Last White House Democratic Congressman in the Deep South Fights for Political Survival

Moni Basu, CNN, November 2, 2012

Here in the home of timber yards, BB-gun champs and DEET-defying gnats, John Barrow is fighting for survival.

He’s the last standing white Democrat from the Deep South in the U.S. House of Representatives, a remaining sliver of a party machine that once brokered power for the region’s establishment.

Barrow’s political death, if it comes on Election Day, would serve as a stark signal of the electoral realignment dividing Southern Democrats and Republicans along racial lines.

The ramifications are huge—not just in the South, but nationally—in determining the future of both parties, say political observers and historians who are closely watching Barrow’s uphill battle.

If Barrow loses, every Democratic congressman from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia will be black. Every Republican will be white, save Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who was elected in 2010 with Tea Party backing.

Barrow finds himself working hard for votes in Georgia towns swept by a tide of Republican Red—towns like Baxley, where, among many folks, saying “Democrat” is like taking the devil’s name.

Barrow has attended the “Redneck Games” in Dublin and recently hosted a barbecue dinner at the American Legion Altamaha Post 26, where he bought five raffle tickets for a Mossberg Model 500A 12-gauge shotgun.

He might belong to the party of his daddy and his granddaddy, but his public persona stands far removed from Washington’s Democratic leadership.

“A Democratic label is a killer in that district,” says Emory University political scientist Merle Black, an authority on Southern politics. “The Democratic Party across the Deep South is in real trouble with white voters.”

To make matters tougher, the GOP-controlled Georgia legislature redrew the boundaries for Barrow’s 12th District following the 2010 census, making his constituency even redder.

Barrow knows he can’t win without a chunk of conservative Republicans crossing over.

{snip}

Barrow’s campaign sent out more than 500 invitations for an early evening dinner at a rented event space in Douglas called The Atrium. {snip}

About 30 people show up for pulled pork barbecue and green beans just as dark clouds begin to scatter in the sky. Many are African-Americans who make up Barrow’s core support in rural Georgia.

They don’t care much for the fact that Barrow voted against the president’s Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Or that he voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas related to the deadly Operation Fast and Furious scandal.

They don’t think Barrow ought to be distancing himself from the president the way they thought he did by not attending the Democratic National Convention.

If you’re going to be a Democrat, then be a Democrat, says Johnny Roper, who served on the Douglas city commission for 27 years.

“We really want someone more devoted,” he says as caterers begin to serve the meal.

But, he asks, what’s the choice? There’s a big difference between Barrow and his Republican opponent, who Roper says is “no good for poor folks.”

But minority votes like Roper’s have been diluted in Barrow’s newly drawn district.

{snip}

Georgia Republicans say the lines were redrawn to reflect the state’s population changes.

But civil rights groups say Republicans are trying to further empower themselves by isolating black voters in majority-minority districts represented mostly by black Democrats.

“They are using race,” says Anita Earls, a civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

“The Republican strategy is to try to make the Democratic Party a party of black people,” she says.

That will make it more difficult for Democrats to win races in the near future, Earls says, but changing U.S. demographics—in which minority populations are growing at faster rates than whites—means that eventually that strategy will be doomed.

“They don’t have a long-term formula for success,” Earls says. “Maybe, they get a decade.”

{snip}

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jesse-Peterson/100003526607299 Jesse Peterson

    I think it’s time for you to change parties, Johnny boy.

  • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

    Ignore this story.

    Everyone is saying that “minorities are the key to the GOP’s future,” so obviously this story isn’t true, because the Whitey wouldn’t be having trouble getting reelected in the minority enriched Diversity party.

    How many insane headlines do you expect to see about “minorities + GOP” and “GOP’s Diveristy problem now solved” between now and 2016?

    How insane to you expect to be by 2016?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7RORAJVG7LJJZECDJIILHJBE7U So CAL Snowman

       I honestly don’t think that there will be a United States of America in 2016.  My gut feeling is that tomorrow will be the last official “elections” as we knew them.

      • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

        Millions of Whites are catching on, and that’s why the Internet will go “dark” by 2014.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/D7BX764AFX7YRN57CDP7IRUMNE Darryl

        You know what, brother? I would be hopeful if we just had the numbers, but when more than half of the kids under 5 are mexican:

        http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-90.html

        I just have a hard time getting excited about the future. You know how rare it is to find an albino version of an animal, and when you see one, you whip out your camera? That’s how I feel here in So. California. I can literally go for days and not see another White. I can drive down the street for miles and see women with head coverings, mexican women pushing strollers with 10 kids in tow, black gang members talking on their cell phones as if they had soemthing to say– and it’s just a matter of time before the blight takes over the whole country.

        My family, as per our Coat of Arms, fought in several Crusades. Crusades were a needed part of life, just as you sometimes need to weed your garden. You weed out the crazies. But we haven’t had a Crusade in 100’s of years, and so now we have millions of psychos fat on our trillions of petro dollars who would just as soon kill us as look at us. Where is a half-crazy syphilitic Pope when you need one?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FWMCMK6U5OWRHYIYJAF2TPFL2U thomas

          Ever notice Darryl how those mexican women are pushing strollers (with multiple anchor babies in tow) in the middle of a work morning/day? Since they do not work, who is paying for their litter of anchor babies? Juan their illegal invading husband with hisunder- the- table minimum wage job?

