The Georgia GOP dominates, but a word of caution

“Shellacking,” the word President Barack Obama applied to his party’s losses Tuesday, doesn’t begin to describe the election for Georgia Democrats.

After all, it implies there’s still something left to beat.

You’ve heard about the Republicans’ clean sweep of statewide offices. You might not know that the highest vote total for any Democrat (Ken Hodges in the attorney general’s race) was the party’s lowest since 1998, when the state had 1.9 million fewer voters.

Think about that: It’s as if every new voter in Georgia over the past 12 years decided to vote Republican.

It gets worse. Of the General Assembly’s 79 contested races — and let’s stipulate that that number is way too small — Democrats won just 19. That’s one out of every four. In all races above the county level, from Congress to the state’s executive and legislative branches, Democrats unseated exactly one Republican (state Rep. Jill Chambers of DeKalb County).

Twenty years ago, Democrats in Georgia were so dominant that five of their statewide candidates — those for U.S. Senate (Sam Nunn), secretary of state (Max Cleland), attorney general (Mike Bowers), school superintendent (Werner Rogers) and labor commissioner (Joe Tanner) — ran unopposed in the general election.

Now that Democrats have emptied their bench in this election, only to get shut out, one can imagine some GOP incumbents running without Democratic opposition in 2014.

No Democratic congressman could come home and reasonably expect to win statewide, as Nathan Deal just did despite being one of the delegation’s lesser-known members beforehand. It’s hard to believe that candidates such as Thurbert Baker or Michael Thurmond, both of whom gave up long-safe positions this year and lost runs for higher offices, would fare any better in a comeback than Roy Barnes did.

Kasim Reed may be the party’s best bet for the governor’s race in the near future. But even he is most likely not a contender for eight more years; to run in 2014, Reed would either have to forgo a 2013 bid for a second term as Atlanta’s mayor, or face the unappealing prospect of beginning a gubernatorial campaign immediately after winning re-election.

The party will face a temptation to push promising younger prospects to run for higher office before they’re ready.

If you work for the Georgia GOP, all of this is a good thing. For the rest of us, not so much.

It’s true that on policy matters I agree with Republicans much more often than with Democrats. But prolonged dominance by any single party is bound to end badly.

Representative democracies are designed to foster competition between clearly different philosophies. We’re not going to have that in Georgia for the near future — though it will be interesting to see if the Libertarians can take advantage of the Democrats’ downswing.

But one party’s dominance can also be ideologically corrupting to that party itself. Competition brings discipline.

What will become of Georgia Republicans when they will feel little credible pressure from their left? When the GOP dominated Washington from 2000 to 2006, we saw a center-right party fall for the siren call of government power and largely abandon its core principles.

Georgians can’t afford for an unchallenged GOP to let a broad array of members — yes, I mean RINOs — dilute and twist what conservatism means.

Whether you care about the state or mostly just the party, be vigilant.

116 comments Add your comment

atl operator

November 5th, 2010
7:06 pm

Kasim Reed for Governor? There is no possible way he’d ever win, and not because he’s African American or even that he’s mayor of the city the rest of the state loves to hate. He’s not a guy who needs his activities scrutinized in a race for Governor (and I say that as someone who knows what he and others around him are up to).

Drifter

November 5th, 2010
7:08 pm

Republicans are not conservatives, not fiscally anyway. In the past I’ve voted Republican, but not this year and not in the near future either. I’d rather “waste” my vote on Libertarians than vote for liars and frauds.

CJ

November 5th, 2010
7:09 pm

Republicans have lived in the Governor’s mansion and controlled both houses of the General Assembly for the last eight years. Under their leadership, Georgia has witnessed large-scale corruption, and enjoyed increasing health insurance premiums, high school drop-out rates, college tuition, congestion, poverty rates, pollution, and unemployment rates. On the other hand, they’ve made little or no progress improving our education system and no progress whatsoever toward resolving our water woes (but if push comes to shove, we’ll go to war with Tennessee to solve the problem).

In short, Georgians rewarded Republicans for failure. Clearly, the standards we apply to our selected officials at the state level are low.

Don't Forget

November 5th, 2010
7:14 pm

Ah, party purity. Fascism anyone?

