Become an 1819 Member
The Alabama Democratic Party has struggled to gain political momentum since it last held legislative majorities in 2010, and that's partly due to continued infighting and dissension among the ranks.
The party’s inner troubles boiled over last Monday when party chairman Randy Kelley sent a memo to members of the Alabama Democratic Party's Executive Committee and county chairs where he criticized vice-chair Tabitha Isner for allegedly trying to “undermine” the party and his authority.
In an appearance on this week's broadcast of "Capitol Journal," Isner addressed the discord within her party and discussed what it might take to unite the competing factions and move the party forward.
"It is about race. It's also about generations, about kind of an old guard and a new guard," Isner said, describing the divide in the party. "I think it's difficult when some people see it as a generational divide and some see it as a racial divide, so we have trouble sometimes even describing the problem in the same way. But certainly, I think the solution is obvious, that we need to work together. But that's so much easier said than done, of course."
Isner said the party wants to be united but for the personal and political obstacles standing in the way.
"I don't know anyone in the Alabama Democratic Party who doesn't want to see the party unite," she said. "I don't know anyone who's in the older crew who doesn't want young people at the table. I don't know anyone in the white party who doesn't want black people at the table and vice versa.
"We all want to be together. What stands in our way are old tapes that play in our heads, historical realities about how we've treated one another, and a general fear that people have of being disenfranchised.”
Isner said this fear leads to a lack of willingness to work together.
"[W]hen everyone's coming to the table afraid of losing their seat at the table, people have their hands clutched onto their seats rather than having their hands extended to talk to one another.”
"So what we're seeing is a lot of defensive maneuvering instead of proactive effort to move the party forward."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.