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National Democrat brand avoided by Southern candidates

One needs to go beyond surface impressions to understand why southern Democrat candidates for Congress – even the ones bestowed with party leadership status and made delegates – seem reluctant to attend their own party convention.

All those named in this category are participating in competitive contests, just as are some Republican seatholders skipping the GOP version. However, a notable difference is that the latter are veteran lawmakers fighting in tossup battles, while many of the Democrats either seek to win initially or won very recent special elections. In other words, the GOP absentees clearly are identified with the GOP and will sacrifice that for more campaigning opportunities, while the Democrats planning on playing hooky have but a tenuous connection in people’s minds with that party and seem disinterested in strengthening that.

Or to put it more bluntly, Republicans are trading away reinforcement of positive identification for more campaign time, while Democrats are avoiding any identification to better mold an image at odds with what Democrats are all about. This is because the districts they are trying to win, or win again after just a few months, contain majorities that oppose the bulk of what Democrats believe.

One analyst argues that this avoidance deals with racial attitudes connected to the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama. That’s a bit too simplistic: while some voters in these districts will react negatively to Obama’s being black, many will object to him because he, the most liberal senator in that body, represents all too well everything that modern Democrats stand for – pro-abortion, gun control, higher taxes, bigger government, drill never, blame America, global tests, and withdraw now (even as he tries to move away from several of these).

Another observer notes this but wonders whether these candidates have misjudged Obama’s top-down appeal on the ticket and could later try to create a stronger link between them. That itself misjudges the real situation: any Democrat in the South who wants to win a national seat must avoid always insinuations of attachment to Obama’s liberalism and the growing sense that his flip-flops on issues (which he denies are precisely that because he is supposed to be the candidate of principled change) to obfuscate that liberalism make 2004 Democrat nominees Sen. John Kerry look stable. Until Nov. 4, almost always these candidates will avoid Obama like the plague.

You can’t ignore the Democrat playbook in the South – support God and guns, avoid and obscure almost every other issue – that produces the only way such a candidate can win. It takes no greater understanding to realize why Democrat congressional candidates will stay away from anything publicly having to do with national Democrats (out of view, they eagerly will associate with and kowtow to it) – until Nov. 5.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sir, my name is Aleq Boyle, of Chickamauga, Georgia- attending as an alternate/stand in Deligate for
Georgia at the Republican National Convention- As a southern conservative from Georgia I am in angst because for the first time in almost 5 decades no southern candidate is on a National Ticket.

Ironicly, the Democrats- We have to go back over sixty years to the last time a southerner was not on a national major party ticket 1944- I am not happy.

Aleq Boyle, Georgia