F. Sinkwich

November 5th, 2010
7:16 pm

“Kasim Reed may be the party’s best bet for the governor’s race in the near future. ”

Says a lot about the Dems, doesn’t it?

Pathetic.

granny godzilla

November 5th, 2010
7:20 pm

we must elect more democrats or else i may have to find a job

DawgDad

November 5th, 2010
8:12 pm

Kyle, take comfort in knowing the level of sanity of a blog article is inversely proportionate to the number of posts. It’s much easier to fire away at Cynthia and Jay.

Just keep in mind most of the Southern Democrats are now Republicans. Not all Republicans are conservatives. Primaries and the leadup to them is where people need to focus their attention. If you’re a conservative help keep the Tea Party alive in your area; force the politicians to respect the power of the people.

You want to know why people are voting Republican? Look at your local government and school system, and compare your local politicians and school board to, say, Atlanta, DeKalb, Clayton, etc. Not much analysis required before heading off to the voting booth.

Rafe Hollister

November 5th, 2010
8:20 pm

I am sorry Kyle, I just don’t see the Dems coming back anytime soon. For years, George Busbee, JF Harris, Zell Miller, even Bubba Barnes constantly fought off comparisions to national Democrats. When a Ted Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, or Walter Mondale arrived in Georgia, these governors ran for the tall grass. Every election they ran ads much like Joe Manchin ran in WVA, saying I am not like them I am a
“Georgia Democrat”.

The people in the state are right of center, except the urban crowd, and they finally wised up to the fact that a “Georgia Democrat” was not going to be fully excepted by either party. The majority of the voters realized that they were consistantly voting for Republicans in the national elections and it was inconsistant to keep trying to pretend they were “Georgia Democrats”. Most od the conservative politicans have moved to the Rep party, so the liberal politicans are left with the few voters who consider themselves liberals (about 30%) and a few idiots who still believe that since their Daddy was a Democrat, they ought to stay a Democrat.

Rafe Hollister

November 5th, 2010
8:22 pm

accepted vice excepted

j

November 5th, 2010
8:51 pm

who cares it’s jawjah. how many people travel to the u.s, simply to visit anywhere outside of 285. :)

dixiedemons

November 5th, 2010
9:16 pm

Georgia is already a breeding ground for the worst our nation has to offer. When Nathan Deal gets finished raping the state you will see a history lesson unfold right before your eyes. Atlanta runs out of water, the state runs out of resources, taxes cut until the revenue stream is gone, schools closed and inmates turned loose due to budget cuts , state services cease to exist, high paying jobs disappear like a fart in the wind..The lone bright spot is everyone will own their own business !!!!!

Claude

November 5th, 2010
11:00 pm

The Democrats ruled Georgia from the departure of federal troops after the Civil War all the way through 2002. A little payback is nice.

OedipusTax

November 5th, 2010
11:38 pm

Claude, you beat me to the punchline. As long as most Democrats in this state think Obama is good for the country and the future of our children, they deserve to have NO statewide offices anywhere in this state, nor anywhere on the planet. Nobody, nowhere, needs to be sympathetic with Obamaniacs, since their delusions are nothing short of dementia and psychosis, as embodied by Cynthia Tucker. We’ve had to learn the hardway that we never knew how to spell Obamanation until 2009. Obama’s plastic platitudes are pathetic and putrid. No wonder he’s planned to be on the other side of the world after this election, which repudiated his paranoia and egomania. God bless America, and may she survive the worst President in the history of the country by any standards of common sense.

Americo

November 6th, 2010
12:04 am

It doesn’t surprise me to see that the GOP had such a great success in GA. I just wish that voters would cast their ballots using their head, rather that their hearts. I just think that despite what your party affiliation is, one should vote for whom the best candidate is for the job. We ought to love our country or state more than we hate opposing parties.

Landon's granddaddy

November 6th, 2010
12:14 am

The demorats are the party that elected one ‘wool hat’ peckerwood, Tom Murphy, to be speaker of the GA house of representatives for 25 years. Hopefully the repubs have a little more class and common sense than that.

