / (Obamas x Clintons) = wins

 

First, Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn are good and decent candidates on their own.  However, Georgia is a Red State because the Democrat base is so very shaky.  The four pillars of strength that support the Dem foundation nationally are two Obamas and two Clintons.  To be honest, Michelle needs to be a flying Nunn crisscrossing the peach state with Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama or both.  As Bernie Mack would say, “you don’t understand”…. Michelle Obama still has rock star status with Dem voters; she could pack a college football stadium with only three days notice.

The reality is this: rural Whites are a lock for the GOP but suburban voters of all colors are on the table if the Dems come out with a moderate agenda focused on job creation.  Who can deny that Bill Clinton’s economy plan left the nation in great shape.  On Meet The Press this past weekend, the question was “would Hillary run as a continuation of the Obama years or restart of the Clinton years?”  I say it would be the beginning of the Hillary years.

The far Right should stop tripping on Hillary Clinton’s age because she would take office at the same age as President Reagan and a few years younger than John McCain would have been if he won.

Michelle Nunn is on that chill style like her father and that won’t get out the bloc of voters that almost won Georgia for Obama.  That’s okay because unlikely voters have a lot to think about this year….the motivation is there.  They just need a little knowledge and wisdom from the blogosphere; we call it “that fire.”  Don’t sleep: Nunn’s senate race will be studied by Team Hillary as they plan to take parts of suburbia back from the GOP.

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During primary season, the poll workers shouldn’t ask if I am a Republican or a Democrat in Georgia.  I am a realist who knows that there are very few contested elections in our divided state.  I am going to say “I will take the Republican ballot” but have that “I’m no Republican” look on my face.  Wise guys like me simply want to be where the action is or shall I say want our votes to have some meaning.

 

Democrat voters could save that little gas money by staying home in my area because Michelle Nunn will be the U.S. Senate nominee and Jason Carter will get the governor nod.  In Albany Georgia on the other hand, voters should take the Dem ballot to put professor Aaron Johnson on the school board—he is good people and smart as a whip.

 

Dems voting in the GOP primary could a) select a Republican who the Dem would have an easier time defeating in November or b) select a Republican who would respectfully debate issues across the aisle like the current two Georgia Senators.  In other words, pick the less crazy Republican because there is a strong chance the GOP will keep that seat in Congress.

 

Most Republicans in Georgia smiled and laughed when the nutty segment of their party talked about candidate Obama, President Obama, his wife, his kids, his momma, his daddy and his birthplace.  But, the same folks are surprised that the White House isn’t quickly putting funds into the deepening of the Port of Savannah, a project that means over 200,000 jobs indirectly in the South.  I am not saying the White House is in payback mode but I appreciate Senator Chambliss, Senator Isakson, and Rep. Austin Scott for keeping the debates fiscal and having some degree of respect for the office of the presidency.  Georgia’s congressional Dems generally respected the Bushes.

 

So, I am a moderate who will be voting for the coolest cat in the U.S. Senate Republican primary and the coolest cat in the Georgia state Senate primary.  Of course, there is no Democrat running for Senate District 13 so the primary winner gets the position.

 

(The following is intended for Black voters only)  When the Republicans win a position with few votes from our community, they usually ignore said community on that To the Victor The Soils style.  (Non Black voters please rejoin the post now.)

 

All kidding aside, there is a young man from my county running for state senate and people from my community have been friendly with him since high school or before.  But, I shouldn’t public say that I am voting for him because the purists in the GOP will get ticked that their selection process is tainted whose who haven’t taken the Red Team blood oath.

 

Of the other hand, Mrs. Vivian Childs is running for congress against my old boss Rep. Sanford Bishop and I wish I lived in that district because I would welcome the opportunity to vote for a GOP primary candidate who would have a robust and healthy debate on the issues with SDB.  While SDB will likely win against either GOP candidate, Childs campaign serves as a testing ground for improving the conservative approach to new demographics (People of color).  She might lose the battle but help nation win the war against partisan ignorance.

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The only Democrat state or federal elected official who represents me is President Obama.  I don’t think Georgia is overwhelmingly Republican as much as I think Dems help people who don’t take the time to vote.  With that being said, you can understand why I am a moderate Dem who often votes in the Republican primary.

