If there is a more dysfunctional political organization anywhere among the world’s developed democracies than the Alabama Democratic Party, we have not seen it. Nor would we want to see it. We don’t like gawking at traffic accidents.
This past Saturday, Alabama Democrats met and elected state Rep. Christopher England, of Tuscaloosa, the party’s new chairman. He received 104 of 171 ballots cast at the meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee, the state party’s governing body, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.
That vote came after the committee’s roughly 175 members voted 172 to 0 to remove Chairwoman Nancy Worley and Vice Chair Randy Kelley.
But Worley, a former Alabama Education Association official and teacher in Decatur City Schools, isn’t giving up yet. Having clung to power so long, she’s not about to give it up, even if it means burning the party down.
“The true (State Democratic Executive Committee) members did not elect two new officers in our places today,” Worley said in a statement. “Randy and I look forward to continuing our leadership roles.”
Like some state Democratic organizations during the civil rights era, when the party in the South was divided between integrationist and segregationist factions, the Alabama Democratic Party has two rival governing bodies. One is recognized by the national party and is now led by England and Vice Chair Patricia Todd, a former state representative from Birmingham.
It also has the backing of Alabama’s only Democratic statewide elected official, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.
The other faction, the “government in exile,” if you will, is led by Worley.
Worley taught Latin in Decatur City Schools, so she ought to recognize a lost cause when she sees it. And hers is a lost cause.
The Democratic National Committee had already refused to ratify the delegate selection plan Worley submitted and had warned that the Alabama party was in danger of its delegates to next year’s Democratic National Convention being invalidated.
The Democrats’ national leadership has clearly had enough of Worley’s faction, which has presided over the Alabama Democratic Party’s slide into irrelevance and insolvency.
The state party’s woes have not been entirely the fault of its state leadership. The Democratic brand is as toxic in Alabama as the Republican brand was until just a few decades ago, and that is owing entirely to the national party.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is more popular in Alabama than in any other state.
No matter who is in charge of it, the Alabama Democratic Party has a herculean task ahead of it, starting with just helping to get Jones reelected to the Senate seat Republicans gifted him by nominating Roy Moore.
The only thing certain is the state party needs new blood, because the old guard sure isn’t getting it done.