Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tennessee's White Democrats Lose Power

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Otis Sanford has an interesting column about over at the Commercial-Appeal about the demise of white Democrats. And to some degree, I agree with him.

Let's start with the part I agree with him on:

What [Memphis Democrat Mike] Cody and others who agree with him mean by that is that population shifts in Memphis and the GOP-controlled legislative redistricting have created a scenario where it will be extremely difficult for a white Democrat — other than [Jim] Kyle for the moment — to get elected to House and Senate seats.

I think this is right. Even if we had a competent Democratic party, you simply can't go through these past two elections and think that Democrats are about to get back into power. And we don't have a competent Democratic party.

But something still nags at me. You can read the primaries as an indication that Tennessee is deeply conservative, so conservative that they threw moderate Republicans out of office — and if you do, I concede you may be right. And so we are about to dip so far down into the red that we're never coming back around. And, yes, most of the time, I think this is the most plausible explanation.

But what if people are just pissed with how things are going in the state? If they're just floundering around for someone to vote for who's not the asshole in office now, why wouldn't that occasionally benefit Democrats?

A lot of smart people in this state seem to view the political spectrum as a straight line, with the assumption being that you could get so far right that it would, in effect, make you completely impervious to Democrats, because they'd just be so far away from you. But a lot of political stuff comes full circle. You can see it when the very same politicians who want less government argue for stricter laws on reproductive rights. They say they're against big, intrusive government, but their actions show there are cases when they think big, intrusive government is just fine.

And obviously, reproductive issues are where a lot of liberal women find their inner libertarians.

Or with military spending. "Spending is out of control!" — except that we can't touch that part of the budget. Or we love big social programs that work and employ a ton of people, but we need to slash the military budget.

You see what I mean?

So as a Democrat, I feel justified in being mightily depressed about the state of the Democratic party. But if I were a Republican, I wouldn't be resting easy.

Voters are fickle. And they can find something to like and/or hate in just about anyone.

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