WOW

November 6th, 2010
12:16 am

Rafe, I believe Kyle was saying the exact same thing as you are.

Fins and Chins

November 6th, 2010
12:24 am

Congratulations to Gov. Elect Turd Sammich; condolences to former Gov. Douche Bag. Or, is that the other way around?

Fins and Chins

November 6th, 2010
12:28 am

“General Assembly for the last eight years. Under their leadership, Georgia has witnessed large-scale corruption” As opposed to the previous 130-odd years under Democrat mis-leadership?

@ Landon's grandaddy

November 6th, 2010
12:28 am

You mean like Glenn Richardson?

Stewart

November 6th, 2010
1:00 am

Kyle, the current Republicans holding statewide office are basically the same types of politicians as the Democrats of yesteryear, they’ve merely changed their party affiliation as a result of the 1960s and the resultant Southern Strategy. One unfortunate product of our state’s history is that we value ideology over our own interests at times. We limit our options as far as politicians go.

The flip side of that is that national Democrats could find a way to speak to Southerners. They unnecessarily cede a lot of rhetorical ground to Republicans that hampers their ability to make arguments that resonate with Southerners. It’s an uphill battle for them though, so I think they end up focusing elsewhere and hoping for the odd ‘92 GA/Ark, ‘08 NC/VA. In time it will change, particularly if the South continues to grow in population and wealth. However, the Democrats could stop waiting for demographics to favor them and do some simple things to intercede. I’m not sure if they have the people or the inclination to do that.

barking frog

November 6th, 2010
2:34 am

Georgia is a one party state no matter what they
call the party.

hop

November 6th, 2010
4:16 am

the dems have moved from liberal to socialism and states like new york and california are about to go into bankruptcy.

the unions have pressured many large states, primary run by democrats to commit to large pensions for municipal employees that are causing huge deficits.

that is not the case in georgia where our state is paying their bills without run away spending . that is due to the repubicans making very hard to decisions to balance the budget,something the federal government is not willing to do.
even europe is cutting government spending but america is not,maybe with the recent change in congress spending will be cut and america will come to it’s reality and get back to basic control spending.

Reggie

November 6th, 2010
5:19 am

Wow,

You cannot be surprised that Ga is a RED state. Look up the southern strategy started by Nixon. The wealthy republicans get richer while the “southerners” carry their water and vote against their own self interest.

arnold

November 6th, 2010
5:49 am

barking frog

November 6th, 2010
2:34 am

“Georgia is a one party state no matter what they
call the party.” I have been stating that concept for many moons. It’s the same voters, just a different party name.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 6th, 2010
6:39 am

Sounds like the local Georgia ACORN subsidiary has it’s work cut out for it.

Rick

November 6th, 2010
6:43 am

As long as the Republicans make progress to deny jobs to illegal aliens and remove them and their children from Georgia they will get my vote. I do not want to be subsidizing foreign nationals illegally in this country with my tax dollars!

Fascism is a left wing philosophy

November 6th, 2010
7:14 am

Drifter,
You have studied middle school history and realize that for 125+ years after the Civil War Georgia already had “fascism” as you define it (a Republican was as popular in this state as a Communist). That worked real well for the blacks in the state, right?
Study fascist states before you misuse the word. You’ll be surprised to find they are left, not right.

Joanne Todd

November 6th, 2010
7:35 am

What we will end up with is friends taking care of friends. No one does this better than Republicans. I have worked for and voted Republican or Libertarian for 35 years. We talk better than we perform – I did not vote for Nathan Deal – I voted for Monds – this had to do with trust – Deal lost me when he either covered up the details of his finances and blamed it on “a father helping a daughter” – whatever happened to people saying – I overextended myself and I am to blame.

Jack

November 6th, 2010
7:40 am

Enter your comments here

marko

November 6th, 2010
7:45 am

Georgia was once the land of the yellow dog Democrat. Times have changed so today we’re the home of the yellow
dog Republican. Funny thing though, if they didn’t tell you their party affiliation you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
One things for sure though no matter what these noble public servants chose to call themselves you won’t be able to
buy beer on Sunday. I was wondering if hop knows that for every tax dollar California and New York pay, the federal
government , they receive less than 80 cents in return. The difference funds food stamps in Mississippi which gets
about two dollars back for every dollar paid. If Californian’s weren’t required to pay for bridges to nowhere in Alaska,
Which gets about a buck sixty for every dollar it pays in, the Golden State would be able to fund their evil immoral
programs with change to spare. If we lived in a logical universe, the states that paid the most taxes would resent
the government the most, and the states that received more than they paid would be grateful. A wise man once said
be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it.

