The Obama Rule: Expanding Politics

A few years ago, I performed a research effort to look deeper into the election of Barack Obama for the purpose of sharing with other political junkies via Wikipedia. My goal was to break down the strategy of the most unlikely candidate on the face of the planet and define the winning strategy utilized.

Following that research, America received yet another opportunity to see what we all missed the first time around in 2007 when he first sought the presidency. In 2012, we once again saw the political process turn on everything it thought it knew. This was not just another re-election, its what I later named the Obama Rule.

While the State Senate campaign we are currently bringing forth is entirely a different race than that of anyone looking to be President of the United States, however, the Obama Rule has changed how we all view campaigning and getting out the vote efforts.

To expand the electoral college map with the use of several tactics such as increased partisan voters registrations that could shift the outcome of an election; the use of micro-targeting voters that elevates the individual and what is likely to concern them socially and campaign in that area on those issues to win their vote; or divide the household vote into two separate votes if one does not support your candidacy allowing one to cancel out the other is defined as The Obama Rule. This edict has been the most effective tool in the decolorization of the electoral college map in the twenty-first century.

When Barack Obama came to the national scene in the 2004 Democratic National Convention at the invitation of then Presidential nominee, the United States Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry. Barack Obama, then, the State Senator, United States Senate Candidate and future President (2008-Present) from Illinois launched into his keynote speech rejecting the divisions of America by ideology, race and those states which tilt Democrat (Blue), Republican (Red) or one with more Independent political views (Purple). The message of inclusion encouraged everyone to get involved in the unification of American values by getting neighborhoods, towns and cities as well as states to work together.

During his Illinois Senate race, Obama ran unopposed and with the successful delivery at the DNC, Obama went on to become the Senator from Illinois easily. After Senator Kerry was defeated by George W. Bush in 2004 for the presidency, Obama made the short list of possible presidential candidates for the 2008 election cycle. For what was expected to go handily to then New York Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady of 42nd President of the United States and former Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination would turnout to be the longest primary battle between Senator Clinton, who was once considered to be the inevitable candidate and Senator Barack Obama.

By empowering grass-root supporters to build a network of even more groups in support of his candidacy, Barack Obama was able to form the largest community organization which went on to become known as Organizing for America, the eventual home base of the technological war room.

U.S. Barack Obama announced his candidacy at the Illinois State Capital.

U.S. Barack Obama announced his candidacy at the Illinois State Capital.

His campaign provided blank meeting forms, campaign letterhead and other official campaign documentation for any supporter to print off from their own personal home computers with the hopes creating thousands of cell groups working in tandem with the campaign. The Obama 2008 campaign brought everyday supporters in on conference calls to equip them with weekly strategy and talking points.  In months, Barack Obama had built a powerful network of locals in every community around the nation.

Where Senator Clinton had built her campaign with larger corporate sponsors and donors, as it was the custom for political campaigns to do, Barack Obama was able to expand the number of his donor base by only asking them all to donate $5 or $10. Because more donors were able to contribute smaller amounts, more Americans were likely willing to give to his efforts than those able to donate the maximum $2,500 FEC contribution.

By expanding the donor base, Barack Obama was then able to expand the number of states he would be able to campaign in as well as purchase advertising space in more competitive areas than Clinton. This “expansion” was the birth of The Obama Rule. By expanding the 2008 Primary map, it stretched Senator Clinton’s campaign too thin exposing the internal vulnerabilities of her strategy sending her campaign into a panicked over-drive.

The Obama Rule, equipped with technology, digitally linking supporters with local contacts in their neighborhoods and all tied into a database of registered and likely voters would ultimately bring down the infamous Clinton Machine, Senator Clinton’s vast support, contacts and financial donors, as it was fondly known and Barack Obama would go on to win the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination.

The operation, overseen from the Obama Campaign Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois would be re-tooled and reintroduced in the 2008 general election against Republican Presidential Nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona and his Vice Presidential running mate, Sarah Palin the Governor of Alaska. Social networks for the first time were utilized to keep supporters advised of all made by the campaign, further empowering supporters through inclusion.

Hillary Clinton, right before her "glass ceiling" speech following a brutal primary campaign in 2007.

Hillary Clinton, right before her “glass ceiling” speech following a brutal primary campaign in 2007.

Although Barack Obama, the candidate, became a media phenom, political junkies, college students and political analysts observed how the electoral map began to shift registered voters to likely voters in states historically unkind to national democratic candidates, i.e. North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania. Although Former Governor Of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was the first candidate in the country to use micro-targeting a decade earlier, it was Barack Obama who perfected it by micro-targeting newly registered voters through his voter registration outreaches that would help tilt the “color” of the state his direction.

The Obama Rule, when enforced effectively, forces opponents to defend once thought safeguards and multiple strongholds while simultaneously attempting to make gains in other battlegrounds states and hold off the onslaught of heavy ground movement driven by social issues which drains the opponents campaign resources. At that time, the opponent is faced with choosing which attack to address, while conceding others.

For example, in the 2008 campaign, then Senator, Barack Obama used this edict to win the presidency by expanding the base of donors with small donations which built the grass root movement with self governed supporters, thereby expanding the reach of the campaign while also expanding the electoral map. Senator John McCain and the Republican National Committee were unable to run their own campaign as they had wanted because the expanded map forced them to respond and react as opposed to drive and be proactive.

2008 Republican Presidential ticket; Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (AK)

2008 Republican Presidential ticket; Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (AK)

John McCain, now faced with ground attacks from every direction on the map and used the bulk of his campaign cash on hand to respond leaving himself vulnerable in his own home state of Arizona. In order to force McCain to spend more money, Obama began to campaign in the Senator’s home state, hoping to woo the growing the Latino vote. Arizona once a stronghold for conservatives and convincingly in McCain’s corner began to lean and became a new battleground state.

