Would you take advice from someone who hates you and wishes you complete failure and obliteration?
Didn’t think so, but that is what Ryan Poe expects Republicans to do. He writes the 9:01 which “is a coffee-fueled weekday column on all things Memphis” for online readers of the CA. In the January 28 episode he gives the Shelby GOP advice on how to win in the future. We all know the media always has Republicans in their best interest, right?
And wouldn’t you take advice from an employee of a company that is failing badly, both here and across the country? Gannett just days ago laid off people nationwide, as did many other media outlets. Obviously, their failed model should inspire us to do what they advise. This also comes from someone, who, if he was that perceptive, would recognize it’s time to get off the sinking USS Commercial Appeal.
Last year, Democrats embarrassed the Republican Party of Shelby County by winning every countywide office, reversing their own embarrassing showing eight years before.
The sting of those losses are still fresh as local Republicans prepare to choose a new slate of party officers — including a new chairman — during their regular, bi-annual reorganization in a county-wide convention at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Arlington High.
Chairman Lee Mills confirmed this morning that he won’t seek reelection. Party vice-treasurer Chris Tutor, an attorney specializing in corporate and real estate law, is the only candidate who has publicly announced plans to seek the party’s top seat.
The convention gives Republicans an opportunity to take stock of why they lost so badly in 2018 — and how they can bounce back in 2020. First, here are the GOP’s hurdles:
Party polarization. President Donald Trump is one of the most polarizing presidents in recent U.S. history, according to Pew Research Center. And more polarization means less crossover. If you have less crossover, then in a Democratic county like Shelby — where 61 percent of county voters picked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 — Democrats will generally win.
Choice of candidates. Democrats fielded a slate of likable, diverse candidates in 2018. The result? What became known as a “Pink wave” and “Black Girl Magic.” Women won six of 10 countywide elections, and four of those women were black.
Communication, organization and vision. After years of squabbles and too few results, the Shelby County Democratic Party was forcibly disbanded in 2016. In contrast, the Republicans seemed to have their act together, as evidenced by the past two countywide elections. But in retrospect, the reorganization of the SCDP came at exactly the right time. While the streamlined SCDP presented a unified front and worked toward common goals last year, Republican officials privately complained about a lack of communication, organization and vision from party leaders. One example of that breakdown was how close Republicans came to choosing Keith Alexander — who had ties to white nationalists and had said inflammatory things about Martin Luther King Jr. and black ministers “preying” on women — as their nominee in the assessor’s race.
So, how do Republicans make 2020 competitive? They need to present a unifying vision, proffer a slate of candidates with diverse races and backgrounds and refresh old power structures.
They also need a message that energizes their base yet still attracts new voters, and especially younger voters. Outgoing chairman Mills said he’s tried to do that by reinvigorating schools clubs, but says there’s still more to do there.
“It’s going to be hard, no doubt about it,” Mills said of winning elections. “Because young people have more going on than going to vote. But it’s important, and you have to make them know how important that is.”
As for Republicans’ chances in the next county mayor’s race in 2022, Mills said he’s optimistic that the administration of Democratic Mayor Lee Harris will give Republicans reasons to turn out. We’ll see. But waiting for your opponent to make a misstep isn’t a reliable winning strategy. If Republicans want a chance at winning, they need a vision that brings Memphis and Shelby County together around meaningful solutions.
First, it’s easy to blame Donald Trump. He’s everyone’s favorite boogeyman. You think Hillary Clinton wasn’t polarizing? Last time I checked, she didn’t occupy 1600 Pennsylvania.
If Trump did cause any problems, it’s because life is so much better now than it was during the Obama oppression, that people didn’t feel the need to go out and vote in a county election. I guess Poe is telling us it’s futile to run any Republican ever in Shelby County because the demographics are against us. I’m sure he’d like that.
As to “likable, diverse candidates,” they were not very diverse at all. Mostly black, few whites. I hardly found Tami Sawyer likable, but with a press behind her hiding all the negatives about her and fawning over Lee Harris as if he were some super human nice guy, the Dems didn’t have to do anything. The media gladly glosses over any improprieties they do. They supply us with hagiographies of St. Lee and St. Jim. No one on the Republican side ever catches a break, as David Lenoir found out in a Sunday front page story outlining his personal woes.
I really don’t think the Dems are that better organized, except when it comes to publicity and media. Again, any time they squawk about things like voter disenfranchisement that didn’t happen (the uproar over an early voting location that was totally fabricated), the media gives them a megaphone.
When it comes to a single shout of “racist” everyone comes running to virtue signal. One day, that will no longer work.
As for the future, Poe says, “waiting for your opponent to make a misstep isn’t a reliable winning strategy.” Interesting, considering that is exactly what the Dems in Washington do all the time.
Frankly, I think the Shelby GOP should set up an opposition research committee to study every move made by current office holders and potential candidates. Outrageous comments and actions could be sent out via email to every GOP member (including names from the state and national committees) plus hammering local media with them.
Then there’s fraud. Never discount it happening in a Democrat county. Alarms ring out when the polls are closed, results come in and then there’s a pause. Usually that’s when a Republican is ahead. We had unexplained two hour pauses in August and other times. What else would a thinking person infer but fraudulent forces are at work?
If the Republican party is as hapless and loser as Poe says, why did Tennessee turn even deeper red in November? Why did their perfect candidate, Phil Bredesen, lose so badly to Marsha Blackburn? Attention Poe: we’re not dead yet.
I agree that we can use some energy and revitalization in the local party. It’s part of a political cycle. Other ideas I have will be shared soon.
For now, I would hesitate to embrace highly prejudiced concepts produced by a failing biased company. It may be out of business way before any Republicans are.