An open letter to Tennessee Democrats.
In November 2016, Democrats woke up to a complete nightmare. All of the polling leading up to Nov. 9 suggested a significant Clinton victory was certain. And then the words, “ladies and gentleman, Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.”
What in the hell just happened?
In the weeks and months that followed, Democrats began to do an autopsy of the “big tent party” to try and figure out how this nightmare could have happened. There are way too many problems that led to this, but I want to help you recall one of those issues.
And it’s a big one.
There was another Democratic candidate that went all the way to the convention. He went all the way to the convention because of his base. Simply google any photo of a rally for Bernie Sanders and you’ll see what that base was and is.
Anyway, Hillary won ultimately, but she and the Democratic Party failed to rally the Bernie supporters to show up in November. Largely because you discounted those supporters as “loons.”
Then, just like old times, you started with the victim blaming. You failed to recognize your own failures and instead blamed folks that couldn’t stomach pushing the button for Hillary for the nightmare scenario we are now in.
Well, the energized progressives, you know, the ones that are out organizing and canvassing and working every single day for causes and candidates, they took note.
These progressives, myself included, understood that we have to figure out how to work together to get this done. So, we held our noses and walked into Democratic offices across the country and tried to join hands with you. (As hard as that was and is sometimes)
And you know what? It’s been working.
Look at how many quality candidates the state of Tennessee is running in this midterm election cycle. Where were they in 2014? They were out organizing and fighting for causes while the party was trying to field mediocre centrist candidates.
Well, as far as I can tell, the party has recognized the positive changes and for the most part, has embraced it. Even when Phil Bredesen entered the race late.
We already had a great candidate in James Mackler who had been touring the state, showing up at protests and rallies and listening to the concerns of the citizens, you recognized that this was a bad move and you knew he should have stayed home.
Well, we settled down and held our noses and supported Phil. We have so many wonderful candidates running down ticket and we need to have a coordinated effort. Obviously.
Phil and Karl need to utilize the organization skills of the progressives in order to excite progressive voters and get them to the polls in November. So we’ve played along.
Well, leave it to a centrist Democrat to fail to acknowledge this.
Friday morning, while we were waking up and drinking coffee, many of us had been out the night before canvassing and going to parties and meet and greets and pushing the names of our candidates and registering people to vote, all while experiencing and reliving past trauma because of the Kavanaugh hearings, Phil Bredesen releases a statement. A statement that came a day before Kavanaugh's ultimate confirmation.
Here’s part of that statement:
“Presidents have the right to appoint justices who share their values–elections have consequences. I believe a Senator’s responsibility to ‘advise and consent’ is not a license to indulge in partisanship, but should focus on the qualifications of the nominee, their ethics and their temperament.
I believed that Judge Kavanaugh initially met this test, and I was prepared to say ‘yes’ to his nomination prior to Dr. Ford’s coming forward. While the subsequent events make it a much closer call, and I am missing key pieces of information that a sitting Senator has, I’m still a ‘yes.”
You read that right.
Phil Bredesen releases a statement saying he believes Kavanaugh is a good fit for the Supreme Court of the United States and had he been a Senator he would be voting to confirm him.
You’re out busting your butt for a guy you already know is a centrist, and you’re drinking your coffee on Friday morning and you see this.
After all of the trauma.
After all of the sacrifice you’ve had to personally make to share your skills with a centrist, and you wake up to a middle finger from the guy you’re working hard for.
And then, when the canvassers start pulling up their yard signs and walking out of his offices and vowing to not cast a vote for him, the party starts doing the same thing they did after 2016.
You are willing to overlook Phil’s disaster of an error and blame victims of his abandonment for the inevitable consequence of his decision.
Stop! It is not their fault! It’s his fault!
I hope like crazy, by some freaking miracle, Marsha Blackburn doesn’t win this seat. But if she does, it is not the fault of the people who Phil Bredesen screwed over on Friday. They had already sacrificed what they could sacrifice for him. Which was brave in itself. They’ve had all they can stomach and don’t need to be blamed for his misdeed.
If you continue the victim blaming, which can be likened to the supporters of a rapist blaming the dress of a victim for the rapist's actions, then we are going to continue to not only lose elections, but also lose folks that run in these elections.