Friday, November 18, 2016

Craig Ford: Time for accountability

  The election is over and now the real work begins. Part of that work means holding our leaders accountable for their promises and commitments, and both sides of the aisle have plenty to be held accountable for.

  Republicans now have absolute power across all branches of our federal and state government. Republicans have not had this much power since Reconstruction after the Civil War. We have a new president who has promised sweeping changes, and there is no one to stand in his way.

  Americans were clear when they voted that they want change. If change does not come, it will be because Republicans have failed to deliver.

  When we hold our next election two years from now in Alabama, we will need to look at what has happened and hold our leaders responsible if they have not delivered (or at least begun to deliver) on their promises.

  If the Republicans haven't built the wall on our border and made Mexico pay for it; if they haven't repealed and replaced Obamacare with something better and more affordable; if they haven't repealed the free trade agreements and brought manufacturing and textile jobs back to Alabama and the United States; and if they haven't bombed ISIS into submission, then we need to hold them accountable at the ballot box.

  But likewise, Democrats need to hold our own accountable.

  It was Democrats in the Alabama House of Representatives who passed the lottery bill that ultimately died in the state senate. And it was Rep. Richard Lindsey, a Democrat (and farmer) from Cherokee County, who added language to that lottery bill that would have brought thousands of dollars back to each and every volunteer fire department in the state.

  But unless you follow state politics closely or routinely read my Facebook posts and editorials, you never would have known that Democrats were the ones fighting for the lottery and rural Alabama fire departments. That's largely thanks to our state party failing to do its job.

  Nancy Worley and Joe Reed said their priority in this election was electing Hillary Clinton. You see how well that went!

  Minority turnout on Election Day was down. Hillary Clinton got less of the vote than any other Democratic presidential candidate has in Alabama in at least 20 years. And not only did Hillary lose, but so did almost every other Democrat in the state who had a competitive race (not that there were many competitive races, because Nancy and Joe not only failed to turn out the vote, but also failed to recruit candidates to vote for).

  The Democratic Party under Nancy Worley and Joe Reed's leadership has been an embarrassment and is on the cusp of extinction. Until I called for her and Joe Reed’s resignations, the only press attention Nancy Worley brought to Democrats was when she made the bizarre decision to write about how she got stuck on the toilet in a party newsletter. That's not the image anyone wants for their party, though it might be the most fitting metaphor for the state of the party under Nancy and Joe's leadership.

  Ask any number of previous Democratic Party donors and they will tell you they will not donate to the party as long as Joe Reed and Nancy Worley are there. No potential Democratic candidate wants to be associated with their image or have to explain to their friends and voters back home why they are in the same party as Joe Reed and Nancy Worley.

  Democrats have to hold ourselves accountable, just like the voters need to hold President-Elect Trump and the Republicans in Washington and Montgomery accountable. As the saying goes, "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." If Democrats keep Joe Reed and Nancy Worley, then we will continue to be nothing more than a closed chapter in Alabama's history textbooks.

  About the author: Representative Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden and the Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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