I’m sure by now all of you have seen or read Rep. Alan Powell’s comments about the Democratic Party in Politico. In case you haven’t, here’s his take on our state party:

“Democrats have now become the party of the [Atlanta] metro area and of blacks. That’s not to be derogatory. It’s just what it is.”

Of course there were more–delicate, shall we say–ways of putting that, but Powell’s never really been known for mincing words. I do think however, he’s correct. Looking at Mel’s post here, it’s obvious he’s on to something. Moreover, it seems every year we hear the stats that the DPG Primary is overwhelmingly African-American. And looking at the counties Roy carried, if they didn’t have a major city or a significant AA population (meaning at least 40% of the county), we didn’t win.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do for elections or what it all means. Just saying when it comes to the future of the DPG, it is obvious we’ll have to do something entirely different than what we’ve done in the past.


28 Responses to Alan Powell’s Comments

  1. Dave Bearse says:

    They might be more respect for party changers if they did so before an election, not within a month afterwards.

  2. Matt says:

    And the Republicans in Georgia are the party of conservative whites and rural areas, both of which are seeing their political power slip away with every election. Their ship may be farther out, but it’s taking on water. It looks like we’re solidifiying Augusta, Macon, and Columbus to add to our strongholds in Atlanta, Athens, and Albany. Savannah looks like it’s doing the same, but not to the same extent. We took DeKalb in the 80s, Clayton in the 90s, and both are continuing to get more Democratic. Rockdale looks like it’s finally realigned. Douglas and Newton aren’t too far behind. Henry is a bit farther back, but it’s moving in our direction. Cobb and Gwinnett will flip eventually. Sandy Springs gave over 40% of its vote to Obama. SANDY SPRINGS!

    Georgia is Virginia all over again. Metro Atlanta plus the regional population centers will pull it into the blue column eventually.

    • Delicate Flower says:

      A lot of this is frankly, pure delusion. We went from capturing 38% of the vote with the second ranking elected official in Georgia to 40% with a former governor running for an open seat against an underfunded corrupt congressman in an anti-congressman year. Look at the rest of our downballot races and you’ll see $8 million gets you NOTHING as a Democrat in the state of Georgia.

      I’m not trying to be defeatist just saying a more honest reflection of where we are is needed.

      And you were saying earlier in the year national Democrats could increase their strength in the senate–just throwing it out there for some context with your prognosticating.

      • Matt says:

        Where is the delusion in that? Where is my assessment of Georgia’s political geography wrong?

        As for Barnes, you’re three points off with his total. He got 43%. Second, this was not an anti-Congressman year. It was an anti-Democratic year. No Republican seats flipped in the Senate. No Republican incumbent Governor lost. Sixty-six Democratic seats flipped in the House compared to three Republican seats (two of which had become Republican-held due to fluky elections). If this had been an anti-Congressman year, there are plenty of Republicans (like David Vitter) who would have lost, but they didn’t. In a more neutral year, Barnes would probably have won.

        And as for my Senate commentary, yes, Democrats did have a chance to actually expand their majorities earlier in this cycle. That obviously didn’t happen, but the micro-level factors were there (they were just washed out by the macro-level factors).

        • Delicate Flower says:

          Its hard to say that the conservative white males power is slipping when in fact they are only increasing their power in Georgia and hold every statewide office, and all but one leadership position in the legislature.

          • Matt says:

            Demographic trends do not favor either group (conservative whites or rural areas). For the former, demographic shifts continue to bring more minorities residents into the state, not to mention more gays, more liberals, higher educated voters, etc. And population growth means that a higher proportion of the electorate is from the cities and suburbs, a trend that has been in play for decades.

            Again, their ship may be farther out, but it’s taking on water.

            • BEZERKO says:

              It can’t happen fast enough.

              • Matt says:

                So, let’s quicken in. It looks like the Obama election sped up the realignment process in Douglas, Henry, Rockdale, and Henry. Those were double-digit swings. While Barnes did fall off some in those counties, they didn’t fall back down to anything near to where they were before 2008. Some goes for Macon, Columbus, and Augusta, all of which were very close in 2000 and 2004 before Obama broke them open. None of them receded very much in 2010.

                • Chris says:

                  One issue – this isn’t really realignment, it’s population trends. Those counties are getting less white. Outside of DeKalb, central Fulton, and maybe Clarke, we are not getting many white votes anywhere.

                  • Delicate Flower says:

                    Don’t forget McIntosh and Clinch counties! Both overwhelmingly white and we carried them this year!

            • BEZERKO says:

              Hey Matt, two things give me hope, call me crazy. Barnes got 43% in an off year election in a year in which the Republicans had a very effective strategy. I wanted to call it brilliant, but it was as evil as it was smart. Democrats always have a hard time in off year elections especially in Ga. Also, Jim Martin got 42% in a runoff two years ago and Democrats always do poorly in runoffs in Ga. It’s nowhere near where we need to be, I know, but as far as 2006 to 2010 goes, the state is trending Democrat isn’t it? I think a good strategy for 2012 will be similar to 2008 and 2010 focusing on voter registration but also on young voters who’s neural synapses aren’t hardwired yet.

  3. JMPrince says:

    OK the short Graphic content of that comment above appears here:

    For more on Post Civil War Reconstruction History in about a page or less that’s here also:

  4. JMPrince says:

    FWIW? This? “…it is obvious we’ll have to do something entirely different than what we’ve done in the past”. Is as fine as it goes & a clear acknowledgment that something’s got to change. But historically? We’ve been down this road before. We’ve literally done it all already. I know, & anyone over 50 likely knows some ‘moss back’ nearly unreconstructed, old style ‘yeller dog’ Dems. The kinds of white Dems that still like Obama despite the yes, Confederate regalia they keep proudly displayed in the garage. Good folks. The kind that were named proudly after ‘Gene’ Talmadge and are still Dems, despite not being quite sure what to think of Obama. There’s quite a few of them left.