In states like Michigan, voters register as member of a party and can only vote in the primary for that party.  I view the Georgia process as members of two major parties listing their candidates and voters choosing from those candidates more so than people self-identifying as R or D.  Oh, Republicans clearly function like GOP is second only to their church but Southern Dems aren’t about half that interested party politics.

If the selection of leaders take place in the GOP primary, that’s where the action is.  Michelle Nunn will be the Dem nominee for Senate and Jason Carter will be the nom for governor.  In most places, there is nothing popping for Dems in the primary except local elections (those locals need to be non-partisan but save that fight for another day.)

I voted for Newt Gingrich in the presidential primary before voting for Obama again in the general election.  Because some GOP candidates are board line zealots, I will vote for the most reasonable one.  Also, cooler candidates from the other side are the ones I want to see in constructive debates before the general election. 

In the state Senate race in my area, I will be voting in the GOP primary for a decent guy who attended my high school and there will be no Dem in the general election. 

If I lived in Georgia’s 2nd congressional district, I would vote for Vivian Childs in the GOP primary because she has a demeanor similar to Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Austin Scott—less Tea Party, more sweet Iced Tea.  A contest between Rep. Sanford Bishop and Childs would actually help to explain how they are alike rather than what divides them…what divides us.  If both political parties hate cross-party voting, that makes me want to see more of it. 

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This election year is an important opportunity to change the mindset of policymakers and citizens.  Most elections aren’t contested and seem more like coronations.  But, fighters should continue to fight the good fight because the stakes are so high.  We should use the debates and campaigns as platforms to unveil new and better approaches to old problems and situations because status quo simply isn’t working.

Status quo:  To me, status quo with candidates, political parties and policymakers involves the far Right telling everyone what they should do as you would address children and the far Left trying to help everyone with their problems after the problems occur.

Solution:  We need lawmakers  and policy makers who speak clearly and frankly to the people about the role of government and about personal choices, decisions, and consequences.  We need a fresh and different mindset about how we carry ourselves.  “Carry ourselves” is old school Black heritage; it harkens back to the days when we knew who we were and whose we were; times when Black people sought the opportunities to achieve and strive without encumbrances. Today, many of our encumbrances and obstacles are self-made.

Most politicians know that their abilities to improve our nation are limited by reality and fiscal constraints but those so-called leaders are reluctant to say that.  Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Obama basely said the same thing: ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for this country; government is the problem.  Some might be surprise that I put President Obama on that list but I think he is a “do for self” person who is hamstrung by party politics.  The post-presidential Obama will be so beneficial to the spirit of this blog post.

The good fiscal news is that my solutions are free, cheap or low-cost.  It’s all about K.S.A.  Oldheads will remember that Knowledge, Skills and Abilities requirements were once part of the federal government employment application process. But, I still think in terms of young people getting knowledge from those who went before them, developing skills to function smoothly in life and understanding their God-given abilities.  Politicians and candidates always speak to youth about soaring like eagles and bla bla bla—there is plenty of that “wind beneath my wings” talk out there.

But, it’s time for some substances…some tools….some meat.  I wrote a blog post years ago called “A and B before C and D” that asked leaders to encourage if not demand that government spend more resources and energy preventing problems and life crisis than addressing the growing numbers of people with messy situations.  To be honest, most people with troubled lives walked right into their circumstances.  Did momma, daddy, school, church, friends and the police beg them to get on the right track?

(Here is the part when a moderate Democrat admits that the conservatives are right about something.) You almost want to say forget them; they made their beds when they ignore the warning and stop signs.  But, you can’t because idly watching human suffering isn’t very Christ-like.  What about 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

U.S. Congressman and Senate candidate Jack Kingston is one of my favorite lawmakers.  I kicked it with Jack at a RNC Club one night for 15 minutes alone 20 years ago and he outlined his career-long efforts to advocate for Southeast Georgia.  It blew me away to learn that Kingston wants to consider having kids who eat free school lunch clean the school or cafeteria to pay off their tab or whatever.  Come on, Jack…that’s jacked up.  I think Jack is really thinking that parents without lunch money for their kids should be shamed into going to work…. “get off your fat behinds and provide for yours.”  What ticks off reasonable people are the fact that people who need help are sometimes the same people who are too good and too proud to flip burgers or harvest vegetables.