Will

November 6th, 2010
7:48 am

Kyle:

Help me understand something.

Casey Cagle was re-elected Lt. Governor by the people by a comfortable margin. It does not appear that voters knew that his responsibilities at Lt. Gov would be any different during the campaign. I don’t recall any referendum on the ballot redefining the role and responsibilities of the office of Lt. Governor.

Now comes along Chip Rogers, who was re-elected by a very small slice of Georgia voters. Chip and other republicans have decided to change the role and responsibilites of the position of Lt. Gov of Georgia.

How can they do that? Cagle was re-elected as Lt. Gov of Georgia, not Lt. Gov of the republican party. How can republicans alone redefine his role? I know that democrats are a distinct minority party in Georgia, but don’t democrats have any say in defining the role and responsiblities of constitutional office holders in Georgia? How about citzens in general?

If Chip Rogers wants the role redefined, fine. But how can Chip and a small number of republican politicians do this?

Lil' Barry Bailout

November 6th, 2010
7:55 am

Don’t Forget

Ah, party purity. Fascism anyone?
——————————

If you’re talking about Washington D.C. during the last two years, we sure as hell took care of that, didn’t we?

Dunwoody Taxpayer

November 6th, 2010
8:00 am

The Democratic Party defeated their RINO friend in the General Assembly.

Democrats will have no one to help them now when all of us in Dunwoody leave Dekalb for new Milton County.

Thank You South Dekalb Democratic Politicians – you made our job easier up here in Dunwoody when you got rid of that bitch Jill Chambers.

Tired of BS

November 6th, 2010
8:34 am

Fact. There are many Progressive Republicans in politics right now. They are social liberals in the same way that liberal progressives are. True fiscal conservatives who are not mired down in social issues, are going to be the new face of the Republican Party.

Buzz G

November 6th, 2010
8:58 am

In order to capture the black and Latino vote, Democrats have spit in the faces of whites. Now the only white people who vote Democratic are union thugs and some 18 year olds who have not figured out what’s going on yet. It’s like Ronald Reagan said, “I didn’t abandon the Democratic party, they abandoned me.”

LK

November 6th, 2010
9:05 am

of course what you didn’t mention is the fact that Democrats did not come out in force to vote. I stood in line for 2 and i/2 hours in the freezing cold to vote for Obama and would do it again tomorrow. He cannot do this by himself and he needs our support. He is our hope. I can remember the hopeless feeling with Bush and Cheney. Please support this President. Be you Democrat or Republican the time for fighting is over. The world is watching!!!!

AmVet

November 6th, 2010
9:13 am

Representative democracies…

OMG! Such heresy!

Just kidding, but tell that to several of the lamebrains here who couldn’t pass a 9th grade civics class and who scream that the United States is NOT a democracy!

If you work for the Georgia GOP, all of this is a good thing. For the rest of us, not so much.

Amen, Kyle. We are well and royally screwed…

interested observer

November 6th, 2010
9:16 am

As a Democrat, I have to agree. Power corrupts, regardless of who holds it. But while the Democratic party may become irrelevant, the Republican Party is the home of many former Democrats who switched not because of a change of philosophy, but because either they felt their party had drifted too far left or they realized they had no hope of being elected as Democrats. The competing ideas of the future will come from within factions of the Republican Party.

It is interesting to note that politicians are just as ugly and just as prone to taint the truth (hell, lie outright) when competing in the primaries against fellow party members as they are in the general election against the other parties.

On the other hand, how many times have we seen one party in total domination, only to screw things up so royally as to bring the other back? If everyone in office is from the same political party and things aren’t going well, it’s easy to paint the party as the problem. What goes around comes around.

