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Opinion | The new Alabama Democratic Party could be a louder voice for state’s black voters


I am not African American. 

This will not be a particularly surprising revelation for the people who know me or those who have watched me on TV or simply seen a picture of me at some point. It’s fairly obvious. 

And so, since I’m not a black person living in this state, I have no business telling black people what to do. Or who to vote for. Or who to trust. 

But I can tell black voters in this state, who make up about 70 percent of Alabama’s Democratic Party, what I see. 

You’re getting hosed. 

Your loyalty and reliability have been used by the former leadership of ADP and longtime leadership of the ADC to secure and maintain their positions. And they have squandered your loyalty and donations. 

Saturday’s ridiculous meeting of … I don’t even know what to call the group of Dems who are still supporting Nancy Worley and Joe Reed. 

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The national party has made it clear that it recognizes the new leadership headed by Rep. Chris England and former Rep. Patricia Todd. And the attendance at Saturday’s meeting made it clear that the Worley/Reed faction is a decidedly minority faction. (There were less than 100 members present, short of a quorum and way short of a majority of the 250 SDEC members on the rolls prior to the split.)

So, what does that make the group — the Holdout Caucus? We’ll go with that. 

Anyway, at the meeting of the Holdout Caucus on Saturday, a not-so-small amount of time was spent by Reed and others soliciting donations to pay for legal fees. Future legal fees. So they can continue to fight the DNC in a war they’ve quite clearly lost. 

You can dispute that if you like, but I’d be interested to hear your legal theories on a successful lawsuit challenging what is clearly a majority of the SDEC and the DNC. 

Save yourself some time. It doesn’t exist. 

But that doesn’t matter to Reed, who is apparently perfectly willing to burn this thing to the ground and have you donate to a lost legal cause instead of to Democratic campaigns. 

 And that, in a nutshell, is how you’ve been getting absolutely screwed for the past decade or more. 

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Joe Reed’s petty fights and personal vendettas have become far more important to him than winning elections and creating a workable Democratic Party in Alabama. And it shows. 

Look around us. Democrats in every other state are making huge gains. Kentucky just elected a Democratic governor. Louisiana did too. Virginia went totally blue. Polls in Georgia and Florida show Trump trailing in those states. Mississippi had a competitive governor’s race. Tennessee is included in most forecasters’ “trending blue” maps, and is expected — thanks to gains in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis — to be a blue state within two election cycles. 

And then, there’s Alabama. 

Where in 2018, during a massive blue wave nationally, Democrats lost seats to what was already a Republican supermajority. 

Up and down the ballot, good Democratic candidates were smoked. And in a state with arguably more Republican public corruption than any other and in a state that is constantly broke and poorly run, that’s a helluva embarrassment. 

In the meantime, Reed was spending donated money to fight … a Democrat. His longtime nemesis, John Knight, a solid Dem for his entire political life, lost in the primary to a guy funded in part by a Reed-backed political action committee (PAC). 

That’s money — precious money that the ADP/ADC doesn’t have — wasted on a secure seat. 

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That’s how you wind up with one embarrassing election loss after another. And Reed and the ADP have a decade of them now. 

Make no mistake about it, every loss for an ADP candidate is a loss for the black citizens of Alabama. 

It’s one less lawmaker fighting for equal funding of schools, one less lawmaker fighting gerrymandered voting maps, one less lawmaker pushing for appropriately funded higher education, one less lawmaker fighting every obstacle imaginable for black voters at the voting booth. 

Look, I get that Reed is a hero to the black community. He should be. That guy was fighting racism and racists in city hall way before it was cool to do so. He took a ton of heat, and probably a few death threats, to make gains for African Americans in this state. 

That’s a legacy that should never be forgotten and should always be respected. 

But you can both respect Reed and determine that it’s in the best interest of black voters in this state for him to step aside. For a new group of young, black men and women to take over the party, to move it into the current century and to begin slicing into this Republican control. 

Ultimately, of course, it’s up to you.

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The ADP has failed the black voters of this state for a long, long time now. It seems like a good time to give some new folks a shot.

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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