We are approaching this wrong.  We must find a positive way to encourage personal responsibility and achievement.  To be honest again, leaders need to speak knowledge and wisdom to help replace the home training that isn’t taking place anymore.  At the same time, that old school home training needs to take place and young people should delay starting families until they have themselves together.  The writers of this blog welcome the opportunity to talk with any campaign staffers seeking to mix our thoughts and ideas into their approaches.

And the first mindset change involves video games and hip hop music.

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There is more than one way to skin a cat and the Republicans have recently taken the worst ways to address outreach.  First, their outreach reeks because policy, techniques and branding is being driven by their most vocal and most angry.

For years, I have been telling conservative friends that 20% of the Black vote was prime for the taking and that those 20% were actually the head of the snake (the political, economic, faith and social leadership of my community.)  Without the deep thinking 20% of the body, the rest would be aimless. But, talk radio and the Fox News types get paid not for creating good policy and solving problems but for keeping up drama and mess.  I am starting to believe that MSNBC does the same thing on the left.

If the GOP conservatives listened to me years ago, they would have allowed a moderate, centrist segment of their team– a segment that would outnumber the far right and would counterbalance the centrists on the Dem Team.  I wanted to call them Red Dogs like the Dems’ Blue Dogs.  Basically, the Red Dogs would be the traditional conservatives who deliberate and compromise with others.

When I staffed on the Hill, Rep. Paul Ryan staffed and was a waiter a Tortilla Coast.  The guy is old school like me and we remember the days when lawmakers knew each other; when state delegations had a weekly meal together and the dean of the delegation was respected by both sides of the aisle.

During this holiday season, there are minorities and women sitting down with family and discussing the possibility of running for office as a member of the GOP.  Of course, many conservatives don’t realize that people other than those who look like them are also moderate to conservative.

You don’t need to skin a black cat because old superstitions are silly.  Cats are cats and if the GOP spent a little more time getting to know Blakc cats and less time being ticked off, they would have a new segment of their team.  That segment would be just right to approach my community about the sensibleness of personal responsibility and life choices.

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Esquire Magazine and NBC News have produced a study that states what this blog has known for years.  Americans don’t neatly fit into two political parties and the new political center outweighs a combination of the far left liberals and far right conservatives.

They also discovered that over a million more people voted for Democrats for congress but the gerrymandering of congressional districts gives elections to the GOP.  On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, someone said that politicians are selecting their voters (with redistricting) rather than voters selecting their politicians.  Congress’s approval rating is below 10% but 90% of incumbents get reelected.

This blog has always supported groups and candidates who are about dialog and solutions rather than those who wanted to divide people for their own personal gains.  The videos and articles relating to this new study will surprise you and are worth watching.

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/morning-joe/53283365   (skip to the 2:00 mark)

http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/15/20960588-the-new-american-center-why-our-nation-isnt-as-divided-as-we-think?lite

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National and state Democrats should be watching and helping in the local elections in Sylvester, Georgia, because their hope for the future starts here.  Elections on three levels are won by securing the political center and the local mayor’s contest should be the proving grounds for the 2014 U.S. Senate race and the 2016 presidential race.

The Democratic Party of Georgia and of most southern states is struggling with the lost of rural conservative voters.  The current mayor of Sylvester has had support from a cross-section of the community in a manner that is similar to Congressman Austin Scott.  If the mayor is a Dem and if he does not win reelection, he should get a visit from the new head of the DPG, Dubose Porter.  That would be a meeting of two of the last rural White Democrats and they could plan and plot how to bring people like them back to the party.

If the mayor is GOP, he should help his fellow Republicans learn to respect the office of the president as much as Democrats respected the Bushes and President Reagan.  How many folks still can’t bring themselves to say “President Obama” or “President Clinton?”  Those “Charlton Heston Is My President” bumper stickers in the 90s were downright un-American and no, it wasn’t a NRA reference.

nra

They better get use to saying President Clinton because Hillary has a date with destiny that begins with our local elections.  One of the mayoral candidates is more conservative than me and seems more conservative than the other candidate.  But here is the kicker: it’s the Black Democrat pastor.

