This is a revised post from 2010. So much of it is still relevant, but a lot has changed since then. And not for the better. I’ll repost it more or less as is and use it as a starting point for my current political thoughts as we get closer to the election….
I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days as we head to the 2010 election. For Progressive’s like me, it’s forecast to be a rough one who’s results may lead us backward as opposed to foreward.
And, once again, the South will lead us there. We’ve always been good at looking fondly backward in the South–whether the facts support it or not. That makes for fertile ground for the Republicans. I’ve always said: “Republicans look backwards with Fear while Democrats look forward with Hope.
That got me thinking. Why is it the South is such a stronghold for the Republicans? Here are my thoughts:
- The South is heavy with fundamentalists and evangelical religions. These people have been played by the Republican Party like a cheap violin. Here is what I would say to them: Open your eyes. Under Bush, the Republicans controlled the government and did not ban abortion or execute any of the other points of your agenda. If they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. They are using you. Wise up.
- There is a history of Patriarchy in the South that is not dead. Many people, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, still follow the leadership of local political leaders with little thought. They are used to being led without questions or taking time to check the facts because they think they “know” the person and he/she is “one of us.”
- Education is not really valued by a large portion of Southerners. They are suspicious of the overly educated and think they don’t understand them. The Republicans are very good at playing dumb and coming off as one of the “good ole boys” while they use the votes of the poor whites in the South to channel money and benefits to their rich friends on Wall Street.
- Southerners resists looking at anything too deeply. Introspection is not valued in the South. Action is….The Republican’s play on this very well.
- Facts don’t mean much in the South. Truth has always been conceptual rather than a reality. Any region that can convince itself for over 150 years that the Civil War was about “states rights” rather than slavery is capable of any kind of self-delusion.
- The South tends to hate the idea of Big Government, even if they enjoy the benefits. They can over look little things like Social Security, Medicare, new bridges and highways, and insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and college kids. They somehow don’t make the connection that the federal government provides these things…
- Southerners value personal freedom above all else, as long as you are a straight white man.
- The President is Black and he’s a Democrat. To a large group of folks in the South, this alone is enough reason to vote Republican. Although you may never get them to admit it…
What can Democrats do to change all this and win the South?
- Learn to fight. The South and most of the Country values people who stand up for their principles. The GOP has Balls and the Democrats have Brains. You have to have both to win in the South.
- Push for independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.
- Get out your message. We’ve got to publicize the benefits of the legislation we do pass and how it helps the poor and middle class as opposed to the Rich. The Democrats and The President have failed miserably at this for the few years. We have real achievements, but no one knows it.
- Take on the bullies at Fox News. We have got to make people realize this is not a news organization, but a propaganda machine that provides entertainment to the ignorant. We should be pushing companies not to advertise on Fox News. We should be telling the Management to turn it off in Public places like restaraunts and gyms.
- Call a liar a liar. This relates to number 1, but I can’t stress this enough. The Republicans look right in the camera and lie. And no one calls them on it. We have to start making people aware that there are things called “Facts” and stand up for them.
- Make this about Class Warfare. A class war is going on for years and most of the country just started to realize this. And the Republicans started it. Call’em on it.
- Make it clear: Unless you have an individual income of greater than $200,000 or a combined Family income of over $300,000, there is absolutely no financial reason to vote for the Republicans. If you want to vote for what is best for your pocketbook, vote for the Democrats. The Republicans really only answer to the Corporations and the wealthy.
- Make Obama white. That’s about the only way you can get about 35% of white Southerners to support the Democrats. We have to focus on the remaining 65% of the South with open minds.
- Wait it out….The older, closed minded, prejudiced Southerners are dying off. The younger ones are more open minded, better educated and have seen more of the world. These are the Southern Democrats of tomorrow.
- Make your Democratic friends vote. Even if you have to go to their house or job and throw them in the car and take them to the polls. There are more Democrats than Republicans in many parts of the South. The problem is Republicans always vote and Democrats don’t. If more Democrats would actually just show up at the polls, we would win a lot more races.
Those are my thoughts for now.
All I have left to say is:
If you are a Democrat, get off your butt and vote. There are no excuses.
If you are a Republican-why don’t you just book a spa day for Tuesday and let the election go? That would really be best for all of us….
There is a lot of good news for Democrats and bad news for Republicans in this article from ThinkProgress.org. It makes it even more obvious how the GOP’s days in power are numbered.
I find the information on education and the value of a college degree especially interesting….
However, there are interesting facts relating to education and the value of a degree as well. Here are a couple of excerpts and a link to the full article:
The 25 top counties for net Democratic vote gain include many of the most populous counties in the country. They include Los Angeles at the top, eight of the ten most populous (LA, plus Cook [Chicago], San Diego and Orange [CA], Dallas, Kings [Brooklyn], Queens and Miami-Dade) and 15 of the top 25 most populous. The rest, without exception, are large counties that include a major city or are urbanized inner suburbs of a major city. The magnitude of Democratic gains in the top 25 ranges from 1.2 million in LA down to around 140,000.