Obama announced that the 2008 Democratic National Convention would be held in Colorado, and by doing so would expand the electoral map even further in his favor. The following states were targeted in 2008 using the Obama Rule to make all national politics local and increase the voter involvement in all demographics:

1 – Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, *Florida and Nevada- Their growing Latino populations.
2 – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio- Auto Industry and Manufacturing jobs.
3- Iowa, Florida, Indiana- Education, Economic issues, Independent Voters
4- Virginia, North Carolina- Military conflicts in the Middle East (Afghanistan/Iraq)
5- *Nevada- Economic (Home foreclosures, Unemployment)

The McCain campaigned failed to effectively balance the electoral map with concise policy proposals that were different from the previous republican administration. The Obama Rule requires the opponent to appear present and in control all over the electoral map simultaneously, but McCain had no technological infrastructure in place to effectively monitor the map in real time and manage the ground game to work in tandem with the campaign and political action committees.

imageIn the 2012 election, democrats once again utilized Organizing for America to launch an “information arms war” coupled with social networking resources available to nearly every voter with a smart phone. Through effective micro-targeting, democratic campaigns were able to reverse their projected political misfortunes and convert them into electoral victories. As the electorate has moved away from telephone landlines and political parties, instead, adopting political independence and technology with the use of the Internet, campaigns will be encouraged to utilize this resource of door to door classic campaigning specifically for the “desired” voter, establish a trust and follow-up.

What the Obama Rule has done to define the psychology of the division in the electorate cannot be understated. The nation will continue to be evenly divided on new terms. Formerly, party lines were drawn by ideology alone, today however, the nation’s demarcation line runs through the conservative’s ideology and the American voter’s issue of the day, represented by a more liberal party. Issues will continue to win out against ideology especially if that ideology is perceived to exclude any demographic.

What the Obama Rule did for his campaign will also now be blueprinted for other campaigns all over the country and to be quite honest, it was used in several elections all around the globe since 2008. What Obama did was to perform all the heavy lifting most campaigns had just became too lazy to do-Walk the neighborhoods, inform the voters and educate their fears.  By doing that, he empowered them to change their neighborhoods with just one vote; their own. That’s my story and um sticking to it.   

Antron D. Johnson (D)

Candidate, Georgia State Senate

Antron@AntronGASenate.com

 

The Real Politics of a Broken Education System

1965 - President Lyndon Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a part of his War on Poverty.

1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a part of his War on Poverty.

There’s no better way to fully explain the generational frustrations with our national education headaches without simply addressing the politics of its history. Just stay with me, I am certain this will open many eyes as to how we got where we are today. What’s important to note at the onset is, our nation’s battle for the last fifty years didn’t begin with education, in fact it began with poverty; President Lyndon Johnson’s War On Poverty.

PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON:

In 1965, President Johnson presented Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to address the inbalance of poor performing schools and the ever widening student achievement gaps between those students in higher income areas against those in lower income areas. Johnson believed that in order to prepare the next generations for college and the labor force, the country would need to make the necessary investments in education.

The ESEA in today’s political environment would never pass, and I’ll provide proof of that shortly because it would be perceived as an entitlement to lower income families and would require new taxes or stimulus to support the national equity for all students, which was precisely what the law was intended to do. Johnson believed that the country could not afford to continue leaving children behind.

President Johnson’s legislation required reauthorization every five years to ensure the programs were remaining effective, continued to meet the states’ initiatives and standards as well as continued to improve over time. So keep in mind, every five years…each president, each new congress would be able to take a swipe at their vision for what this ESEA legislation should look like. In most cases, the politics of education drove the arguments that would either be put in place to strengthen or weaken the reauthorization of the law.

PRESIDENT(S) RICHARD NIXON / GERALD FORD:

Richard Nixon, reigned from Office under impeachment before he could sign the reauthorization bill. However, President Gerald Ford, who as one of his first official acts in the presidency, signed the reauthorization but not much else was done.

President Jimmy Carter who thought, an entire shakeup would be needed so what was once the Department of Health, Education and Welfare was broken up and he created in 1979, the Department of Education as a Cabinet level Secretary position, leaving the rest to become the Department of Health and Human Services. Carter thought in order to best address the needs of the overall deliverables of educational programs, they would need to be brought out front and center.

“Interestingly enough, State Sen. Jason Carter of Georgia, former President Carter’s grandson, who will be elected as the next Governor of Georgia later this year, recently proposed a resolution similar to that effort when he suggested the state’s education budget be voted on separately from the full budget presented each year by the State Congress. This, I believe will no longer permit the legislature to hide the cuts they continuously make to our state’s education initiatives.

PRESIDENT(S) JIMMY CARTER / RONALD REAGAN

President Carter created the Department of Education and brought a representative, the new Presidential Cabinet Secretary to executive levels, while President Bill Clinton signed into law his version of the ESEA through reauthorization.

President Carter created the Department of Education and brought a representative, the new Presidential Cabinet Secretary to executive levels, while President Bill Clinton signed into law his version of the ESEA through reauthorization.

What Carter did was to make the nation rethink Education in a whole different light. Reauthorization after reauthorization, much of it all remained the same. Ronald Reagan came along with his Education Consolidation and Improvement Act (ECIA). Reagan represented what conservatives then and now wanted most; to reduce some of the federal regulations on Title 1 funding as well as how the states were allocated and ultimately disbursed their federal funds. This was designed to increase the achievement levels of students in schools performing more poorly than students who tested at higher levels, more often from families with higher incomes. Title 1 was not just intended for urban-inner city areas, but also rural schools on the outskirts of major growing cities.  However, the only thing Reagan’s ECIA actually accomplished was a simply name change from Title 1 to Chapter 1 and yes, it reduced the regulations necessary for states and schools to obtain much of that federal funding.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH:

In ’88, kind of came and went with his own reauthorization but little to no fan fare on the educational front. No one truly expected him to move away from the Reagan plan. President Bill Clinton however, introduced Improving America’s Schools in 1994 . In his reauthorization, Clinton added some Technology and Bilingual education aid as well as some funding for Charter Schools, a major conservative talking point even to date.