Oh my goodness, I went to one of his political events and it was textbook what rural southern voters have been craving for decades without the hate speak.   We are talking faith-based common sense solutions for problems with every community.  See, reasonable people know that improving the South starts with addressing issues with the worst segment of the community—let’s be honest.  We can’t ignore them because eventually they will bring down the whole community like cancer in the body.  Georgia’s governor knows we spend too much money on these jokers in failing schools then more money locking them up.

The current mayor and city council provide basic public services; they do their official jobs well.  But, this new candidate in the political arena is a pastor who isn’t just preaching to the choir.  Like me, he is familiar with the streets and regular folks trust his tough love style in the pulpit.  Does that translate to the political arena?  If it does, we should watch out because like Oprah and T.D. Jakes, the whole rural community has been waiting for some political leaders who can tell the people what they must do to improve their lives with secondary consideration for governmental involvement.

But, Pastor Terrell Carter has friends in the faith community from all over rural south Georgia.  In other words, the approach he is using to reach the politically sleeping should serve as a model for U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  In areas with no Dem state and congressional leadership, the local leaders are the foundations of party structure.

So, someone with the state Dem party should be helping Carter now since he has a message that might actually appeal to more southerners.  I guess the GOP should be doing the same with the current mayor because he enjoys considerable support in my community.  You know what, these two fellows are running clean races and the one who does not win has a bright future in politics on the next level.  Come to think of it, I really couldn’t tell you which party either is in and that is a wonderful thing.

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In the local elections this fall, I know and respect all of the candidates.  But, competition is actually healthy; competition like Obama vs. Hillary that elevated both of their games.  I can’t help but think that better competition might  have compel Rep. Sanford Bishop to have been hungrier legislatively and could have lead him into the U.S. Senate or a presidential cabinet postition.

 

 

Barrack Obama was defeated in a U.S. House race by Bobby Rush, who is from Albany, Georgia.  Heaven only knows who would be president today if Obama got bogged down in the morass of the House.

 

 

Local and state elected positions are building blocks for federal positions.  Actually, there are members of the state legislature who never wanted to be in the Congress.  Being a part-time lawmaker is cool but being a full-time congressman would be a pay cut for a person balling in the private sector. i.e. state Rep. Calin Smyre of Columbus.  By building blocks I mean that congressional candidates look to members of the state house and state senate for support.  Candidates for the state houses in turn look to local officials.  Of course, presidential candidates look to elected officials on all levels.

 

 

To make it plain, Hillary Clinton 2016 starts with local elections this year.

 

 

I am ticked off by the ultra conservatives who ran moderates out of the Republican Party and who are designing laws and procedures in the state capitol to limited Americans from voting.  They seem to be functioning under the Jean-Paul Sartre/Malcolm X phrase “By any means necessary.”

 

 

Gerrymandering of state legislature and U.S. Congress lines have left large sections of the South with one party leadership. In other words, candidates can win elections with little input and support from anyone who doesn’t look like them or thinking totally like them.  My friends in the conservative movement will dare elected officials to listening to and explaining matters to the other side.  I thought that was their jobs.  To give credit where credit is due, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Jack Kingston love to talk issues with anyone in their service areas—hats off to them for that.

 

 

I want paraphrase Jesus to those whom might come up short in the coming election: Let not your heart be troubled…in my father’s house are many mansions.”  The houses I have in mind are the state house and state senate.  These are the legislative bodies where laws like “stand your ground” were passed. The place where state officials and lawmakers think it is cute to make it hard for regular people of any color to vote.

 

 

Look, I didn’t like former Democrat Congressman Jim Marshall and I gladly voted for reasonable Republican candidate Austin Scott because Marshall slamming Dems was too much.  With the same strategy in mind, I hope that some of the candidates who fall short in the local elections will consider running for the state houses next year—from either major political party.   I am sure that there are enough southern moderates to sway some primaries next year.

 

 

The most important matter is massive voter turnout.  You can vote for Dora the Explorer for all I care but vote because someone is trying to reverse your rights.  “Oh, after Obama is off the ballot…those people will go back to not voting again….right?”   Wrong.

 

 

In the future, we will have some Republican sistas in the Georgia congressional delegation.  These conservative ladies will keep legislative debate civic and tell my community what wise people already know—that the government isn’t your bank.