The top gainers for the GOP, in contrast, tend to be in much smaller counties on the periphery of metropolitan areas (“exurbs”). The top 25 GOP gainers include no county in the US top 25 in population and include only one in the top 50. And the magnitude of GOP gains in the top 25 is much smaller than those enjoyed by the Democrats. Indeed, the largest GOP net gain of all—90,000 in Provo county, Utah–is not only smaller than the 25th ranked gain for the Democrats (140,000) but also smaller than Democratic gains all the way down to the 61st ranked Democratic gainer county.
Democratic strength in dense areas is clearly one reason for the Democrats’ increasing electoral potency, particularly in Presidential elections. Conversely, the concentration of GOP gains in more lightly-populated areas limits their strength now and in the future…
The report notes that 34 percent of Millennial generation 25-32 year olds have a four year college degree, compared to 25 percent among Gen Xers at the same age, 24 percent among both late and early Boomers and just 13 percent among those from the Silent generation. Millennials are also receiving the highest relative values from their degrees. A Millennial college graduate has median earnings of $45,500, compared to just $28,000 for a Millennial high school graduate. Back in 1965, the gap was much narrower: a Silent Generation college graduate earned $38,800 (2012 dollars) while a high school graduate earned $31,400.
via The Hidden Demographic Shifts That Are Sinking The Republican Party | ThinkProgress.
Still no final decision in the VA Attorney General race.
It’s down to provisional ballots- a by product of Voter ID laws. These are ballots made by people who came to vote without acceptable ID.
This is the fun we have to look forward to in NC next year….
More cost and unnecessary red tape being forced on us by the GOP in order to suppress Demoocratic voters and interfere with Democracy.
To me, this also opens the door to more potential Voter Fraud in the handling of these provisional ballots by the localities….
From WDBJ 7:
With the attorney general’s race still too close to call, provisional ballots could determine who wins.
At this time, it’s unclear of exactly how many provisional ballots were cast statewide.
A provisional ballot was cast if a voter didn\’t have ID or showed up to the polls and wasn\’t registered to vote.
Localities where a provisional ballot was cast must report those to the State Board of Elections to determine if the vote becomes official; a process that could take up to a week.
via Provisional Ballots could determine Attorney General race | Local News – Home.
I’m sorry, but this is really making me get on my native Virginian High Horse…
Apparently, Ken Cuccinnelli is refusing to call Terry McAuliffe who defeated him in yesterday’s Virginia Gubernatorial Election.
This is simply not done.
Good Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly behavior are very important to Virginians. This behavior is just plain tacky…
As the FFV’s, or the First Families of Virginia to the non-cognescenti, would say:
“Ken Cuccinnelli is DNOKD.”
“Definitely not our kind, dear….”
This partially explains his loss…..
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli R had not called Democrat Terry McAuliffe after losing the Virginia gubernatorial race and had no plans to do so as of late Wednesday morning, according to a report in The Washington Post.Cuccinelli has already publicly conceded he lost the race.
At a press conference later on Wednesday McAuliffe said he had still not heard from Cuccinelli.”I have not had the opportunity yet to speak to the attorney general,” McAuliffe said.
The fact that Cuccinelli has not called underscores how bitter the Virginia gubernatorial race was for both candidates. Much of the advertising by both Cuccinelli and McAuliffes campaign was negative. And despite public polling ahead of Election Day showing McAuliffe with a wide lead over Cuccinelli, the now governor-elect only narrowly defeated Cuccinelli.
via Report: Cuccinelli Has No Plans To Call McAuliffe.
I’m still recovering from the heart palpitations and adrenaline rush from waiting out the Virginia election results tonight and wanted to capture my thoughts while they are still fresh.
Before commenting, let me remind some of you of my background. I was born, raised and educated in Virginia. I lived there until about 25 years ago. Also, about 25 years ago- and please sit down now- I worked as paid campaign staff for Republican candidates. That was prior to my “road to Damascus” moment when I realized I really wasn’t a Republican. That was also prior to the GOP going completely crazy….There once were socially liberal Republicans.
Like a lot of people, I became a Democrat by choice and after much thought. That’s the difference between the GOP and the Dems. Democrats think. Sometimes too much…
The Virginia gubernatorial election today should not have been this close. It was a nail bitter. Let me give you my perspective as to why:
- Both Candidates had very high negative ratings in polling. No one loved Terry McAuliffe, but a lot of people hated Ken Cuccinnelli more. This was not a scenario to drive Democratic turnout. People are much more likely to show up to vote for someone than against someone. I’m not sure if McAuliffe could have defeated any other Republican as he was not beloved by anyone. Again, anti-Cuccinnelli hatred was the motivating factor to Democrats and hate doesn’t really drive Dems like it does Republicans.
- The polls, for the last few weeks, were showing a blowout. People thought they didn’t need to make the effort to go vote against Cuccinnelli as it looked safe that McAuliffe would win.
- Nothing makes the Tea Party madder and motivates them more than polls showing their candidate will lose.