Whats important to remind ourselves of here is, all of these efforts were designed to improve and provide and equally applied standard and access to education for all students.  This notion that President Obama has ripped education rights from states and parents is simply false.  Each president and legislature has a responsibility to update as needed every five years.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON

Clinton, a democrat with a republican congress led then by Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich (R) of Georgia became one of the most notable “reauthorizations” since the original law had been established some thirty years earlier at that time. The only other major ESEA reauthorization came only six years after Clinton, by newly elected:

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

President George W. Bush signed "No Child Left Behind", his reauthorized version of Johnson's 1965 bill. Standing next to him, Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R), who consistently blocked Obama's ability to fix the law he watched Bush sign.

President George W. Bush signed “No Child Left Behind”, his reauthorized version of Johnson’s 1965 bill. Standing next to him, Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R), who consistently blocked Obama’s ability to fix the law he watched Bush sign.

Bush’s infamous No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) in 2001 set out to return many of Lyndon Johnson’s original focus points, but there was just one thing Johnson never wanted and that was a “universal measurement”. Johnson wanted to level the field, but Bush believed that there was no way to ever know if that field was leveled or not unless you put tools in place.

Bush’s tools would work to narrow the achievement gaps between the higher income and lower income students. Studies continue to show that as school poverty decreases, student achievement continues to deteriorate.

The problem with Bush’s NCLB was that the tools or money that was needed to fully implement the legislation never showed up. Conservatives, even then Republican Congressman John Boehner (R) who is the current Speaker of the House, applauded the law, but championed the fact that no money would go to support it beyond what was allocated through tax cuts.

Generally, republicans have supported the idea of simply writing the federal education check and mailing it to the State’s Governors because ultimately they believe the state’s should decide how those funds are best spent. However, Bush went further because he demanded schools perform at higher rates or lose the federal funding it received for each child which caused many schools around the country to close their doors.

Those closures forced some of the over-crowding in already hard hit areas, many throughout Atlanta and the metropolitan areas, but if you check your own states, you’ll find this is not unique to Georgia. Additionally, Teachers were now burdened under the law to what has been called teaching the test. The downside to that, the loss of that customed approach most life long teachers had once enjoyed.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

Finally, President Obama while running for Office laid out his views for changing Bush’s NCLB law through his own reauthorization plan while in office. Much of the changes Obama wanted had more to do with keeping many of the parts to the existing law, but add the dollars that Bush had promised and his republican cohorts refused to allocate.

**Since 1965, each president who held the Office practiced the traditions of reauthorizing President Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act on schedule, every 5 years, however the political climate had changed so much-so fast immediately following the inauguration Obama in 2008, nothing could make it through the Congress to the Oval’s desk.

President Barack Obama used Executive Orders to move his Education Agenda since a volatile GOP House continuously blocked his "reauthorization" of the ESEA that every POTUS before him since 1965 performed without question.

President Barack Obama used Executive Orders to move his Education Agenda since a volatile GOP House continuously blocked his “reauthorization” of the ESEA that every POTUS before him since 1965 performed without question.

To date, there has been no reauthorization of the ESEA by President Obama. In 2010, with his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan standing by, Obama introduced his version of his reforms called Common Core. Basically, the same principle, but one that he could sign by Executive Order. But because Obama doesn’t see the possibility of any ESEA reauthorization passing the House of Representatives, he has to continue to work around them in order to move his own agenda.

So when you hear republicans say, the common core concepts have never been voted on by Congress or made it to any Committee, they are right. However, what is just absolutely awful is, they will never tell you that Mr. Obama had no choice because of the overwhelming amount of gridlock in Washington that they themselves helped to instigate.

Secretary Duncan has always said, their first hope, their Plan A was just to reauthorize the law as all others before them with reforms. However when that became impossible to do, they [Obama's White House] had to use Plan B; financial waivers which were awarded to the states who chose to opt out of Bush’s NCLB law by 2010.

The Governor’s of 44 states took those financial waivers as a way to prepare their states for the eventual rollout of Common Core, Obama’s version of Johnson’s ESEA law by 2014. Those Governor’s saw Obama’s policy update as the best option put forward at the time. So there is no surprise that now, on the cusp of national midterm elections and control of state legislatures, conservatives would now use Common Core against Obama as if we have never had problems with standardizing our national education programs.

I’ve gone on the record before so I’ll do it again with regard to Obama’s Common Core. Does it have problems, absolutely. Can it be improved, you better believe it, however, we have been improving education since President Johnson began his fight against poverty and this too will require further improvement.

Primarily, Common Core’s sticky points derive from “new generation assessments”, as identified by Secretary Duncan himself. Today, fifty years later, President Obama is still addressing the needs of our federal education system to best deal with, you guessed it, our very own War on Poverty that conservatives appear poised to unravel at every turn.

POTENTIAL CLINTON PRESIDENCY?

Our national issues on Education drive the state issues we currently have because those state dollars are sent from the federal government. My personal concern with legislation like the ESEA of 1965 is that it is going to continue to morph into yet another reauthorization in the next five years. If not the ESEA, what will Obama’s Common Core look like in the next Clinton Administration (@ReadyForHillary)? It’s impossible to know the answer to those questions because that’s going to depend entirely on the next few U.S. Congress’.

As we now discuss the paths Education would take in the state of Georgia and along this campaign moving forward, what we are fighting for is a better way to use the those federal funds for education. As we have this fight, I want you all to be more informed about the origin of the problems we are enduring and are laboring to get right…once again.

Each political party over time has played a role, but what we can no longer do is game the system for additional jockeying manuevers for who has the best plan while our children suffer with current benchmarks in place. We have to get it right with Common Core or work toward a more feasible plan for Georgia. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

Antron D. Johnson (D)
Candidate, Georgia State Senate
District 6
Antron@AntronGASenate.com

The Living Wage vs. The Minimum Wage: Know The Difference

I support Living Wage Increases. Minimum wage increases won't help you, see why...

