Nov 7 2012
11:28 am

Tennessee bucks the trend, doubling down on the tea party agenda as the rest of the country rejects right-wing anarchy.

Tom Humphrey breaks down Tennessee's race to the bottom, facilitated in large part by GOP redistricting. To the victors go the spoils. Again.

Lest there be any doubt about how hard-core Tennessee has become, voters sent the 4th District Philanderer back to Washington. In the process, Tennessee conservatives abdicated the "family values" they claim to represent. All you need to win in this state is an R after your name.

The TNDP is strangely silent this morning. Perhaps they were up late celebrating fake Democrat Mark Clayton's relatively strong showing at the polls. (Here's his "victory speech.") He received more than 700,000 votes, or 30.4%, which outperformed some of the actual Democrats in State House races and the real Democrats running for Senate in Maine, Wyoming and Utah.

The national Republican party is licking its wounds this morning while trying to figure out where they went wrong last night. Perhaps they will make Tennessee a case study on how you do it. Here's a hint: Our secret sauce is keeping Tennessee near the bottom in education. It also helps to keep the media in your back pocket.

Go Vols!

Andy Axel's picture

RE: Clayton... So there's

RE: Clayton... So there's about a 30% baseline of D support statewide. Throw in a couple of percentage points for write-in's, no-votes, and those who went for Martin Pleasant, and you're at maybe 15 points to a statewide win.

Maybe not so dire.

Min's picture

I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of Tennesseans.

Not because they vote Republican, but because they are not informed by facts and are pretty content to remain ignorant. This is no doubt a function of the sad state of our education system and our citizenry's over-reliance on the pulpit, instead of the science text.

And it has no chance of getting any better, with a Republican supermajority in the General Assembly.

bizgrrl's picture

We received a thank you note

We received a thank you note this morning from a person that provides services in the neighborhood. They thanked us for our Obama/Biden sign. They went on to say, "It took a great deal of courage to show blue in such a red area. Thank you for making me feel a bit less isolated."

Such is Blount County. If it wasn't for the Ciies of Alcoa and Maryville, Blount County would lead in the race to the bottom.

Here's a shout out to the person who left the note. Thank you. We appreciate you taking the time to write us a note. It does feel lonely, but you are not alone. Our numbers are growing.

reform4's picture

X-posted from other thread, but applicable.

I heard someone opine that with its looming demographic shift, Texas will soon become a swing state, and eventually solidly blue (assuming the Democrats remain aligned with the Hispanic community).

THAT is what's going to be the issue that eventually reforms the GOP. I see their only hope is embracing the libertarian wing, especially the youth, who are intellectually consistent with the 'smaller government' and apply it equally to social issues.

The evangelicals are going to get jettisoned soon, and as it turns out, they are a demographic dying breed as well (those identifying themselves as 'evangelical' are on a SHARP downturn).

For Tennessee, the only question is- how long will it take for us to catch up with this national trend?

Andy Axel's picture

reform4: It only took about

reform4: It only took about 140 years for the Republicans to overtake the majority in Tennessee. Most of the GOP effort really started to show returns around 1996 (Sasser v. Frist) and the wheels came off in 2000 (Gore lost the electoral votes of his home state).

The problem is that the institutional crap that the incumbent D's put in place over a series of seven generations or so is now biting back against them, hard. All of the patronage is gone, there is only one statewide office (governor), and the Republicans now control all the levers that the Democrats had so effectively monopolized for so long and used to their advantage to keep the GOP on the outside looking in. Now the roles are flipped. Bitter karma, that. But the truth (at least insofar as I've observed) is that the Democrats in this state weren't big on little-d democracy.

I think it's going to require a deeper bench (Dean and Rogero being a couple of fine persons to bring forward), and it's going to take some serious reckoning on the part of the state party.

And being a D in this state is going to have to mean something other than being as pro-gun, anti-choice, and as homophobic as their Republican peers. Democrats need branding. Badly.

The sad thing is that among identity groups, the GOP is making huge strides ahead of the Democrats among elected women. Quick, name the last woman Democrat from Tennessee elected to federal office...

Rachel's picture

Diane Black?

Diane Black?

Andy Axel's picture

She calls herself a

She calls herself a conservative Republican in all of her materials, so...

Rachel's picture

Crap. Sorry. I read that

Crap. Sorry. I read that too fast and missed the "Democrat" part.


Do we have to go all the way back to Marilyn Lloyd?

Andy Axel's picture

That's about the size of it.

That's about the size of it.

Somebody's picture

That's not happening anytime soon

You posted this on another thread, where I already replied to it.

jbr's picture

I don't know as much many

I don't know as much as many folks here on the topic, but Madeline Rogero, and Andy Berke seem like unusually good resources on which the state Democratic Party could use as models to which to aspire.

They both could get crossover votes, because they seem to be such good choices. Regardless of your party.

Gloria Johnson seems like she may be cut from a similar cloth to some extent. An initial impression.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Kim McMillan

Kim McMillan had (has) great promise. I don't know what the party elders were thinking - pushing someone whose crowning achievement is being a beer distributor - in the bible belt no less. I don't care who your daddy is.

Then there's Kurita - show one bit of independance and you are shown the door. Well Tennesseans are independant people, maybe we might like independant candidates.

fischbobber's picture

Party leaders and Kim McMillan


It would appear that Democratic party leaders are more concerned about maintaining power than they are serving the average member of the party.

Andy Axel's picture

If they're concerned about

If they're concerned about maintaining power, they should focus on winning elections.

fischbobber's picture

Fighting for nickels

Perhaps if the party would focus on fundraising and let the candidates focus on campaigning instead of fighting for nickels, we would be winning the election.

If one looks at this election, the biggest hurdle faced by Democrats is that we tend to run working people against professional politicians. The challenges faced by someone who has to actually get up and go to work every day when running against someone who spends all their time schmoozing and politicking are the primary challenges that are defeating democrats. Until the party recognizes that there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and that the people on the donor lists are each only going to give so much, we will continue to feed off each other.

We need to explore expanded and different models for our party structure.

reform4's picture


as a former candidate, you hit the nail on the head.

Min's picture


Excellent point.

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