MiltonMan

November 6th, 2010
9:27 am

Demorats in this state do not have a clown worth nominating for state office. Their latest laughter was the proven loser Roy Barnes who can back back to being the slime ball lawyer that he is.

MiltonMan

November 6th, 2010
9:30 am

If the “rest of us” do not like living in Georgia get the hell out.

AmVet I bet they would love to have you back in Nebraska.

You democrats in GA have no one to blame but yourself. Putting your hope in Roy Barnes is comparable to my buying a lottery ticket & expecting to win. Just like your hero Obozo said: you democrats in GA can get in the back of the bus. Enjoy the ride!

MiltonMan

November 6th, 2010
9:32 am

LK – in true melt down mode and a clown to admit for Obozo. Typical democrat minion.

Support our president??? Kind of like you democrat morons supported Bush?

AmVet

November 6th, 2010
9:35 am

MiltonMan, you are welcome to try and make me, big talker.

We old cowboys have a saying that describes you to a T – All hat and no cattle.

Or you could just grow up some, I suppose…

MiltonMan

November 6th, 2010
9:42 am

AmVet, you have already made yourself & we are not impressed. An old Cowboy living in Metro Atlanta???

We normal folks have a saying that describes you – loser has been.

Jimma

November 6th, 2010
9:45 am

Prolonged dominance by the democrats has brought CA, NY, and IL to the brink of disaster, yet the voters continue to vote the incompetents back into office for more of the same. Speaks volumes about these enlightened voters. GA is looking better unless you’re a malcontent who can’t accept reality.

jconservative

November 6th, 2010
9:53 am

I am a small government conservative.

My experience with Georgia Republicans are that they claim to be small government but are, in fact, big government supporters. The first session of a Republican controlled Georgia legislature was the most Big Government session of the state legislature in my 69 year lifetime.

I have often wondered what happens to people who spend a lifetime saying they believe a certain political philosophy and then gain power and do a complete flip-flop. “It’s a puzzlement.” The Republican controlled Congress of 2001 – 2006 is the perfect example.

retired early

November 6th, 2010
10:00 am

The irony is that the Democrats in this state are really no different from the Republicans. Congressman John Barrow, for example. Do you remember his campaign ads. He proudly states that he voted against TARP, Healthcare and the bank bailout. So what good is he to the Democratic Party. These Red State Dems once again hold back the True Democratic agenda. We could have had the Public Option in the Healthcare bill creating some genuine competition instead of this Health insurance industry friendly version if he had been true to his electorate . Even John Boehner voted for the bank bailout. Don’t believe it?
Google his speech “Put Nation First”.
I think it’s apathy on the part of the Democratic voters. Why bother to vote.

Puddleglum

November 6th, 2010
10:02 am

If Thomas Jefferson were alive to observe this election, he might have changed his statement to say: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of INCUMBENTS.” Nationally and locally, the turnover of incumbents has been an important sub-theme to this election.

Nationally and locally, government has become a self-reproducing, ever-expanding force that has simply taken up too much of the country’s available resources. Long-serving politicians and nest-feathering public employees do not appear to understand that, for the health of the nation, government must shrink in both absolute terms and proportionately.

The winners on Tuesday are the product of our third attempt in as many elections to change the political behavior. This new crowd happens to be Republican, probably because Republicans have an ideological advantage over Democrats who embrace the idea of more and more government. If you think about it, Georgia politicians have not changed their politics so much as they changed party affiliations to better match their own views. So one-party domination on Tuesday did not make the individual politicians any less vulnerable to voters who will continue to “throw the bums out” until we achieve a proper balance of power between the government and the governed.

We can only hope that the winners get that message and conduct themselves accordingly.

Dunwoody Taxpayer

November 6th, 2010
10:02 am

Jan Jones agreed that creating Milton County will be easier now with out Jill Chambers in the house.

retired early

November 6th, 2010
10:04 am

Jimma

Are you referring to the Bush years.

JDW

November 6th, 2010
10:16 am

Given that the Republicans have been “in charge” for six years, the question you should be asking is are we better off now than we were six years ago. I can’t think of any measure, short of not having to fear government implantation of microchips, that is better now than it was six years ago…can you?