I support Living Wage Increases. Minimum wage increases won’t help you, see why…

One of this years initiatives, especially one that I am getting behind in my own State Senate campaign is that of Income Inequality. Now, most simply view this as a minimum wage increase and I believe that to be simply incorrect because there is so much more to be gained. Although I intend to get into the trenches for a minimum wage increase, overall, my goal is to:

1. See the increase as a Living Wage not the Minimum wage. That’s important because under the current system, millions will remain dependent upon their local and federal government systems for many of their most basic needs, food, child care, and in many cases shelter.

You should know that the minimum wage is not the same as the living wage. Minimums are determined by law and will absolutely never meet the basic needs of the receiver. It’s just not possible. So what we are fighting for right now is to move the minimums that we already know do not and will never meet the basic needs of our people.

Minimums differ starkly from Living wage increases because those resources actually will meet the basic needs of the receiver. Here is the best reason for this debate. Raising the wage from the previously legislated minimum to the revised living returns the systems to operating back within budgets simply because fewer Georgians as well as Americans in other states will need less from the government.

These programs weren’t designed to introduce a new class of poverty and although they are extremely helpful to the millions who count on them, I strongly believe Americans would rather not depend on the government for food. So what do we do? Give Georgians the opportunity to make restoring their freedoms not only possible or feasible, but more importantly, sustainable over the long term.

2. Decrease the overall budgets that are currently exploding as these programs require more and more resources. No one likes big government until they need it. You don’t want a large Department of Defense until we have to face an advancing foreign threat. We don’t like regulations until we realize that due to the lack of them, our economic and financial systems are about to go over the cliff as we saw in 2008.

I am of the mind that, once we increase the Living Wage in Georgia and across the nation, less dependence will fall upon what we currently have in place. The truth is, we all enjoy the benefits of a stronger more financially stable America, however, because the need for these safety nets had increased greatly after the 2008 financial melt down, to date, they remain strained.

Not since the Great Depression has so many relied upon a national support system. Let’s make this point certain, I believe we must maintain these programs, SNAP, TANF and all of the rest that serve as a safety net to all of America, however, the current dependence is not sustainable and without changes in the area wages for hard working Georgians, relief will not be seen.

Republicans “say” they want to reduce what they call “entitlement spending“, those are costs associated with funding social programs like unemployment insurance, the SNAP food program, healthcare, Medicaid and Medicare, but what I am saying is raising the living wage will definitely do that. Republicans also “say” they want shrink the number of Americans on many of these programs, as do I, however, one sure way to do that, is increase the Living Wage. But the one thing republicans are against other than the Affordable Care Act, is living wage increases. Just doesn’t make sense.

3. Another goal that I believe is attainable through an increase of the Living Wage is to help Americans once again feel good about being less dependent on the government. Many of them were your professionals and small business owners, your consultants and engineers of four, five and six years ago back when Occupy Wall Street and the 99% were battle cries for those most affected, yet they saw financial institutions get golden parachutes at their expense.

Although it just sounds like minimum wage earners want more money, I believe they instead want independence from dependence. It becomes a bit tricky for most of them considering they already receive some form of assistance that is determined by their income and that will surely change to some degree when a new living wage is implemented. They know that and they accept that alternative.

Living Wage increases answers the GOP concerns, yet they still are not interested.  I don't think many of them even know the difference between Minimums vs. Living Wages.

Living Wage increases answers the GOP concerns, yet they still are not interested. I don’t think many of them even know the difference between Minimums vs. Living Wages.

Conventional wisdom would have you to think that ObamaCare was made to provide free healthcare to those with lower incomes and living in poverty. That, however is completely not true. The Affordable Care Act was designed to assist those who are considered the “working poor”, to enjoy more options when managing their healthcare costs for themselves and their families due to the escalating costs. If truth would be told by Republicans, most of the poor, don’t receive any tax subsidies to help pay for their coverage. With that said, those earning a minimum wage, must still be required to pay for their own medical coverage. If members of the GOP actually wanted the ACA law to actually work and not fail due to the lack of signups, they’d consider making more Americans eligible by increasing their wages. But since we know they want want the healthcare law to succeed, they’ve decided to do neither: (a) don’t expand Medicaid and (b) don’t raise living wages.

The only way around that, is each state would have to expand the Medicaid option which would directly benefit those living in real poverty. Raising the Living Wage would significantly ease that burden. It would either make them immediately eligible to receive tax subsidies that everyone else currently qualifies for and/or reduce the number of people who would need that expansion of Medicaid. More money in their pockets means less red tape in our federal and state budgets.

By permitting the increase, we address a plethora of other house-keeping matters all at the same time. Republicans now have the daunting task of walking back many of their previous statements in order to make the tough sell to their constituencies. Can they, sure, but will they, the jury is still out. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

Antron D. Johnson (D)
Candidate, Georgia State Senate
Antron@AntronGASenate.com

Atlanta Among The Top 10 Growing Metropolitan Cities

Atlanta Among The Top 10 Growing Metropolitan Cities

To many, they may only see the fact that Atlanta sitting among the top growth metropolitan areas as a sign of an economic strength, muscling its way through the economic downturn as a symbol of a re-emerging city. All of that is true, but not for the reasons you might believe. You’ll hear the spin machines in municipalities and counties all across the country talking up their business creation and incentives to lure large companies and new kids on the block to spur job growth, but the truth is, much of that is an after thought.

Politicians often state how small businesses are the engine of America’s growth, but what we see with recent studies is that, the people of this country are truly driving the economic shifts in our state and local growth. After the financial decline in 2007 and ultimately hitting rock bottom across the nation in ’09, Americans were faced with making the tough decisions on their own once they realized that only the financial markets would be saved.

Companies shuttered, jobs evaporating, suburban families were forced find their way back among larger numbers of the populous. Families that had once a decade earlier moved away from their cities urban core, the downtowns and the inner cities pushed outward, creating much of what we call the “urban sprawl” with box stores in every new neighborhood. You’ve seen them, the Bed, Bath and Beyonds, the Ross/Marshall’s and Home Depots.

