The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: To Live and Die in Dixie

Posted on: July 31, 2014

Good Thursday, Widdershins.  Roughly fifty years ago, President Johnson estimated that the Democrats would lose the South for a generation. President Johnson was an optimist.  We are well into the second generation of Republican dominance in Dear Ol’ Dixie. But perhaps – just perhaps – there is a tiny streak of blue appearing on the horizon.

Of course I am speaking of my home state, Georgia.  At a recent convention, I spoke with some Georgians who were seriously mulling things over.  Yep, even considering overriding the Republican Reflex in the forthcoming midterms.  This caught my attention.  Now, we all understand that a Southern Democrat – a Dixiecrat, if you will – is not a true liberal.  I actually would stand a better chance in a Georgia primary than would Elizabeth Warren.  Maybe they never heard of me, but I am a homegirl and that would count for something. I am, however, much more liberal than either of the candidates currently running for office as Democrats, but that’s okay, as both of them are considerably more liberal than their Republican opponents, and sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

Georgia has been Ruby Red in thought process, though not always in registration and voting patterns.  The current Governor Nathan Deal is a Republican, but his predecessor (and my college classmate) Sonny Perdue shed his Democratic registration to oppose Democrat Roy Barnes, whose messed-up changes to the state flag doomed him.  In other words, we are not all that deep into the Republican Occupation of the statehouse.  Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) ousted sitting Democrat Max Cleland in one of the dirtiest campaigns ever recorded, where an ad had Cleland’s picture morphing into Osama bin Laden.  Therefore, that Senate seat is only one generation removed from a Democrat. Not that this won’t be a struggle.  Georgia is conservative and set in her ways.

However, one thing has always been true with Georgians, and that is that your family name is important.  In that arena, the current Democratic candidates are full-on winners.  Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are excellent choices for the forthcoming elections. Jason is the grandson of President Jimmy Carter.  While Carter’s presidency is largely- and in many ways unfairly – reviled, he is nevertheless the only Georgian to hold that office, and is still held in considerable esteem within the state despite his growing liberal tendencies.  He was a popular Governor during a difficult time period.  The family is well-regarded and employed any number of people in Southwest Georgia,  Jason differs in some beliefs with the former President.  Jason is approved by the NRA (A-), and believes in the death penalty for “heinous crimes”.  He also believes that the state should accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, and has openly stated his bemusement that the current administration allows Georgian’s tax dollars to support care in far-flung states while permitting needy state residents to do without.  Nevertheless, to challenge a Republican incumbent is a steep climb, even though Governor Deal has not done himself any favors.  Remember Snowpocalypse, when he attempted to shift the blame for unplowed state roads in Atlanta onto the mayor?  Jason Carter lags Deal by an average of one point in the polls.  Whether Carter is running that strong or Deal is running that poorly is unclear at this time.

Michelle is the daughter of Sam Nunn, one of Georgia’s most beloved Senators.  Sam was elected to the Senate in 1972, and retired in 1997, citing a lack of enthusiasm as a reason.  He likely would have died in office otherwise.  He was moderate to conservative in his viewpoints, and opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.  He was in favor of school prayer, capping punitive damages, and limiting death penalty appeals.  On the other hand, he supported gun control, the environment, affirmative action, and immigration.  He was consistently pro-choice.  Although he was solidly pro-military, he voted against Gulf War I, and continues to work for nuclear, chemical and biological disarmament.  Needless to say, the surname “Nunn” is a big deal in Georgia.  Michelle is up and down in the polls against David Perdue, Governor Sonny’s venture capitalist cousin, but basically sits within the margin of error,

Georgia also has experienced some demographic changes.  Many African-Americans returned to The Dirty South after civil rights and affirmative action, and Hispanic and Asian populations have grown as well,  Current statistics show that 56% of all public school students are non-white, and the Republican Party’s efforts to expand its base have been laughable at best.   While you must consider that there are a lot of white faces in private schools, the number of non-white students in such institutions rises steadily as well.  Also, business is moving into the Atlanta area, and there is reason to believe that there may be enough to see changes occurring similar to North Carolina’s Research Triangle.  We know that Obama got 1.7 million votes in Georgia, and with midterms as they are, that should be enough to turn Georgia into a seriously purple state.  As usual, turnout will be the driver.  It worked in Virginia, and it can work in Georgia as well.

This is an open thread.

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12 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: To Live and Die in Dixie"

Keeping fingers crossed for Michelle and Alison Grimes in Ky. Mary in La is just up and down in the polls depending on which poll it is. Of course I crack up when i see her referred to as “liberal Mary Landrieu”. Snort! She’s in the centrist mode and no one can really argue otherwise and be truthful.

When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

chat@2: LOL!! 😆

I absolutely agree, Chat. My uncle and aunt live in Atlanta. It is quite blue according to them. Very LGBT friendly and artistic. I just hope the Democratic machine puts enough GOTV efforts into getting these candidates elected.

They will need support from the national party to do so. The local machine may not have enough horsepower.

Oooh, I hope they win! You would think that eventually people would stop voting against their own best interests.

annie said: Oooh, I hope they win! You would think that eventually people would stop voting against their own best interests.

It’s amazing how incredibly dumb folks can be, isn’t it? 😉

Actually I believe that many Southerners have become convinced that their best interests are covered by the Repubs. Their “freedoms” will be gobbled up and taken away by the “liberals”. It’s amazing, and it’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” with a drawl.

That’s right Chat. It’s a common frame from us lefties that people who vote Republican are doing so out of stupidity or ignorance. It’s more that the Republicans know how to induce folks to vote out of fear rather than logic. I like John Dean’s “Conscience of a Conservative” for his factual and persuasive take on this topic.

In this context, the “War on Terror” takes on a different meaning. Big Daddy Bush waged war on fear for us, was the underlying message. This, plus election fraud of course, was why Bush won a second term.

It is an approach aimed at the lowest and least evolved portion of our brains. Unfortunately, it is very effective, both with intelligent and unintelligent people.

I read a fascinating article that points to an overdeveloped amygdala as the culprit. That’s the portion of the brain that deals with fear, and it appears to be larger in conservatives than in liberals. Apparently my home is an epicenter of larger than normal amygdalae.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/09/07/your-brain-on-politics-the-cognitive-neuroscience-of-liberals-and-conservatives/#.U9u_afldXJY

MB, well said: “It’s more that the Republicans know how to induce folks to vote out of fear rather than logic.”

chat, that is interesting. I bet it explains my few conservative relatives. Afraid of everything, think everyone is out to get them, paranoid.

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