Flowers: Dems have no relevance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On the night of the November 2010 elections I was in my regular post as the political analyst for the Montgomery CBS affiliate WAKA Channel 8. Around midnight as it became evident that the Democratic ticket had been annihilated my cohort, longtime anchor Glenn Halbrooks, looked over at me pensively and asked, “What do you think the Democratic Party does now?” I candidly responded, “They can turn out the lights and leave the keys on the mantle. The Democratic Party is dead in Alabama.”

My off-the-cuff response was not intended to be flippant or humorous but I had just witnessed the devastating denunciation of the Democratic Party in the Heart of Dixie.

When it became newsworthy a few weeks ago that Joe Reed and Mark Kennedy had a spat over who was going to be in charge of the Democratic Party in Alabama, I found it comical. It is as though they thought the Democratic Party had any relevance or influence regarding Alabama politics.

Mark Kennedy, a former Democratic Supreme Court Justice and the son-in-law of George Wallace, is a relic. He is one of the last remaining white Democrats in the state.

Joe Reed has been the ringleader of the African American wing of the Democratic Party for close to 50 years. When African Americans began voting in the South in 1966, Joe Reed organized the Alabama Democratic Conference. It was the group that newly entitled blacks looked to for guidance on who to vote for in the Democratic primary.

If you won the Democratic primary in 1966 it was tantamount to election in Alabama, the same way that if you win the Republican primary for any statewide office next year it will be tantamount to election.

Joe Reed was a king maker back then when the state was Democratic. Today he is irrelevant, as is Mark Kennedy or whoever chooses to head the Alabama Democratic Party. Today the Democratic Party in Alabama is nothing more than a qualifying mechanism for the Black Belt and Montgomery and Jefferson counties.

Seventy percent of Alabamians identify themselves as conservatives. The Republican Party is the conservative party. Therefore, it is no coincidence that 70 percent of Alabamians are Republicans and 30 percent are Democrats.

Welcome to political science 101. Whites in the Deep South are Republicans. Blacks in the Deep South are Democrats. Lest you think that white Republicans are the most segregated, think again. Blacks are more solidified when it comes to partisan voting patterns. The fact is Joe Reed probably does not want any whites in his party and he pretty much has accomplished his mission.