In search of a better standard of living, those Americans chose to commute into the very cities they vacated understanding the new-normal challenges they faced. 2009 however revealed many of those challenges were now liabilities they could no longer afford. Two family incomes now became one with extensive layoff and downsizing while strong single family incomes dwindled to the new class of the under-employed; those individuals well over qualified to fill the available jobs they once ignored.

Atlanta and the other nine cities that made the list are swelling with population growth, but much of this is not new growth. We politicians are known for gerrymandering districts to increase our governing majorities every ten years or so, depending on your state’s legislature, but it appears, the American people have also begun their own shifting as well.

While the republicans redrew their Senate and Congressional Districts in the State of Georgia prior to the 2012 election to shore up their majorities as well as create a super-controlling majority, families in our suburbs and many of the rural areas of the surrounding metropolitan areas of Atlanta were moving intown.

Atlanta City Mayor, Kasim Reed (D) re-elected in 2013 with renewed confidence City's management.

Atlanta City Mayor, Kasim Reed (D) re-elected in 2013 with renewed confidence in the city’s forward management.

This is a classic disconnect of where our political parties have missed the boat. Democrats wrongly through their hands up in disgust in several congressional districts after reading the tea leaves of old campaigns, surrendering several districts to the republicans by not finding challengers for republican incumbents. I have to say as Democrats, we blame our numbers on redistricting by the republicans but don’t look at how to effectively challenge in those new districts. Regardless of that, the population shift from those suburban families relocating will still benefit democrats over time.

I support the parties’ “red to blue” efforts, however, my campaign for the Georgia State Senate is because I understand as Barack Obama did in 2004 (VIDEO), purple must come before blue-you just can’t get there from red without purple. The shifting of populations back to the metropolitan cities is a clear indication of an approaching shift in our nations political systems and the conservatives are absolutely afraid of that.

How do we know that? Take a look at your own cities politics. They all are seeing the same types of legislation to push back on the so-called liberal agenda. But what precisely is that agenda? Increases in the minimum wage, education reforms, voting rights and family equality? This is entirely for the changes you are making to your home address.

However, here is the problem with that calculation. This population shift is happening much faster than those legislatures can “gerrymander” those congressional districts. As for the state of Georgia and the leading metropolitan areas of our state, the Hispanic/Latino communities are growing faster than the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can report. Hence, the GOP and outside conservative groups are working to influence the political system to prevent real immigration reforms.

This growth, represents the only real net-gains in population growth these metropolitan cities have, so deny legislation to positively support this new growth would appear to be a no brainer, yet instead of taking a proactive approach, republicans in our state Congress as well as those leading the national agenda are instead retreating further to their side of the electoral gulf.

We have great Atlanta Mayor in Kasim Reed (D) as demonstrated by his management of the growth swell. His forward thinking resonated with the voters last November when he cruised to re-election but more importantly, the cities’ growth represented a confidence that you will begin to see in not only our state’s legisture but in other states around the nation.

Growth is often viewed as a positive resource for legislation, however, thats only when that legislation and governance is viewed positively by those it was meant to govern. Republicans are standing on the wrong side in part because they are only focused on winning the geographical district while they lose the demograpical district. For long, the geographics won’t matter much without the people. Ask those who represented now vacant areas of Detroit. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

Antron D. Johnson (D)
Candidate, Georgia State Senate
District 6
antron@AntronGASenate.com

The Political Sea Change

President Obama and NJ Gov Christie meeting families who suffered from "Sandy".  The GOP showed just how much they disliked this show of solidarity.

President Obama and NJ Gov Christie meeting families who suffered from “Sandy”. The GOP showed just how much they disliked this show of solidarity.

Politics, for all practical purposes, took a turn in 2007. And looking back, half the nation generally agrees with me in part, besides, it was them who elected and then re-elected the architect of the seismic transformation. Barack Obama did to the Democratic National party what the state parties have since struggled with; so poorly in purple and red states that you’d almost think he was elected President of another party.

As the 44th President, he would oversee an erosion in the political process with roots to a new normal.  GOP threats to shutdown the government, credit downgrades, and actual shutdown of the government for 17 days not to mention an extinction of the moderate conservative. We’ve seen the GOP shut down their own core principles and evolve into a hammer of their own making. A tool by which they have preferred to damage their own party and the nation’s economy with repeated divisive blows whereas a single shot to the foot could be more desirable.

The Tea Party’s disdain for the GOP’s Bush rubber stamp on increased spending, the wars and the rumors of them, the continued occupations, bailouts and the failure to hold the line on what they believed to be true conservatism sparked a birth of epic proportion that has pushed the Republican Party further to the right, much more right than its own members can even stomach on most votes.

This was never about the democrats.  The Tea Party found its wedge issues, what they believe to be their core identity.  We don’t have to like it, yet they have been effective at disrupting not only a progressive agenda, but any agenda.  Obama has overseen a change, but not one history would care to be kind towards.

Fortunately he is a young man who has a much longer life post-presidency to further shape and color his time in the Oval without the bitter rancor of those who might oppose. Republican leaders don’t want to see the benefits of his time in office in part because they focus primarily on the people and not the policy.

As a former republican, the party left me; I didn’t leave it. This election cycle alone, 12 House Republicans who are known to be moderates and who worked hard to get deals done found it impossible to work with their members. If the people you work with prevent a deal that is possible from ever getting done, and you are a deal maker…there is no room for you either.

Even former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates said recently that what has “bothered” him most was that “all the moderates have quit” [Congress]. Secretary Gates was asked by President Obama to stay on in the same job and he remained for the entire first term. So when he says he was bothered that there is no longer room at the table for reasoning, I believe him.

Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal (R) who is currently lagging behind in the polls to Democratic Candidate, and former State Senator, Jason Carter

Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal (R) who is currently lagging behind in the polls to Democratic Candidate, and former State Senator, Jason Carter

Democrats are not exempt. As I run this campaign for Georgia State Senate, I too see where we as a party, have allowed the tactics of the GOP to intimidate our efforts to speak for the people we shop with, go to sporting events with, attend church each sunday with and so on. We’ve been forced to recruit the big names at the top of the ballot with the hopes that they’ll drive traffic and more votes down ballot on Election Day instead of cultivating ideas and a winnable strategy. Thank heavens, Jason Carter, the former State Senator and our current nominee for Governor, is actually the best man on the ballot this year or we’d be in serious trouble.  I know he will represent the same kind of political shift in the State of Georgia that Obama did in his first run.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I want to serve with Jason to get it done. Intimidated by the GOP’s redistricting, which for those who don’t know what that is, whichever party is in the majority at the time, usually every 5 or 10 years, you get to move the congressional district lines any place you like.

The purpose of that is to muscle out your opposition or make it difficult for that individual to win because you’ve moved the lines to exclude his or her likely voters. Obama’s first contribution to the electoral map was his dominance of portions of that map that he never should have won or even come close in. His first change will always be known to be how the infamous “battleground states”, long known to be absolutely necessary for reaching the required 270 electoral votes for victory, were different than they were before.

The nation readies itself for the second coming of HIllary

The nation readies itself for the second coming of HIllary

He has shown Hillary Clinton, how to win. He has laid out the new rules that say, instead of getting ready for the country, let them get ready for you. What this party has to do however is don’t just get ready for her, but make her job effective by not walking away from the tough State races where legislation at the state level drives the nation. What we cannot afford to do is put another outstanding President in The White House but then walk away from our own duties. Focusing on the people in our districts, in our states and the needs they have, to be believe and support their elected leaders is the only way we can be effective for them.

I am one the biggest supporters of the Ready For Hillary movement, yet we have to be careful that we don’t concede this president to the opposition who would have nothing better to enjoy but to watch his demise. The politics has changed and we have to change with it. There is no race to small for moving the state to purple. You can never get to blue, until strategize toward purple.

Barack Obama has allowed us to see that Red is not forever Red and Purple is not eternally such. The people of the 6th deserve a knock at the door and I will do it. They deserve a conversation and a seat at the table so this battle is not my own, but ours.

This is not about money alone, but also the need to find a place of reason. Not just in my race, but statewide as well as across the nation. It is now okay to talk about giving those who have worked hard in the country, who have contributed to its greatness, an opportunity to become a part of it officially.

There’s no reason why we can’t find a way to get this done. How can we enforce the laws that are already on the books with regard to ensuring no endangerment of everyone’s right to vote freely and with ease. How can we provide the opportunity for those who work hard to enjoy a fair wage to live on? Surely, we can phase this in without causing pain to the small business owner.  In the balance we hope to apply to the process, let us also find equality.

Most certainly, my opponent should desire my son who was born with special needs, an opportunity to have insurance coverage for his care, and not grant insurance companies a way out.  Standing with Governor Deal to not expand Medicaid is not where the people of the state of Georgia are.

Georgians like me never wanted insurance for free, we just wanted you to be forced to sell it to me. That’s equality.  Change has come a great distance, but we are not there yet.  Nationally, we project a confidence as a party of the people, but wont knock on a neighbor’s door in a School Board race. We can’t fight from the corners. Let’s get engaged in the process. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

Antron Johnson

Georgia State Senate

AntronGASenate.com

The People’s Campaign: Antron Johnson, Georgia State Senate 2014

Hello. My Name is Antron Johnson and I am running to serve as the next Georgia State Senator in District 6, representing portions of both Fulton and Cobb counties. This is truly a unique opportunity to seek additional ways to serve our community and our great state.

There’s so much more of what this campaign doesn’t have, however, what we do have is the power of those who have had no effective representation to date. I will speak for them. They’re voices have power and I will work tirelessly to galvanize that power to unite our community and empower the true greatness of Georgia.

The time is now to stand up and become the leaders we so desperately need. I launched this candidacy in the face of great opposition because a stronger voice for economic recovery, inequality on every level and simply put…jobs jobs jobs. We cannot afford to simply rest on the laurels of our past military experiences, we must find a way to be vocal about what our constituents and their families require to survive. There is a way to get these things done and with your support, with your vote, I will do it.

Why should I be the next Georgia State Senator? A true advocate for Immigration Reforms will work to once and for all address the real focus needed for those working to build the very same port in Savannah that so many have lauded.

Opening the door for Temporary Work Visas but not for those who want better and are willing to work for it is a one-sided policy that favors inequality. Let’s find a way to truly have an open and honest discussion about our neighbors who want to be apart of the greatness in this state that they help to build.

I have spent a great deal of time in Savannah and I know and support the efforts that are underway, but you can’t be for one and not the other. Tolerance is not a good word. it implies we will accept the bad for the sake of the good, as opposed to just doing the right thing.

Why should I be the next Georgia State Senator? Voting Rights issues are not going away anytime soon so we need a representative in place who will not be more concerned with party affiliations than speaking for those who have the ultimate responsibility in selecting and supporting those they wish to represent them. Every vote should count, period.

I believe every voter should be able to be validated. What we must do is work to define that validation process on real life issues and not inter-party talking points for a national agenda being farmed out to the states for cover of a grass-root, organic ploy.

Those groups can focus on their own politics, while you and I work to remove the frustrations as well as ensuring we elect someone who will speak for you when politics takes over the policy. By adding my name to the conversation, I know several things for certain. First, we can do better. We have already been accused of being a “token campaign” against a one term State Senator who won the seat just one year ago. How that makes what we intend to do “token-like” I am not certain, but what I do know is with your help, the conversation will change to include a much wider audience; one not invited in the last election cycle.

