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Opinion | There’s only one way to save the Alabama Democratic party: Start over


Another week, another strongly worded letter from the Democratic National Committee about the Alabama Democratic Party. 

On Monday, DNC chairman Tom Perez — the big dog among Democrats — sent a letter to the chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party outlining the current situation regarding Alabama’s pathetic state party and its recent troubles following national rules. 

Perez said all of the right things. He used plenty of words to let you know that he — along with many others within the DNC hierarchy — are fed up with the ADP leadership of chairwoman Nancy Worley and vice chair for minority affairs Joe Reed. 

Perez’s letter will have the exact same result as all of the other letters and actions and rebukes: Nothing. 

That sounds like criticism, but it’s not. It’s just the simple reality. 

There’s nothing the DNC can do to Worley and Reed. Not really. 

They’ve tried pretty much everything up to this point — they’ve stripped Worley and vice-chair Randy Kelly of their credentials, they’ve invalidated election results and on Monday Perez noted that the national party has taken one other step. 

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Due to ADP’s refusal to comply with national party bylaws and its leadership’s continued stall tactics to address those issues, Perez said that since last September, the DNC had been withholding its usual $10,000 monthly payments to ADP. 

That would have been the $120,000 that Worley spoke of during her “burn in hell” tirade at the San Francisco debacle a couple of weeks ago. 

So, the DNC has done all of that to the Alabama Democratic Party’s leadership … and still they remain in leadership. Because there’s no means to remove them. 

Worley, Reed and Kelly haven’t broken any laws. They haven’t been accused of stealing money or misusing funds. They haven’t even been accused of overpaying themselves. 

And currently, there’s no means within the DNC for removing the chairperson of a state party simply because that chairperson is very, very bad at their job. 

The only possible means of removing Worley is by holding an actual, fair election for party leadership. Holding such an election depends upon changing the state party bylaws and preventing Reed from handpicking dozens of voting members who will re-elect Worley. Changing the bylaws requires an executive committee meeting and a vote on bylaws changes.

And guess who would chair — and thus control what is or isn’t voted on — any executive committee meeting? 

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Nancy Worley. 

You see the problem? 

Without Worley’s cooperation, there’s nowhere to go. And there’s no way to force her to cooperate. 

Really, why would she? Listen, I’m not saying she’s right, but she believes she is. And if she truly believes she’s right, why would she ever agree to changes that would reduce her likelihood of being re-elected? 

The fact is there’s only one real option, now that you have the ear and the hearts of the DNC. 

Burn it down.

Form a new Alabama Democratic party. Call it the Alabama Democratic Committee, implement the proper bylaws that coincide with the DNC’s bylaws and then elect leadership. 

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It would literally take a month to get this setup and have a better functioning Alabama Democratic party than what’s in place now. 

But here’s the great thing: You’re not really starting from scratch. 

Because the ADP under Worley has been abysmal, there is an underground network of Alabama Democrats who have been working independently of the party, raising money, recruiting candidates, working on marketing strategies, paying for opposition research and attack ads and organizing voters.

Almost every Democratic success the last few years — and there have been a handful — can be traced back to that group.  

There are smart, well connected people ready, willing and able to make this thing work. And if those people were being supported and guided by a functioning party headquarters, with financial backing and support from the DNC, well, then you’ve got something working. 

Imagine an Alabama Democratic party with a decent leadership and strong communications during a time of unprecedented state level corruption and national embarrassment. 

There’s only one way to make that happen now. 

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Burn. It. Down.


Written By

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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