Did Disdain for Trump Sink GOP?

I have some “quibbles” with what the Shelby GOP Chair was peddling yesterday at the Lunch Hour Republican Club concerning our devastating losses in the Aug. 2 election.

I can appreciate that Republicans in Memphis were not as enthused about the local election as they should have been. I understand that there were not enough people involved to help out with campaigns. I can understand that many of us were complacent while the Democrats were motivated by a revved up dislike of President Trump.

What I don’t agree with is that Republicans stayed home because of a dislike of President Trump. I heard Chairman Mills pushing this theory even before the meeting started. I heard him say that he had not voted for Trump in the primary and Trump was just not popular here.

This is the second time I’ve heard someone blame our losses on Trump.

Sorry, but it’s too easy and it’s not true.

First, Trump carried Shelby County in the 2016 presidential primary. Trump won by about 1,000 votes. Perhaps a disdain has carried over by the old guard who went for Cruz and Rubio.

In other recent elections, the candidates of the old line GOP are losing to the Trump backed ones. As the President himself noted, he’s been 7 for 7 in his election support. The candidates he backs get elected. Look at Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota. The old guard liked him, but the once popular governor went down in flames after he dissed Trump. In elections in 2017, Trump pushed his people to the finish line time after time, except for the one off weird Alabama Senate election.

Could it be that it carries down to the local level, too?

Statewide on Aug. 2, Republicans did well in the primary. Republican Marsha Blackburn got twice as many votes as Democrat Phil Bredesen in the Senate race. Turnout was good. It was just in Shelby County that it wasn’t.

There’s a disdain out there for the Trump voter and a lack of understanding among Democrats and the Old GOP guard that probably deterred Republicans from the polls. I know in Midtown, our club president early expressed how much he disliked Trump. It kept me and many others from attending a meeting where we are considered unsophisticated, politically ignorant rubes.

Chairman Mills hinted at this when he disclosed that many people were bored with the “recycled candidates” aka the Old Guard we put up. I can understand that. These were the standard people who didn’t appear to offer anything new. They lacked the energy and messaging the Trump voter wanted.

There was also a palpable defeatism present in the room yesterday; as if loss was inevitable, given the demographics of the county. That, too, was manifested in the campaigns. When the CA put out a terrible article on David Lenoir, contrasted with the saintly Lee Harris on a Sunday’s front page, there doesn’t appear to have been any push back on it. We were afraid of attacking the Democrats and the implied racism it entails, so we didn’t/don’t.

Ditto the squabble over the Election Commission polls. We’re going to have to go to offense from now on and stop with the weak defense moves. Not much was made of Harris’ admission that he would raise taxes. When he touted the “Our Rev” movement (Our Revolution group embraced by socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Occasio Cortes) nothing was said about how radical they are. We just shrugged our shoulders.

And why did we put our confidence in a radio communications group that had run Ted Cruz’s campaign? Last I checked, he lost.

While I was getting daily emails from the Harris campaign (which I kept to see what they were up to), I didn’t hear much from the Lenoir team. Harris was asking for money frequently; a friend recounts she tried to go by the Lenoir headquarters three times to donate and no one was even there.

Disappointingly, not many questions were directed to the Chairman yesterday. Everyone seemed too whipped.

That’s bad because it would be better to have a no holes barred, free wheeling debate with lots of ideas exchanged. Inertia will never move us forward.

Obviously we need to have more than 200 people as dues paying members of the Shelby GOP in a pool of 200,000. That should be a priority.

We need a paid person to devote his work week solely to the development of the GOP here and to vet and recruit candidates. The $160,000 we spent on the campaign could easily have paid a salary and then some.

We’ll need new, energized people with confidence. That starts with new ideas.

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