They say all politics is local and I couldn’t agree more. This is about our community, our schools and our children. This effort is about Marriage Equality, Income Equality, Economic Growth for the State and Opportunity for our families. This campaign is about the people I am running to represent and the things I hear them say each and every day. This is about small businesses in our community who need the same relief its employees require.

There is a way to get this done, you just have to want it. I do and I know you do as well. Who needs a gun at church or on a college campus? They think we do, I think not. As the campaign rages on, I look forward to speaking on the things that matter most to you.

Today, in anticipation of our trajectory, we are redesigning the presentation of this campaign to exclusively include the “people”. This is not about me, but instead, the people of my district and the people of Georgia.

Continue to leave your messages for me, join this campaign so your voice is finally heard under the gold dome. I am Antron Johnson and I am running to serve as your next Georgia State Senator.
Follow me: PoliticianNextDoor.com, AntronGASenate.com and on Twitter @PoliticsNxtDoor. Feel free to contact me at 1-844-840-7134 (toll free).

GOP Principles Steer Them To National Losses

I do believe there are some out there, i.e. Rand Paul, who would like to have a go at the WH by tripping into history by promising a big reform/repeal agenda for his base but instead find a practical balance in governing. The only way to know if I am right is to nominate and elect the GOP Senator from Kentucky, but then again, do we really want to take that chance?

What he doesn’t have is his father’s “movement coalition of youthful voters”, nor does he have the necessary chunk of independent voters nationally that would be required to galvanize the electricity necessary to dethrone the Ready For Hillary monarchy that’s growing small electoral kingdoms throughout the nation; the recent pod, planted at University of Miami, where the legitimate Queen of the ‘Cracked Ceiling’ will make a rare appearance.

There is no room for the Texas sized Cruz, the GOP firebrand who personally led the Republican House over a cliff of his own making last fall over the highly anticipated rollout of the Affordable Care Act on October 1. Sen. Cruz encouraged the House members to stand their ground against the legislation to the point of shutting down the federal government for 17 days, although he himself voted along with his colleagues in democrat-controlled upper chamber. His quasi low profile is a natural result of their [House GOP] perceived anger with the Senator for using them for his own gain like political pawns; but it worked, for him.

Christie, in New Jersey has his own problems as we’re all aware of. The scandals, perceived or factual are not going away anytime soon if dems are lucky or innovative enough. No need to beat the Christie horse brand beyond its own moaning death. Just remember, political timing can be undone by the appearance of a smoking gun for anyone who is not Bill Clinton.

Although the jury is still out on where the New Jersey Governor goes from here and how well he pivots, the money will definitely stop coming in for his potential candidacy in 2016 until the smoke clears and there definitely is a lot of it.

As we scour the nation for a likely un-Palin-like candidate, the well is shallow. Dems however must not overplay the hand it has been dealt or assembled. The idea is this-If you knew you were going to lose, what would your stand against the liberal agenda look like? Would you become more principled, for principle’s sake? Losing with style and grace as a republican only further divide’s the nation.

Former Congressman Ron Paul's youthful movement won't translate to his son, Sen. Rand Paul.

Former Congressman Ron Paul’s youthful movement won’t translate to his son, Sen. Rand Paul.

Republicans have a high wire performance to conduct and it begins now. They have to figure out a way to stand against abortion without getting into the weeds on birth control-not likely. This technically plays right into the hands of the fight the dems have waged through 2012 against Team Mitt, the infamous “War on Women”. You can’t have a Pro-Life fight without wading into the Women’s Rights political flank of terror.  The in-fighting has taken on a Ringling Brothers quality as they Tea Party candidates look to “primary” Republicans for key seats at a time the GOP is looking to solidify its control in the House and gain seats in the Senate.

Principles, as Mr. Romney believed, were the only way the conservatives in America could “win their country back“. He moved his politics from the Center to the Right to win the nomination and then began the hard slog back to the middle only to be beat down by 47% of the nation he was attempting to wrestle ‘his America back from.

Principles that are guided through hurt and harm to any large swath of America can never heal half for the sake of the whole. Principles are the new No for the GOP in 2016. As Republicans fight against other Conservatives (Once, all the same thing, but now very different) for the control of the anti-liberal agenda, they must also wage a counter offensive against Democrats on a national plateau, one they have lost consistently since 2004.

Republicans have to determine if this fight will be a principled one; one which permits Ted Cruz and Rand Paul a chance at bat for the Republican nomination to simply “change the conversation” in America, typically a defeatist platform, or will 2016 be a chance for grown ups from both parties’ to hash out their agendas for the nation with real issues? Christie won’t win the nomination until he can dispatch Paul and the rest of the Paulites. That won’t be easy with his current troubles.

Paul won’t win the nomination until he is able to blend his Libertarian views with those in his party, but first we need to see which party Mr. Paul identifies most with, the Tea Party or the Republican Party. Both are fighting for their own independence from each other so there is much work to do. The Junior Senator from Kentucky has a better shot at becoming the Senior Senator after the ’14 midterms than President in ’16.

Here’s the deal, much has been made of the cosmetic changes the RNC is making of late, but when you look to pair those with pending legislation in Committee or near the floor; either of them, you see two very different directions the GOP is heading down. It’s getting harder and harder to “take back” anything when the American people are no longer willing to “give it back”. Free Market Principles are not as appealing to the have nots, especially when they now believe those principles steal from them and give to the haves. When you can, as former President George W. Bush said, “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system”, it clearly says, the principles have not helped, but instead, hurt “the system”. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

PoliticianNextDoor.com
Antron Johnson for Georgia Senate

Is A Helicopter Ride Easier for Obama?

We couldn’t help but ask, for tonight’s short commute from The White House to the U.S. Capital building where the President, like so many before him, is expected to give his 5th State of the Union address is worth all the traffic fuss. Would a short flight on Marine One, Obama’s presidential helicopter, be more convenient?

Surely the safety of the President and the First Family is always paramount, however, with that aside, is the normal 25+ car motorcade necessary and efficient for such a short trip? The only time it seems we see Marine One at the Capital is every four years on January 20 when a president is inaugurated during the change of powers. The departing president is helicoptered to Andrews Air Force base for an awaiting, last official flight home aboard Air Force One.

