Sweep predicted in reverse

Sweep“It will be a long time before Republicans are elected in significant numbers countywide,” was the last quote in a front page story in The Commercial Appeal on Sunday, June 27.

You probably remember the story and the headline: “Democrats talk of election sweep in Shelby County.”

It caused quite a bit of queasiness  and fear on the part of  Shelby County Republicans.

Author Zack McMillin went on to say “In 2010, admit even the area’s most optimistic Republicans, conservatives should be afraid, very afraid. Because it is possible, perhaps even likely, that the Aug. 5 elections will create a county government run almost completely by Democrats beholden to a voting base that will expect greater attention to Memphis concerns.

“Shelby County’s demographics – low median income, large African-American voting base, urban white voters – have made it reliably Democratic in presidential elections, with Barack Obama in 2008 getting 63 percent of the vote and 100,000 more votes than Republican John McCain.”

“We have the numbers and the numbers don’t lie, as the rapper said,” said Van Turner, the county’s Democratic party chairman. “We all win if you vote for 10.”

Flash forward to the night of August 5.

There was a sweep, all right, but not in the direction they wanted or predicted. The headline the next morning read: “Republicans sweep all 9 of the contested Shelby County races.”

So what happened?

Hard work by a galvanized Shelby GOP won the day.

To those breast beating when the story came out, I remember saying the story was a good thing. If this was true, the predictions would light a fire under all hesitant Republicans and get them to the polls.

And the more likely case, that the newspaper wanted to dispirit Republicans and funnel perceptions in the direction they wanted, seemed closer to the truth. With all the activity I saw coming from the Shelby GOP, I just couldn’t believe we wouldn’t get our voters out.

Now I wonder what the political geniuses see for November 2? I suggest you print out the story, as I did, and refer to it any time you have some doubts. Plus, it will always provide me with a laugh when I need one.

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