The Democratic Party’s troubles in the Deep South are by now well-known, but to get a good flavor of how dismal the landscape looks in Alabama at the moment, consider this passage from a Birmingham News story today (http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/06/alabamas_gov_bentley_looks_to.html) about the early outlook for the 2014 governor’s race.
Ask veteran Democratic politicians who they think might run for governor in 2014 and you get mostly empty stares or belly laughs, like the one Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham gave when he was asked the question.
"What Democrat is going to run for governor?" Rogers asked. "Well, maybe me and I think I might actually win the nomination because I'm not sure anybody is out there who is willing to take the bullet and that's what you're looking at, a bullet, because I don't think any Democrat right now has a chance to win the governor's office."
When Rogers finished laughing, he turned a little serious.
"The Democrats, we got our butts beat in 2010 and we've been getting beat in most of these state races now for some time," said Rogers. "That's not going to change in 2014. The real question is, can it begin to change by 2018, 2022, 2026? I don't think any of us who care about the future of the party know that answer. What we know is the party has got to begin to reorganize, to find a message, a vision for Alabama that more people will begin to see value in."
The language here is pretty telling — aside from Democrats offering empty stares and belly laughs when asked who might run, Rogers compares the party nomination as akin to taking a bullet.
Clearly it’s a tough time to be a Democrat in Alabama, where in 2010 Republicans finally gained control of both the state House and state Senate for the first time since 1874, the GOP held onto the governor’s mansion, and Republicans also managed to knock off freshman Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright.
Help, it seems, isn’t on the way any time soon.