Former President George W. Bush aboard Marine One, 2008 following the Inauguration of Barack Obama

Former President George W. Bush aboard Marine One, 2008 following the Inauguration of Barack Obama

Several networks as well as CSPAN carry the live motorcade carrying the President, but is any of this necessary?  The 1.7 mile haul is certainly not the figurative slog in as much as it may be perceived ideologically, yet the 7 min drive often is as distant as the east is as from the west.   Used as an opportunity for the sitting president to come before the Congress and the American public to lay out the agenda of the Executive branch. These are merely proposals the president will generally make as well as touting the previous years’ accomplishments.  However important his or her (@Readyforhillary) presence may be, is the motorcade on nights like tonight, more pomp than efficiency?

That’s my story and um sticking to it.

PoliticianNextDoor.com
Antron Johnson for Georgia

What Do You Think: State of the Union

A Union Divided

It may be odd to some that Speaker Boehner comes across as more “laid back” in his role as Leader of the House GOP and as reported in Politico, the Speaker appears to finally “be enjoying his job”. After three years, John Boehner (R) Ohio, is finally hitting “hitting his stride” as it is being told? He has recently publicly accepted his defaulted role as the driver of the bus that ran over the American economic system last fall during the federal government shutdown and now admits his party was the dog that Ted Cruz (R), the Senator of Texas wagged by its electoral tail.

It was October 2013 and the world according the Boehner looked horridly different, not just from the American populous as a whole-the world for that matter, but also from his own stance. It was then the Speaker said, I would rather throw a grenade than catch one”, when he was speaking about pulling back from the proverbial bargaining table to exact the eventual collapse of his parties’ ridiculous effort over the Affordable Care Act rollout, which was already under way by 15 days.

Although Boehner finally has seen the light through his fool’s errand. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary. We cannot do this again”. What I find amazing is, McCain, the Maverick, went on to say, “We, Republicans, have a hole that we’ve got to come out of and obviously we’re going to have to do a lot of work.”

First, clearly the Speaker has worked to climb from this abysmal hole and found a political place of zen, but how has his party faired? Not so good publicly as they continue to avoid the tough decisions. The Republicans often pride themselves on straight talk yet they continue to water down, stall or delay the tough fights ahead for the sole purpose of self preservation.

With the midterm elections approaching, we are seeing major setbacks both in statewide races where the balance of power an be easily tilted and nationally, where the conservatives are seeking a path to control both houses of the legislature. For example, a key decision by Republicans just beginning to see the light of day this morning would permit immigrants to have legal status, but not citizenship” is being swatted away by their own party for the sake of avoiding “internal party ruptures” before next November.

Mitt Romney on Income Inequality: "...they are jealous".

Mitt Romney on Income Inequality: “…they are jealous”.

Pick an issue and you will find the conservatives are more at odds with themselves than, Obama, the Democrats or the scorned “liberal media”. They have identified themselves as a minority by alienating themselves from the rest of the electorate. America is no longer watching with interest; there no longer is interest in whether they will find consensus on a national agenda. It’s just as easy for the public to go with the already proven stereotype of Boehner’s wayward army.

Secondly, as McCain mentioned, has his party done the ‘work to “come out of” the ‘hole they were in just last fall? President Barack Obama and the democrats have been more successful in moving into their legislative posture for the midterms which has kept the Left on their heels when it comes to messaging. While the GOP is attempting to right themselves on last year’s messaging debacle and the shutdown, dems have pushed on to another intangible, inequality. Intangible because the GOP has to do all the heavy lifting to prove they are in fact for the equality of all Americans and lets face it, many of their positions, leave out many voters.

So while Immigration is a mountain that has grown from the 2008 mole hill of Obama’s first campaign, republicans still fight over how to define it and not come out as losers, as if, they haven’t already. It seems no one has told them, that going into yet another presidential election with nothing in place puts your party at war with itself, not America. There has been no hard work performed yet that would change the trajectory of the conservative party in national elections.

Why would dems use inequality at this point? It’s a treasure trove of goodies that will cause the GOP to stumble as they attempt to explain their opposition to any and everything. Republicans have yet to figure out how to deal with themselves and what they identify as their “principles”. Romney, as a presidential candidate in 2012 said he believed that those who were concerned with income inequality were just jealous. No, he really said, “You know, I think it’s about envy.

When talking up Immigration, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has shifted in light of his potential 2014 presidential bid, that the 11 million undocumented workers currently in country should be (see his new word…) “normalized”. What the Senator wants to do is split the atom by not giving these workers “amnesty” or forgiveness for breaking the law and entering illegally although many of them weren’t responsible for being in the country, but instead their parents since they brought in as children. Normalization would require them to pay taxes, receive work visas but not be provided citizenship. Something dems would never stand for because it leaves these undocumented workers as “Non-voters”, which is the only thing the principled republicans are most concerned with.

The State of our Union is broken, not just from Washington, D.C., not just the Republican Party and not just the widening gap between the rich and the poor, but any legislative action the President takes is likely to further divide the Union of governance because the governing in America as a whole has become nothing but divided. Obama is not solely responsible for this, but Speaker Boehner and his caucus of GOP lawmakers in the House share most of the blame. Although The Speaker skips a new step with his increased confidence in the job he has been elected to do, twice now, Obama also looks to reassure Americans that he is not so ‘lame yet.

Principles will be the message of 2014, but more havoc is the gift politicians will gleefully hand over to the electorate as we lurch toward another midterm election which is only a Golden Globe’s styled preview to the race of 2016. This is that year where dems rollout there “inequality” message and republicans present their talking points of Obama’s “go it alone” strategy through Executive Orders. This process is broken, it needs a fresh breath of honesty and transparency. That’s my story and um sticking to it.

PoliticianNextDoor.com
Antron Johnson for GA

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