By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Oh, Alabama Democrats.
I have watched from afar over the past several years as your beloved party – the party that controlled Alabama for more than 100 years – deteriorated into a murky concoction of incompetence and incoherence.
The result is a second party in the state that is utterly inconsequential today.
It’s a sad sight, particularly as we watch the infighting and bickering that has taken hold of the party, and as the entrenched leadership at the top refuses to budge or change.
A few days ago, the party’s most recognizable face, Rep. Craig Ford, called for the Alabama Dems’ top leadership to step aside. Ford wasn’t the first, just the most prominent.
In the days since, others have joined Ford. No one of any importance has stood to defend the leadership of Nancy Worley and Joe Reed.
Because this State has a serious problem, and we have to change.
Dear Lord, if we allow the Republicans to continue on unchallenged, electing Neanderthals like Shadrack McGill, egomaniacs like Mike Hubbard and awful humans like Larry Stutts, this State doesn’t stand a chance.
The only way to get fewer fact-challenged, Bible-thumping crooks is to provide a reasonable, attractive, well-funded alternative.
So, let me help you, Democratic Party.
First things first, Craig is right, you need new leadership.
Reed was great in his time, and Worley is certainly an intelligent and capable politician. But they are leaders for the 1990s, not 2016.
They’re failing miserably at relating and reaching today’s young voters, and they’ve done an especially poor job of conveying the party’s message in a relatable, meaningful way to the masses.
This is a time of utter dysfunction within the Alabama Republican Party, and yet, somehow, the Dems have made no gains. That’s to say nothing of national issues within the GOP, along with growing rates of minority and female voters.
This, after President Obama’s successful eight years, which erased many of the catastrophic failures of the George W. Bush years.
Yet, most of Alabama, despite living in the poorest, brokest, sickest and dumbest State in the nation — a state controlled by conservatives who keep going to jail — believe the GOP message.
That has to change, and it can only change by attracting young, diverse leaders who pull in young, diverse voters and business owners. And diversity has to mean more than just black.
Seriously, where are the Hispanic candidates in this State?
How is it possible that Alabama’s Hispanic population can be so large (over 4 percent), yet we lag behind so many states in electing Hispanic candidates?
There are similar issues with women, particularly white, affluent women.
Let me share a secret with you: A number of white women think their conservative Christian husbands are living in the dark ages.
I know this because I receive their letters.
Lots and lots of letters.
They’re sick of the second-class treatment, the second-class pay and having a bunch of old white dudes make their medical decisions.
Even if they’d never openly campaign for or donate to a Democratic candidate, you put a relatable white woman on a ballot, you’ll get their votes. Even if they’re made in secret.
But to attract any of these people, you have to fix the message. Because the one you have now stinks.
How is it possible, in the heart of the fight for voting rights, that minority voter participation could be so absurdly low?
I’ll tell you: Because someone has done an awful job of convincing minority voters that they should vote, that they can make a difference and that voting can change their lives.
And it’s so easy to do all of that. There are readymade examples just begging for a spotlight.
Take Ferguson, Mo. After the riots and the Department of Justice investigation, minority voter participation tripled. And suddenly, the town council has two more minority members and is evenly split.
That means issues important to minority voters in Ferguson have now become priorities to the elected leaders of Ferguson – almost overnight.
Police will have better oversight. Social programs that eliminate poverty are more likely. Minority businesses are more likely to get government contracts.
That’s a message that resonates.
And in today’s connected world, there are more ways than ever to reach voters and share it. But you can’t do it with a letter and a Facebook post.
And you can’t do it with the usual hokey, cringe-inducing, easy-to-ignore ploys. It has to be real, relatable and easy to convey.
Honestly, it’s not that hard.
Convincing people to vote for their self-interests isn’t as difficult as you’ve made it. Especially if the candidates doing the convincing look and think and live where your target voters do.
So, get it done.
Because as cash-loving conservatives have told us for so long: competition breeds excellence.
And Alabama could use some excellence.