Four years ago Memphians were told by the CA how the August election was really looking bad for Republicans. A reporter painted such a gloomy picture for us that many believed it and took it for truth. The Dems, he said, were jubilant about their chances. They felt that President Obama was going to lead them to the promised electoral land. From county mayor to sheriff to court clerks, Dems were going to bulldoze us.
As we all know, that didn’t happen. 2010 was a disaster for them, not us. So do you hear much chest thumping from them now with the same election less than a month away?
No. It’s been deathly quiet on their side. In much of the city you barely see many Democrat yard signs. And their great hope, Judge Joe Brown, hasn’t been the vote magnet they expected.
In fact, he’s been a negative, as had County Commissioner Henri Brooks. Don’t believe me? Lefty Steve Ross has written a pre post mortem on his blog. He’s even talking triage. Here’s what Ross says:
So it was with both surprise and resignation that I saw reports around midnight Tuesday (going into Wednesday) of Judge Joe Brown’s ridiculous statements about DA Amy Weirich’s sexual orientation…
Bryan Carson, Chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee released a statement distancing the party from Brown’s out of line comments.
Back in March I stuck my neck out for Brown and now I wish I hadn’t. I’m not willing to say what happened in Juvenile Court that day was a stunt…but rather, it seems to be the behavior of a man who exercises no self control, who speaks before he thinks, and who either hasn’t found or doesn’t possess a line between his famous television persona and who he is as a person/candidate.
Its unfortunate… But Brown just can’t get past himself to actually do it…and that means another cycle of defeat for the folks who put their faith and trust in him, and eight more years of the aforementioned bad policies from the Shelby County District Attorney’s office…which will have devastating effects on people from all walks of life, but mostly poor minorities.
But lets not kid ourselves, Brown’s shenanigans in the wake of months of campaigning in absentia are just the beginning of the disappointments for this election cycle.
I started writing my post-mortem for this cycle a couple of weeks ago. It sounds premature, but considering the lack-luster effort brought by too many candidates on the Democratic slate (Brown included), and the Party’s inability to raise funds, I don’t see this ending well for candidates from my party.
There have been some exceptions. Deidre Malone’s campaign for Mayor has been active and effective. I’m not counting her out. She’s a smart lady, and a fighter.
Cheyenne Johnson has kept her campaign discipline this cycle as well. I think she has a good chance to win re-election.
On the Commission side, many candidates are running unopposed. Most of those that have opposition are in relatively safe districts. But District 13 is different. Its a split district on a good day. Candidate Dr. Jain has mounted an impressive effort. He’s a smart guy that the County Commission will need in the upcoming term.
I only hope that these smart candidates don’t get dragged down by the distractions that others on the slate have created. Guilt by association is a real thing in politics.
And the distractions have been far too many. Between Brown’s foibles, Henri Brooks’ shenanigans, and candidates running on name recognition alone rather than putting together a bona fide county campaign, its looking like its going to be a tough year for Democrats countywide.
Just after the County primary elections, I made a prediction about turnout placing it in the 130,000 range. What I didn’t say is that at 130k voters, Democrats are in a footrace in countywide elections. Its more likely most of them will lose. If you’ve heard me speak about turnout in Shelby County, you already knew this.
I didn’t explicitly say that in May because I wasn’t as sure as I am now. Based on what I’d observed in the primary, and the results…the 5000 Democrats who didn’t vote for Joe Brown, the 10,000 that didn’t vote for Bennie Cobb, the 12,000 that either didn’t participate, or didn’t vote for Henri Brooks…those are indicators that should have caused unease with Democratic leaders. I don’t see that a single Tums was consumed in the wake of those results…and no one asked me what I thought so… yeah.
Time to Triage
Democrats may make up 68% of the voting public in November, but only 20% of those Democrats show up in August. That makes every countywide race a serious contest.
At this point, Democrats need to be realistic, and focus their donations and volunteering efforts on the people who are actually trying to win.
Deidre and Cheyenne are the top prospects on the Countywide ballot.
For the Commission, Jain is the only candidate in a split district that could take a seat from the GOP, but Reginald Milton, in Dist. 10 has a 3-way race that could split in unpredictable ways. Both have been working hard in the community.
I’m not sure who a second tier might be at this time. So few have raised any money, its hard to tell who’s viable. Most of the Clerk campaigns seem to believe the (D) next to their name will help them coast to victory, which is both wrong and a big part of the problem.
Running for office is hard. If anyone knows it, I do. If I decide to run again, there are scores of things I will do differently.
I hope some of the candidates not mentioned take note, and get their organizations up and running in a hurry. Because theres (sic) no letter in the alphabet you can put next to your name that will get you instantly elected.
You have to show up, not show out, and prove to the public why you’re the best choice for the job.
Then you hear of further turmoil inside the Democrat party from Jackson Baker at the Flyer. He mentions that the Shelby County Democrat Executive Committee was called to the IBEW union to defend their judicial endorsements. They got kickback about not endorsing or backing their candidates in cases where they deemed them not up to the task. Some judicial candidates “grumbled” about a letter to the African American chapter of the Bar Association that urged them to consider race as the top factor in choosing people. They protested that Democrats were seeking a black slate of candidates.
Then you have the bad publicity of the local party chairmain, Bryan Carson, being arrested. Fox 13 reported: “Carson was arrested Wednesday during a traffic stop on a warrant for not paying a fine. That turned out to be from a failure to pay ticket he received in October 2013 that had been sitting on the books.”
Along with a lack of money afflicts their party.
Since all this the outlook has gotten worse with Henri Brooks continually in the news about her refusal to leave her County Commission seat due to residency disputes.
Entertaining, isn’t it?