U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in a position to attract Democratic Party votes

By Saba Long

In the spring, I sat down with a good friend – a white, male Millennial — to discuss, among many things, electoral politics.

In the course of the conversation, he expressed his indifference towards Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter. That’s when I knew it was a goner, and Gov. Nathan Deal would end his political career undefeated.

Compelling messaging married with authentic action matters to voters, regardless of party. With Deal’s opponent lacking both, the governor’s camp smartly navigated their way to a resounding win.

Across the country, Democratic candidates for office and reelection ran away from numbers too big to ignore, mostly because they were achieved by the Obama administration. The candidates and the party did a poor job convincing swing voters – Millenials, Independents – and their base.

In Georgia, a candidate running away from President Barack Obama was the proverbial elephant in the room at Democratic gatherings. There has been quite a bit of bellyaching and Monday morning quarterbacking going on in Democratic circles, along with a Twitter debate last week.

Under an Obama Administration, we’ve seen a record of Initial public offerings, corporate profits are through the roof, and the unemployment rate is below 7 percent. All these facts never used in a Democratic campaign.

Who’s hoping to pick up support from a division in the Democratic ranks?

U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

Just weeks ago, the junior Senator from Kentucky sat with an intimate and diverse group of Georgia voters as part of his targeted, yearlong listening tour.

Sen. Paul was a recent guest on “Real Time With Bill Maher” in what appeared to be part of a strategy to win Maher’s future endorsement.
He deviated from the Republican Party on a variety of topics, including taking a stand against further military action in the Middle East and calling off the “war on drugs.”

Paul even flirted with addressing climate change.

“We need more energy, and maybe cleaner energy will supplant less clean energy over time — and it already is — but I don’t think that shutting down dramatically one form of energy is a good idea for an economy,” Paul said.

Translation: I’m voting for the Keystone XL Pipeline, however, I’ll listen to your concerns.

While Paul is singing the right tune to attract new voters to the Republican Party, the question remains will Democrats across the country do anything differently.

If they learn any lessons from the 2014 shellacking, they will.

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.

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