    But the entire dynamic has been upended. From the withdrawal of Federal Troops overseeing Reconstruction in 1876 under U.S. Grant, this place was Dem run for a reason. Well Many reasons. But one certainly was the control of the vote in the yes racist ‘White’s only’ primary. That changed slowly with some proper & just USSC rulings & yes even the help of Jimmy Carter & many, many others (Black & White) who helped to reform the system during & after the Civil Rights Era. Bottom line? I’d still rather be losing for the right reasons defending the causes I think just than trying to ape what we might imagine as popular this year or that. If the voters want mean old Rethugs? They’ll vote for them. We’re not likely to compete well on that score. We’ll be Democrats still. JMP

  5. Trevor Southerland says:

    I have a simple rule… if I ever have to say the words…

    “I don’t hate Jewish people but…”


    “I have black friends and all but…”


    “I grew up around crackers and rednecks but…”


    “I’m not saying women should shut up and get back in the kitchen…”


    “I’m not a racist but…”


    “That’s not to be derogatory. It’s just what it is…”

    I need to stop talking immediately, because what I’m about say is derogatory, or racist, or sexist or whatever… because if I have to justify it then I’m admitting it’s wrong to say.

    • Delicate Flower says:

      But wait, look at the evidence. You can’t say that our party in Georgia at least, is no longer a party that doesn’t rest solely on metro and African American areas. You just. Simply. Cannot.

      Anything is being so completely disingenuous to the point where it makes me think you’re trying to just score points over one person no longer in the party.

      Look it isn’t a bad thing FFS. Look at PA. Dems win statewide offices carrying only 6 counties. Get the urban/suburban areas out to vote, make sure they vote for you, then win. Who cares if we’re just a party of urban folks and minorities? Do you want to win or have “style points” while sitting on the sidelines?

      • Trevor Southerland says:

        I’m not debating his point, I’m merely saying that he felt necessary to justify himself.

        He also forgot youth, LGBT, Latino, a few straight white guys from Catoosa County, etc, etc, etc… that makes up our party.

        Our party appeals to every person in Georgia, if some of them choose to vote for the other guy, that’s fine. We will continue to be the party that puts the good of the people first.

        If you’ve ever seen my wardrobe, you know I’m not one to care for style points.

        • Delicate Flower says:

          I think you’re completely missing the point about the Metro voters… At any rate, if we’re relying on LGBT, Latino, and a few straight folks in Catoosa to help, we’re fucked.

          And that still isn’t why Powell left the party. He’s made it clear in fact. And it had nothing to do with race.

      • Gunner says:

        You can’t win with just the metro areas of Georgia.

        • Jason says:

          No, you can’t…but what choice do we have except to try to follow the PA model? The demographics are in our favor. If Latinos ever vote in serious numbers, they’ll be Democrats, especially in GA where the GOP treats them like crap. Rural white folks will never vote Democrat if they see us as a bunch of pansy ass city folk and
          “negroes”. And according to the party switchers this month, that’s exactly how we ARE seen.

        • Delicate Flower says:

          we aren’t winning now so whats the difference

  6. Jason says:

    How can you get data to the contrary when people will lie when asked about race? All this talk of “government control” comes from the days of Reconstruction and afterward when the only way heal the country after the Civil War was to turn a blind eye to the South implementing Jim Crow?

    And what does “Party of Atlanta” mean, EXACTLY? What is that code for? I don’t think it’s just a black/white thing, but I’m also pretty sure it includes “uppity” women with careers who demand equal pay for equal work, and gay folks who demand to be treated no differently than a similarly situated straight person. Or people who speak with any kind of accent.

    In another post, we talked about needing to attack the suburbs, especially women. I think that’s right. I don’t know how we get rural Georgia back, or if we ever can.

  7. Delicate Flower says:


    FWIW the only two counties that Roy carried without a major metropolitan area or at least 40% AA population were Clinch and McIntosh Counties. No idea whats up with that. Combined population is 18K.

  8. Daniel F. says:

    The veiled racist remnant comments from a turncoat just arent what inspire me to such conversations. Although it does lead me to wonder why so many democrats I know seem to get off on giving that chickensh*t an echo chamber.

    • Mel says:

      If we assume (even for the sake of discussion), that every white voter and legislator who turns away from us is racist, then our cause is lost for a generation or more. I won’t accept that until someone presents data to the contrary.

      • Daniel F. says:

        Fair enough. Although its not what I said. Alan Powell wasn’t trying to defend his actions because he felt sad at the fact that white people left the party. Alan Powell is public elected leadership who was the white person to leave the party and then *happenstance* mention that the party was majority AA now.

        That crackerass is racist. Sorry, I don’t carry the same respect and professionalism for lukewarm bullshit.

        • Mel says:

          I see. Well, I don’t know Alan Powell but you make a good point. All I know is if my white, rural, country music listening, Wal*Mart shopping, Mississippi cousins can vote (and campaign) for Barack Obama, then we are not lost. We are just in the weeds.

        • Stefan says:

          Dude, Powell is awesome. His leaving was politically necessary. We lost him, he didn’t leave us, and he would still be a Dem if we were getting any non-Metro white folk voters, otherwise known as his entire county.