Ought to mention: For the second year in a row, I’ve received a membership card from the Alabama Republican Party. I didn’t ask for it.
Of course, I’m supposed to send in a donation in exchange for the wallet-sized card. I never have donated to the Republicans, yet here I am lodged on their mailing list.
It dramatizes for me just how dysfunctional the Alabama Democrats are. I’ve volunteered for Democratic candidates at the county and state levels, been involved with the party’s “progressive” faction, corresponded with the current party chairman, and logged time on the Obama campaign. I don’t consider myself a party member, and I also support Republican and third-party candidates. But it seems odd that I merit a spot on the Alabama Republicans’ mailing list, yet never hear a peep from the Democrats.
One relevant fact about the Alabama Democrats is that they have an insulated, hereditary leadership caste and a byzantine organizational structure that effectively thwarts challenges from below. I’ve seen friends who are party loyalists but who seethe with resentment of the Democratic hierarchy in Alabama, and at the county level.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that there’s too much continuity between the present leadership and the old guard, who remember when Alabama was still governed by a single party devoted to white supremacy above all. Instead of denouncing its legacy of white rule, Alabama Democrats practice the crudest kind of racial apportionment. (“Separate but equal,” anyone?) In Montgomery it’s often been said that Alabama has a three-party system: Republicans, white Democrats, and black Democrats.
For all these reasons, I guess it’s no surprise that Alabama Democrats make no discernible effort to reach out to Alabama citizens. Nor is it surprising that our current Republican governor, who earned a perfect score from the Christian Coalition back when he was in Congress, has turned out to be more progressive than any Democrat since Albert Brewer briefly became governor by a fluke.
It’s been 144 years since Dixie was defeated, but the Alabama Democratic Party has never stopped waging war on the future.