How Can Alabama's Democratic Party Reconnect with Voters?

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By Brittany Bivins

The Alabama Democratic Conference held its annual meeting this weekend, and one of the biggest topics--how Democrats can attract more Democratic voters in a state dominated by Republicans.

"Somebody's gotta articulate to the Democratic voters, white voters particular, on why it's beneficial to them to be in the Democratic party," said Joe Reed, Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman

But that's an uphill battle in a state where no Democrat holds a statewide office. Republicans had many victories in the 2013 legislative session, including passage of Alabama's Accountability Act, which gives tax credits for parents who transfer their children from failing public schools to private schools, a law which outraged Alabama Democrats.

Now Democrats say the only way to put their policies back in place is to convince Alabama voters that their policies are better for the average Alabamian.

"We've got to use government as an instrument to do good, and that is to help those people who can help themselves. There are people who are drawing social security checks now, saying we don't want any big government. Well, if you cut that check off, they'll starve to death," said Reed.

"Some of it's going to have to be some campaigning, some of it's going to have to be some media campaigns, getting out and meeting people, talking to people, you know, word of mouth does a lot, getting out and talking to more people, and other people have got to be willing to listen," said Bernard Sanderson, who attended the conference meeting.

However, Alabama GOP leaders say conservative policies are what Alabamians want. "Democrats lost control of the legislature because that's what Alabama voters wanted. If they want to retake control, they need to find a way to reconnect with the voters," said Representative Dick Brewbaker, a Republican.

Democrats lost control of both legislative in 2010, after 136 years of being the majority party.




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