YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
What I learned from the Primary
It's been a full week since the Democratic Primary and I'm still shaking my head at some of the election results. After a lot of reflection and some conversations with a few good friends, I've come to realize a few things.
First, the good guys don't always win even when they do everything right. TJ Copeland is a perfect example. He's a good guy who deserved a victory. He stands for everything good about the Democratic Party and politics in general. His loss to Sharon Beasley-Teague still boggles my mind. I've been going over the campaign in my head, asking myself what could have been done differently. My answer: Nothing. He did everything right. He had a great campaign manager in Nikema Williams and solid consultants behind him from Yellow Dog Consulting. Watching him lose to a woman who cares so little about her constituents and their issues was gut wrenching. It broke my heart.
But I'm proud of TJ for running the kind of campaign that should've won. I'm proud of TJ for representing the Young Democrats of Atlanta. Our organization is a training ground for future legislators and he had the heart to go out and take that first step. I'm looking forward to watching him and helping him do whatever comes next.
Second, I've learned not to take a candidate's predicted victory for granted. How on earth did we all misjudge the Secretary of State's race? Where did Gail Buckner come from? Does anyone know anything about her? I've heard from a variety of sources that she's a big fan of the Young Democrats, which might swing my vote her way. Of course, I'm keeping my mind open to Mr. Hicks, another candidate who ran under my radar. I'll have to read up on both candidates. Gail and Darryl! Who would've thought?
Third, I've learned that dirty politics hurts everyone, not just the opponent. Take the Lt. governor's race. I was totally undecided until three or four days before the election when Hect's campaign hit an all-time low. Their robo call and that ad they put out against Jim Martin was dirty and it only hurts turn out. It turns people off to politics. I won't even get into yard sign wars. I won't mention the incumbent who was stupid enough to cover up her opponent's yard signs--not with her own--but with a gubernatorial candidate's instead. But who expected Ms. Teague to run a clean and fair campaign? All I can say is: What goes around comes around--ten fold. I just hope I'm there to see it.
Finally, I've learned that there is no substitute for having a strong ground force. I think I've read a stat that says canvassing is the single most effective way to reach voters, seventy percent more effective than any other method. I believe that. Every door that TJ and his crew knocked on, I believe, was a vote for TJ. So if you want your candidate to win, be prepared to sweat. All of the money in the bank can't beat a large army of foot soldiers willing to bear the heat and knock on doors. It takes a lot of volunteers to run a solid campaign. Unfortunately, no candidate will probably ever get as many foot soldiers as they need or want, but they have to make the most of the people they have, and more importantly, be grateful for them.
I've learned much more than I can put in this blog. It's still hard to believe that the first half of this election season is over. We need to brace ourselves, though, because I expect that we're in for a bumpy ride with this race for the Governor's Mansion gearing up. I'll save my spiel about us all needing to get behind our nominee for next week.