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The Congress today is a mess and it will take dramatic changes to fix it.  I can’t believe that the multi-year Farm Bill can’t get passed.  Are you kidding me?  When I worked on the Hill, they could almost voice vote this important bill but now the hard left and hard right are basically too hard.  Compromising moderates/centrists are nowhere to be found. Hell, compromise is a dirty word in D.C. these days.                

The Farm Bill was once a seven year act that authorized most USDA programs and operations. It’s vital because everyone needs a safe and affordable food supply.  Big commodities like wheat, corn and cotton would receive “assistance” so farmland was happy and feeding assistance programs would generate support from urban legislators.  Actually, WIC, the School Lunch/Breakfast Program, supplemental commodities for seniors and the needy, and Food Stamps helped the farmland and cities at the same time because farmers could have additional markets for their products.

With the recent Farm Bill debacle, the hardline left protested $20 billion in cuts that hardline righties wanted in Food Stamps.  Don’t get me started on all the biblical references to helping the poor or the general idea that too much assistance can make people softer…weak.

My thoughts go to the old Fram oil filter ad that said “you can pay me now or you can pay me later.”  Hungry kids can’t learn at school.  Teens looking at starving siblings might turn to drug selling and really cost the public money.  Children with poor nutrition are sickly and cost billions in health care. On the other hand, the hard right argues that people shouldn’t have kids until they can afford them.  It is fascinatingly ironic to see fat kids on Food Stamps.  I have a niece who told me that she stopped by the store to get a few items on a budget near the end of the month (bread and cold cuts)…she attended college in the ACC.  A young mother in front of her in the line was buying spendy seafood with food stamps.  So, my smart mouth kin said, “you’ll welcome” under her breath. 

Congress’s approval rating is at a record low and members seem more concerned about catering to special interest groups than conferring with colleagues about improving our nation.  The best families in America are those with limited involvement with government.  Midwestern famers with Scandinavian roots simply put the seed in ground, cultivate crops and then go to market. 

The future of my community would be brighter if we trained kids to do it without the government.  We need a new crop of politicians who would say that.  When the far right is busy cutting federal spending on poor people, they should get their friends to look at governmental funds for corporate welfare.  In some ways, we are all feeding on the government.

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to those directly or indirectly affected by Hurricane Sandy—that would be every American. (It’s four a.m. and I don’t know if that should be affected or effected but during troubled time, I don’t care.)

I am proud that President Obama and Governor Romney limited their campaigns because of the storm.  To me, the Obama of the first debate didn’t see a need to campaign much more anyway.  He did what he wanted to do for the nation and if said nation didn’t like it….peace.  He saw no need for a hard sell after giving it his all. 

At the same time, I don’t think Romney recognizes the “him” that he is presenting in order to win the election.  I think he is a moderate who ran as a far Right conservative to win the GOP primary— now, he wouldn’t mine leaning back to the middle to get over the hump.

These campaigns needed suspending and any future donation money should go to storm relief families.  Oh, and get ready for some nuts to start talking about heaven’s hand in the election by way of the storm.  Heaven only knows if that is the case; but, I will say that I have never seen an incumbent candidate more at peace with the coming results.  You could say he is thinking “let the chips fall where they may” or Obama is reading 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

I have a feeling that if giving the choice between (a) being a great disaster president over the next week yet losing the election because he didn’t make a  final push or  (b) winning the election by keeping one eye on the storm recovery and one eye on the campaign—Obama would quickly pick choice A but maybe being a great disaster president wins the election.  Yes, Romney managed the disaster at the Salt Lake City Olympics but that isn’t the same thing.  

In times like these, the leader of the free world should take a minute to hit a few gospel classics on you tube after his prayers—that “Order My Steps” song and the one about “Victory is Mine.”  What about “By and By.” 

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President Obama’s presidency would have been better if he had a congress interested in dialog and compromise.  Without doubt, we are looking at one of the worst congresses in modern history.  Obama plan to have a healthy line of communication with the House and Senate and central to that plan was talks with conservatives like current GOP VP selection Paul Ryan.

The ugly part of the conservative movement wouldn’t let Ryan or any GOP members of Congress debate issues and seek solutions with the president.  Oh yeah, the ugly part has grown in the body of that party like a cancer.  As a party, Democrats are weak in the South but well-intended while Republicans are strong but hell-bent on running the nation without input from anyone outside their shrinking tent.