          More likely, they are getting substantial governmental assistance to raise their litters, even though they are here in violation of our immigration laws.

  • http://twitter.com/LavMenace Crystal Lee Evans

    He is not the only white democrat congressman left. There is also Steve Cohen of Memphis who took Harold Ford’s old seat after Ford ran for the US Senate and lost.

    • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

      Now Harold Ford is getting rich teaching at Columbia and jabber babbling voodoo on MSNBC.   They got him out of Memphis before he followed in the family tradition and ended up in jail.  Somebody powerful must have plans for him…

      • http://twitter.com/LavMenace Crystal Lee Evans

        I read somewhere that the Clinton’s were grooming him for higher public office and then he went out and married a white woman, which made him unelectable because black women will not vote for a black man married to a white woman.

        • Nicholai Hel

          They were grooming him, but not for public office. They were sitting behind him picking lice from his pelt.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MXTYFQZUWU2C7Q6WAHYPNNHCNU David Brims

    ” They are using race ” says Anita Earls, a civil rights lawyer.

    No, that’s what YOU have  been doing.

    • Barrack Osama

      Her very livelihood is the art of using race. She might be a poor bedraggled assistant secretary somewhere if not for evil racist white people.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7RORAJVG7LJJZECDJIILHJBE7U So CAL Snowman

    “The Republican strategy is to try to make the Democratic Party a party of black people,” she says.

    Someone is a little confused here, as the Democratic party has make it abundantly clear that they ARE the party of black people!

    • Strider73

      And Mexicans. And homosexuals. And Muslims.

      And, of course, dead people, even if they were Republicans while still alive.

      • jeffaral

        And Joos……..

    • MikeofAges

       Don’t non-whites and immigrants have any autonomy? To all vote for one party is their autonomous decision. They believe that this is, for them, the path to power. No one forced them into this choice. If they say they were, that’s just a calculated deception. No one in America today prevents anyone from embracing American tradition and seeking inclusion. Many do not want inclusion. Success? Yes. Inclusion? No. Not really.

  • http://www.awpn.net/ Celestial Time

    Great news!!! A racially charged atmosphere and divisions along racial lines are exactly what multicultural/multiracial societies produce. Good to see this paradigm is finally catching on with some of the lower rungs of the IQ ladder.

    Now that that’s out of the way, maybe the supposed White party will finally decide to represent White People. Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to try and hold your breath waiting for this to happen with milquetoast “conservatives” and career politicians.

    Seriously, flush the GOP! I want racists representing me.

    • RisingReich

       Agreed.  To the dust bin they should go.

      “Flush the GOP!  I want racists representing me.”
      It’s got a nice ring to it.

      • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

        No votes for non raicsts!

    • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

      The only way the GOP can explicitly go after the White vote is to mau mau a new definition of racism that includes something good.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D7BX764AFX7YRN57CDP7IRUMNE Darryl

    “electoral realignment”

    So that’s what they’re calling it nowadays. I like to call it an invading army but now we’re just mincing words. Hey at least on the bright side, if obama wins tomorrow, I’m going to bash my head into the pavement over and over and over again.

  • MSNBC Derangement Syndrome

    Feeling pretty good about rising up to meet the circumstances in the voting booth tomorrow.

    I’m not voting for Romney, I’m voting agaisnt the N, and will salute Heil Hatred as I do!

  • JuneSondra

    Here in Alabama our Congressional delegation consists of 8 white Republicans (2 Senators and 6 Congressmen) and one black Democrat.

    Teri Sewell is the lone black and she represents the extremely racially gerrymandered 7th District. It was created to guarantee a black voting major. It includes most of Birmingham and extends nearly 2oo miles through the Black Belt and ends in a remote swamp in south Alabama.

    What this has effectively done is minimalize the numbers of blacks in the other six districts to the point that they are totally ignored. Their votes are now completely irrelevant. Racial gerrymandering has guaranteed that ONE black Democrat will always be elected but the end result is that she will always be outnumbered EIGHT to ONE!

    Blacks outside the 7th District have in effect lost their voice and vote through the efforts of their own party and Obama’s Justice Department. It’s as if they all were stuck in that remote swamp and forgotten.

    • MikeofAges

       That’s right. It has to be either this way or that way. Either divide up the minority vote and create district where liberals can win when they do not at all represent the majority of largest population group. Or create districts where the voters can elect someone who represents them. I say, go for the latter. That’s what democracy is.

      Another flaw with idea of dividing the minority vote is that the liberals elected do not represent the minority population within their districts, but the minority of the whites who are liberals. Then there is the issue of “Blue Dogism”, where sometimes actual and sometime fake conservative Democrats are able to win a conservative district. I have lived in two “Blue Dog” districts, one in California (Condit-Cardoza) and Washington (Larsen). IMO, it doesn’t work out so well. Even if the Democrat is an an actual conservative, cloyingly fake outreach is the inevitable result.

      • JuneSondra

        I agree 100%.

  • Sun

    Good. I hope white liberals are crushed by their own stupidity. I take time just to remind them that they will be a minority and I hope a black person takes their job, etc.