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Analysis | Desperation grows as Joe Reed’s power within the DNC is threatened

We are entering the final days of Joe Reed’s control over the Alabama Democratic Party. 

You can tell by the desperation. 

A couple of weeks ago, Reed and party chairwoman Nancy Worley were booting media and all but a select few people from a conference call, and making wild claims in the process. This is after months of turmoil between the state party and the Democratic National Convention over the ADP’s bylaws. 

And now, ADP secretary Val Bright has written an open letter that essentially claims that Sen. Doug Jones and the DNC are racists who are trying to keep black Alabamians from voting. 

Whenever you think the ADP can’t sink lower … it always proves you wrong. 

This is the sort of ridiculous, embarrassing behavior that has turned the Alabama Democratic Party into a laughing stock on a national level. 

It is a party that is — at the very least — three decades behind the times in every way imaginable. From the decrepit communications tactics to relying on racial issues at every turn to only counting black voters as “minorities” in the party bylaws to spending absolutely zero on opposition research and information to relying on candidates to raise money for the party instead of the other way. 

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I’ve said many times that I don’t have personal issues with Reed or Worley. I agree with them on basically 90 percent of political and social issues. 

But they have, along with several others, destroyed the ADP. 

In its current state, the ADP is the best asset the Alabama Republican Party has. 

For God’s sakes, the ALGOP’s entire leadership has been indicted the last six years, the state ranks as one of the worst in the country in pretty much every category under the ALGOP leadership and the country has been steadily trending blue for the last three years. 

The ADP has done nothing with that. 

There’s no plan to take advantage of those things. There’s no plan to address current issues that the majority of voters hate, like the gas tax or the toll bridge or that awful abortion bill. There’s no plan for anything. 

Except, of course, for Reed to maintain control. 

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There’s always a plan for that. 

Which is why Bright issued her letter — a last-gasp effort to turn the DNC’s very real and very nuanced problems with the ADP into a simple race issue. Didn’t you know? The DNC and Doug Jones are secretly a bunch of racists who are trying to silence black voters. 

Doug Jones is a racist? The man who prosecuted the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers? The man who has done more for black voters than any Alabama senator in decades? 

I’m skeptical. 

And the DNC is racist? The DNC committees that have ruled against the ADP have been very diverse, and their recommendations will still allow the ADP to maintain the Alabama Democratic Caucus, which Reed heads. 

The problem the DNC has, however, is that under the current setup in ADP bylaws, the vice chairman of minority affairs has extremely significant power. Because ADP bylaws define “minority” as only blacks, and it requires that voting members of the party on the State Democratic Executive Committee be representative of the overall racial makeup of the state. 

So, every time a vote comes up, Reed gets to appoint dozens of SDEC voting members. At the last leadership elections, which saw Worley re-elected by a narrow margin, it was Reed’s 30-plus, handpicked voters that swung the vote to Worley. 

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That’s why the DNC invalidated those results and have ordered new elections (The new elections are supposed to be held on Saturday, but at this point, new ADP bylaws haven’t been adopted. It’s unlikely those elections will take place this month).

The current setup is a problem even if the ADP wasn’t the current dumpster fire it is. No one person should have such control over a party. 

So, the DNC has proposed a new setup, which would create a new diversity caucus that would include young people, LGBTQ people, Hispanics, Asians and other minority groups. That group would also be allowed to appoint voting members. 

Such a setup — which is common in other states — would provide better representation to all people in Alabama, and it would significantly weaken the power of any one person. 

Which is why there is a desperate push to convince anyone that this is terrible, that it’s white people doing racist things and that it’ll hurt the party in the long run. 

Don’t buy it. 

Reed and his cronies are apparently more willing to burn the ADP to the ground than to play by the rules and embrace the diversity and inclusiveness that the Democratic Party preaches. 

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Desperate people do desperate things.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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