If they had listened to former RNC chairman Michael Steele, things would be different.  Steele and reasonable conservatives (who were moderate in their temperament) wanted to court those of us in the political center.  However, the Tea Party’s nature took them in another direction.  Understand, all conservatives share the same fiscal and size of government views but temperament is the key. 

The temperament of most southern conservatives will not allow them to select congressional candidates in primaries who will appeal to moderates in the general election.  Representative John Barrow of Augusta, Georgia,  is the last White Democrat in the House of Representatives from the deep South.  The GOP has been after him for years and to be honest, a moderate conservative Black candidate would have taken that seat.  Oh, I forgot that there are no GOP moderates since the Tea Party purge their ranks.

Rep. John Barrow listening

In the 12th congressional district primary, businessman Rick Allen lost to state Rep. Lee Anderson.  Allen has civic and social connections with non-Republicans in the Augusta area but that meant nothing to primary voters.  They wanted someone just like them and they got a candidate who refuses to debate Harvard-educated Barrow.   Democrats in Georgia that are looking for some action should get involved in the Barrow campaign because we can’t become a one race party in the South; we would be bogus.  Okay, I tossed in “bogus” because I was listened to MC Hammer yesterday and thought politics when he said “your party is bogus..yo, it ain’t legit” on the rap classic “Let’s Get It Started.”  Hammer could have been talking about Romney and the post Michael Steele RNC with their 47% nonsense.  

Let’s Get It Started had a sample from Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” and that is what is going to happen to GOP congressional candidates until they develop a moderate wing.  Hammer can be in a blog post about Augusta politics because brother James Brown is from that area and Hammer clearly bites from the Godfather of Soul’s beats and dance moves.  When America was on fire after the MLK assassination, Brown cooled things down.

We should get “Get Out The Vote” started for Barrow and Obama in that part of Georgia.  Barrow and the Blue Dogs bring moderate to conservative views to the Democrat table.

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Who really represents you in congress could be a technicality?  On my street, a community activist has several “Sanford Bishop for Congress” signs in his yard.  I started to tell him that after the last redistricting, we can’t vote for Bishop and he doesn’t represent us anymore.  

But, the thought occurred to me: “your congressman” isn’t necessarily the one who has your geographic district.  For example, ultra-conservatives that live in Rep. Bishop’s 2nd congressional district of Georgia ignore his service because they want a far-right winger in office.  For southwest and middle Georgia, Rep. Bishop and conservative Rep. Austin Scott actually listen to more of the opposition than most members of congress.  While moderates appreciate Bishop’s listening to everyone, I think the far-right section of the conservative movement only wants GOP representatives and senators to hear from them—because they are the only people who are right.

Since junior high school, I have known that once elected an official was obligated to serve everyone but that is some theoretical middle school stuff.  In actuality, neither Bishop nor Scott will have a real competitive race before the next redistricting after the next census.  So, conservatives will fuss at Bishop then call one of the two GOP U.S. Senators’ offices.  As a moderate in conservative Austin Scott’s district, I can still dialog with him because the guy is about explaining his views in a healthy manner (rather than being as ugly as the far-Right.) 

Rep. Bishop still represents my community and that is fine because more people who sleep in my town work in Bishop’s district than work in our technical congressional district.  We work, shop, worship, study, eat and chill across that invisible congressional line.  Bishop and Scott have parts of Macon, Georgia and Columbus, Georgia, and you can believe that people constantly smudge- out that line in their minds. 

You might not be able to vote for the congressman or woman from the neighboring district but you can still make that campaign donation.  Also, our votes are becoming less impactful anyway.  As a moderate Democrat, my voting in the GOP primary was more important to selecting the next president than my coming vote for President Obama in this non-swing state.  Yes, I voted in the GOP primary because I wanted to ensure that even if my guy didn’t win, the winner would be the best from the other side.  In other words, Romney wasn’t crazy like some in the GOP primary field—just aloof.  

For the record, I would be undecided at this point if the GOP presidential candidate was Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice or Mitch Daniels.  I don’t vote for Bishop and Obama because they look like me.  I vote for them because they try to incorporate everyone’s opinions in the decision-making process. 

