Clete Wetli, former chair of the Madison County Democrats, is upset that Nancy Worley appears to have gone silent in what has probably been one of the most news-filled months that Alabama politics has seen in a really long time. In addition to same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land due to U.S. District Court Judge Ginny Granade’s ruling (and reaffirmation of that ruling after county probate judges somehow forgot about the Supremacy Clause), the Speaker of the House looks more and more like an inmate walking. The stunning incompetence of the Republican Party in Alabama is only surpassed by the incomprehensible silence of their opposition.
Why in the world would you want Nancy Worley to be out front representing the Democratic Party on anything? Ever? The above links pretty well document how abominable she has been as state party chair, and the thought of seeing her discuss marriage equality or Republican corruption (which, really, could she even talk about with any authority?) sends shivers down my spine.
Clete continues in his discussion:
Alabama Democrats should be gaining strength, but they have been stifled by a state party that fails at messaging, fundraising, and recruitment. Worley has done absolutely nothing to help Democratic candidates and seems more interested in getting a free seat to the National Convention then helping her ailing party.
In fact, she and Alabama Democratic Caucus leader, Joe Reed, have systematically and deliberately alienated Democrats across the state. Democrats should picket their offices and withhold contributions until they step down and real leaders can finally take their place.
As hilarious as it would be to watch middle-class liberals picketing the ADP offices in Montgomery (it would be the Brooks Brothers Riot all over again!), I do not understand how that would make things any better.
The Alabama Democratic Party sucks at messaging because the state party is only marginally to the left of the Republican Party in Alabama. This makes people who would be inclined to donate to Democrats elsewhere reluctant to give any money to a party that nominated two anti-choicers as their nominees for Governor and Attorney General. This conservatism oftentimes filters down to the local parties, which is why the state party likely also sucks at recruiting people to join it. And if you cannot recruit people to be involved in the local party, then the notion that you will also be unable to recruit decent candidates ain’t exactly a leap across the Grand Canyon.
I mean, we are talking about a party that does not even have a provision for a state convention in its Constitution and Bylaws! Think about that for a second. You can Google “(insert state name here) democratic party convention” and see all the state party units that have biennial or quadrennial conventions. Alaska. North Dakota. Wyoming. Mississippi. Utah. All states where the Democratic Party is in the toilet, yet they find time to have a convention to that at least gives the appearance that they have some intention of putting up a fight. The fight left the Alabama Democratic Party the day after their annihilation in the 2010 elections.
I agree with Clete: the Alabama Democratic Party needs new leadership. But we will be having this same conversation ten years from now if that leadership merely attempts to put the same crappy policies in a more palatable light. Rather, the party needs leadership that recognizes that the long arc of history bends towards justice, and that future generations will look dimly on a political organization that only managed lip service towards workers, women, college students, LGBTQ people, and Black voters. The ADP needs leadership that can sell a vision of Alabama where workers are not intimidated for seeking a voice on the job, where the mentally ill gets world-class healthcare, and where its legislature does not place state-sponsored murder and the corporatization of public education at the top of its policy agenda.
Liberals, progressives, and leftists in Alabama have until the 2018 Democratic state primaries to come together, hash out a vision, and put together a Front for Democratic Progress that will be able to win the elections for the State Democratic Executive Committee. Then they can elect a new chair, revise the party’s Constitution, and begin to give Alabamans a real choice in our democracy: continue with the party of Alabama Power, the Alabama Farmers Federation, and money power, or begin a new era with the party of the working class, human progress, and equality for all.
The people of Alabama deserve nothing less.