- Virginia does not have any early voting. It takes an extra effort for working people and poor people to go to the polls. Thinking McAuliffe was a safe win, they didn’t make that extra effort.
- The Religious Wrong and old white people will vote for their candidates, like Cuccinnelli, come hell or high water. I wish we could find a way to instill that drive in Democratic voters.
- I don’t know to what extent Voter ID laws suppressed Democratic turnout, but I’m sure it did. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to suppress Democratic turnout.
- Thank god for Northern Virginia and the Government shutdown. That motivated people in Northern Virginia, who are heavily Democratic to turn out.
As I said, this should not have been this close, but it was. It wasn’t close enough to effectively end Ken Cuccinnelli’s political career or kill the Tea Party. Those are the real negative repercussions. This battle will continue.
The good news is that the absolutely bat shit crazy GOP Lt Governor candidate went down in flames. This gives us a well positioned Democrat to run for Governor in Virginia in 4 years when, due to Virginia law which prevents Governors from seeking re-election, McAuliffe won’t be eligible to run. The other bit of good news is that McAuliffe ran on very left-of-center positions and still won. Even though he was personally unpopular. That proves that Progressive positions are not a death sentence even in a state still as conservative as Virginia.
It looks like the Attorney General’s race in Virginia is still too close to call. Right now, Democrat Mark Herring is down by fewer than 200 votes. That total has been changing constantly and the winner flipping back and forth. The results of this race will prove interesting down the road. This office is usually a stepping stone to future gubernatorial candidates. The Republican candidate, Mark Obenshain, is the son of conservative Republican Richard “Dick” Obenshain who was killed in a plane crash while running for the U.S. Senate seat ultimately won my John Warner in 1978. He has a legacy and could be a real threat as a future gubernatorial candidate- and he is very Conservative but not as Conservative as Cuccinnelli and defeated Lt Governor candidate E.W Jackson. Since both Cuccinnelli and Jackson are crazy Tea Party Conservatives, this does not mean much in comparison. The GOP had all their hope on Obenshain as even they had written off Cuccinnelli and Jackson.
One other thought. E.W. Jackson was not only crazy, he was Black. Ralph Northam beat him by 10 points in the Lt Governor’s race, by far the largest spread of the night. To me, this proves the Tea Party will support any right-wing lunatic- as long as he is white….
Yep, Cuccinelli seems determined to go down in flames….
This is not only politically wrong, it’s politically stupid, not to mention insensitive, to brag about the NRA giving him an “A” rating and being against background checks at a place like this….
Burn, baby, burn….
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) boasted at Virginia Tech, site of the 2007 shootings that killed 32 people, that he opposed universal background checks and was proud of his “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. Terry McAuliffe, his Democratic opponent for Governor, vowed to support efforts to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and vowed to prioritize the safety of students over the group’s ratings.
In the final debate of the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign Thursday, both candidates were asked whether they supported universal background checks for gun purchases — a concept supported by 92 percent of Virginians according to a January poll. McAuliffe told the Blacksburg, Virginia audience that, “as a parent [and] a spouse,” as a gun owner, and as a hunter, he supported both the Second Amendment and universal background checks. Noting the pin he was wearing in memory of the 2007 victims, McAuliffe said, “some people should not own guns.”
Cuccinelli responded by dismissing the need for background checks, telling the questioner, “none of what you’ve asked about would have affected that tragedy” at Virginia Tech. Cuccinelli then bragged that the National Rifle Association, which has steadfastly opposed against any efforts to check the criminal backgrounds of arms purchasers:
via Cuccinelli Brags About His ‘A’ NRA Rating At Site Of Mass Shooting Where 32 People Were Killed | ThinkProgress.
Filed under Guns, Politics
Well, that didn’t take long….
See my post from earlier today about Voter ID and the return of Jesse Helms.
Yep, this is the guy…..
The GOP hates it when someone is honest about their goals and opinions. You aren’t supposed to see the “man behind the curtain.”
And tell me again all this modern Tea Party nonsense isn’t just repackaged racism with these folks mad as hell a Black man is in the White House.
Like I said, we aren’t supposed to see behind the curtain..
From TalkingPointsMemo.com via WRAL:
A Republican precinct chairman in North Carolina was asked to resign Thursday after making racially inflammatory comments during a ‘Daily Show’ interview on Wednesday, WRAL reported.
Buncombe GOP Chair Henry Mitchell said Don Yelton resigned for making remarks that were “offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party.”
In an interview centered on North Carolina’s voter ID law conducted by the Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi, Yelton criticized “lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything.”
“The bottom line is the law is not racist,” Yelton said.
“Of course the law isn’t racist, and you’re not racist,” Mandvi responded.
“Well,” Yelton paused. “I’ve been called a bigot before. Let me tell you something, you don’t look like me but I think I’ve treated you the same as anybody else. As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is black. One of my best friends.”
“When I was a young man you didn’t call a black a black,” he added later. “You called him a negro.”
via NC GOPer Resigns After Criticizing ‘Lazy Black People’ (VIDEO).