To my conservative friends, I say look to Austin Scott when you discover that you can’t be a national party without having a functional relationship with the political center.

I should call it like it “t.i.s. tis.”  I live in the mega-congressional district Georgia 2nd/8th which is represented by Rep. Bishop and Rep. Scott.

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Golf tournaments in Atlanta and Memphis sometimes have paddles that put me in the mind of campaign strategies. While marshall’s paddles usually say “Quiet Please,” our southern signs state “Hush Ya’ll.”  I love it and I think candidate Barack Obama privately told certain supporters that in 2008. 

If Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Minister Louis Farrakhan were at the front of Obama supporters, that support would have fuel the loyal opposition.  Actually, President Obama spent more time trying to connect with Rep. Paul Ryan and House Republicans than listening to the Congressional Black Caucus.  The CBC likely said, “We have seen that …..brother.”

If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.  Governor Mitt Romney had to stand on the stage with a cast of characters in the GOP primary who push their agenda to the far right and who said outlandish things about non-Republicans.  Well, it is hard for Romney/Ryan to secure the political center now when they failed to denounce crazy talk about Obama’s birthplace, “I want MY country back” and those who (they feel) don’t love America. 

If Obama told the far left “Hush Ya’ll,” Romney likely wishes he could do the same with the most vocal segment of the conservative movement.  But, those activists are not hearing it; they want red meat and they want plenty of it.  That same red meat will drive folks to the polls—not only to keep Obama in, but also to keep the crazies waiting in the wings out.  Again, Romney is a Trojan horse and you know who is inside said horse–the damgum Tea Party.

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Team Obama and Team Romney need to understand that we simply refuse to have this election decided without more input and involvement from the South.  Yes, North Carolina and Florida are swing states but most of the South is being bypassed because Dixie is supposedly solid red. It seems that our donations to fund swing state campaign ads are more important that our votes—hell “haw.”

Let’s do this: keep our campaign money here in the rural areas and use that money to get out the vote (GOTV).  These two campaigns might spend two billion dollars on TV ad wars and the real winners will be the professional campaign industry.  President Obama once sat weekly in Congressional Black Caucus meetings with Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop and I think that seeing SDB’s approach to moderate service benefited candidate Obama in 2008.  In 2010, Bishop had a formable GOP opponent and they went toe to toe in a media war; I watched cable TV the last few weeks because I was sick of slick campaign ads.  In the end, Bishop won because national conservatives and the Tea Party hit so hard that we got defensive and resorted old school GOTV methods to help the incumbent. If the Tea Party and the bitter national groups had stayed out of that election, the GOP would have taken that seat so thanks. 

Looking at that 2008 congressional race would help Obama and Romney prep for rural battles.  Clearly, the current plan is to have both official presidential campaigns be nice and above the fray while outside groups do any dirty work.  The positive dirty work would be a door to door, house to house, hood to hood effort to get everyone properly prepared to vote.  It is a low down dirty shame that some on the Right want to limited voter participation—you’ll are better than that.  We should counter by making sure that everyone knows the deadlines, rules and regulations for registration and voting.

To be honest, the GOP can never reach a point where 100% of the Black vote in the South is assumed Democrats.  If they do, their attitude and policies would be even more punitive.  Peace and blessing to brothers and sistas on the conservative side because 25% or more of Black southerners are actually conservatives but won’t join a party with a section that is dam near confederate.  The black conservative blog Booker Rising has a nice questionnaire in it’s margins and if my family members took it they would discover that they are more moderate than liberal.  Of course, the rural south GOP allows talk radio to work them into a mean frenzy so their gatherings are more salt than pepper.

We should start now and maximize our voter participation.  If we put 10% of the time and interest we put into football into getting everyone voting, we will ensure that our voice are heard.  Hey, we could combine the two; GOTV rallies in the form of old school parties after high school and college football games.   Yeah, we need to say among ourselves what the national campaigns can’t or won’t say and young  Dem conservative Keith McCants from Peanut Politics should be leading the effort.

http://www.bookerrising.net/2004/08/booker-rising-quiz-are-you-black.html

http://www.bookerrising.net/2004/08/booker-rising-quiz-are-you-black_20.html

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