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Let me state that an investigation of the election process has been instituted.
There is no nice way to put this… Last Thursday night Democrats got their butts kicked. Democrats lost race after race to Republicans.
These are people who have political names that are deeply rooted in Memphis history: Ford, Wilbun, and Johnican. These are skilled professionals: Wade, Newman, and Maclin. These are respected community leaders: Thompson, Dixon and Becton. How could they have all lost?
What occurred was what is called the perfect storm. Basically it was different elements coming together to create a major event. These elements were:
1. Strong Republican turn out,
2. White Democrats crossing over to vote for Republican candidates,
3. A low number of black Democrats voting.
Now that I have told you what happened I will now share with you why I think it did happen.
Strong Republican turn out…
Herenton decision to enter the race against Cohen was suppose to make this the “Battle of the Century.” Many Democratic candidates where hoping this would electrify the base and insure a heavy turn out. They were partly correct. Herenton’s entry did turn out the base – the Republican base. Resentment by whites and an opportunity to give our former mayor his first defeat motivated many Willie enemies to vote.
The Republican have been working very hard. For them the 2010 elections are the testing ground for the 2012 Presidential Race. If this is an example of what’s to come, we Democrats need to get our act together and fast.
White Democrat cross over…
Local Republicans have been toning down their rhetoric and have brazenly campaigned in what would have been considered strong Democratic areas. SCDP Chair Van Turner said, “We are at a crossroads in this community. The Democratic Party is the only political organization in this community which actually forces you to walk the walk when it comes to racial solidarity and unity. The Democratic Party is the only political organization in this county which by the very definition of its core values and principles, invites the Midtown or East Memphis suburbanite white voter to vote for a Whitehaven or Orange Mound inner city black candidate and visa versa. You are not merely allowed to talk a good game, but we ask you to walk the walk by putting your vote where you say you mind, heart and beliefs are. In other words, we put principles into practice.”
The Party put out a slogan “We all win if you vote for all TEN” the ten being the candidates above plus Steve Mulroy.
This was a real test of how committed the white Democratic base was to the Party. Would whites vote for an overwhelmingly black slate? SCDP is going to have to do more to win the trust and support of whites. At the same time there are some whites that have a problem with black control and they are just going to have to get over it. There is clear racial tension and mistrust within the Party must be addressed.
Low Black turn out…
We can blame white democrats who didn’t vote for black democratic candidates, we can blame lack of support from key candidates, we can blame problems with the voting system, heck we can even blame the heat – but in the end low turn out of black Democratic voters has to be addressed. I started ringing the alarm right after the Primary when over 80 percent of registered voters in my area failed to vote.
What I’m hearing is that many of these voters don’t know what to do. This City has been a political machine for so long voters are accustomed to being told who to vote for. Since the election of Herenton back in 1991 the machine system has been on life support and many will agree it has died. Personally I’m happy to hear this because for a political machine to work, voters can’t be free thinkers. Now there are some who are trying to make the Party the new machine where it will select which Democrats will run for office. I’m vehemently opposed to this.
I have contacted Van Turner and have expressed the need for the Party to focus on voter education, not so much voter registration, but truly working to civically involve the public. Say what you will about the Tea Party, but you have to give it to them when it comes to motivating the base. Going out with the sole purpose of registering people to vote does not insure they will. If we educate voters and engage them in the process not only will they vote but also make better choices.
Well that’s my opinion, what’s yours?