How does the Alabama Democratic Party … errrrrmm … work?

How does the Alabama Democratic Party … errrrrmm … work?


The Alabama Democratic Party is in
crisis. The result of years of inept leadership by Party Chairwoman Nancy
Worley. Previously on “Kyle Complains About Things” Nancy Worley is incredibly
bad at her job. She pleaded guilty to asking public employees to help her
campaign. Worley let the party’s domain registration lapse and someone replaced
the party’s website with ads for weight loss scams and cheap abortions. Worley
demanded candidates pay money into a PAC which, at the time, did not legally
exist. Worley has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees
fighting the Democratic Party. And the question I keep getting is “how?” “How is
this person still in charge?” Who put her there? Who keeps her there?
The answer is complicated, but if you really want to know: take a deep breath
because… here we go. Under party rules the party’s executive
committee is supposed to match the demographics of Democrats in the last
presidential election. And the state party has defined that strictly in terms
of black and white. Now you’re probably thinking,” What about all those
people who aren’t either of those things?” Well, we will get to that. The process
begins when Democratic voters pick their district representatives at the polls
during primaries. But those elected seats usually skew whiter than a perfect match.
So the party adds at-large members to balance things out. And who picks those
at-large members and how is a really big deal.
Under the old party bylaws, the Minority Caucus chose who filled those seats. If
you’re confused because the minority caucus is actually a majority of the
committee already… you’re right and just just hang on. Here’s where things get
really screwy. A majority of the minority caucus seats are controlled by a sort of
party within the party, called the Alabama Democratic Conference. A
political organization led by longtime party boss Joe Reed, who supports Nancy
Worley. At first ADC doesn’t have the votes to pick party leaders. But because
it has a majority of the minority caucus it gets to add more ADC people as
at-large members until… tada! ADC has a majority and picks… for some
reason… Nancy Worley! Even though all these other folks over here, a majority
of the elected members, can’t stand her and can’t stand Reed, either. And this
system isn’t that formal or even rule-abiding. I’ve personally witnessed
Reed just walk to the back of the room and hand someone a hangtag to somebody
he knows and say ,”Congratulations! You’re on the committee now!” Frequently all
those other folks, black and white, hold hands and push back on Reed and Worley.
But because of this system they can never get to a majority unless someone
changes the system. Which is exactly what the Democratic National Committee has
ordered them to do. The DNC has gone beyond seeing the world only in black
and white. Rhere are other demographics that matter, too. LGBT, Hispanic Americans,
Asian Americans, people with disabilities, and this is the big one: Young people! This is,
after all, the recipe for Democrats’ success. It cobbles together lots of smaller
constituencies to build majorities and win elections. And earlier this year the
DNC ordered the Alabama party to make room for all these other folks on the
State Executive Committee. But Reed doesn’t want those folks on the
committee. And he and Worley have fought like hell to keep them off. The other
problem the committee has is: It Is Old! Youth (defined by the DNC as people under
the age of 36) make up more than a third of Alabama Democratic voters, but they
hold fewer than 8% of the seats on the committee. What Worley and Reed fear is
that once all these other constituencies have a place on the executive committee
the ADC majority will be diluted. And they’re probably right. Not the
African-American majority, mind you. Because no matter how much Reed and
Worley want to say so, ADC and black voters are not the same thing. Just look
at history: like 2008. When the ADC endorsed Hillary Clinton in the
Democratic primary and black voters picked…somebody else. This is, as DNC
member Harold Ickes has said, about power not race. And Reed and Worley are
clinging desperately to power. But their time is running out. if you like this
video, follow us on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube. All the things. For
Reckon, I’m Kyle Whitmire. Thanks for watching.

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