Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why can't I get excited about the August elections?

I'm not the only one noticing that there is a definite apathy about the upcoming election, for which early voting starts downtown on Friday and a week from tomorrow in the satellites.

Doc Herenton actually bothered to go out and start campaigning this weekend, and I am glad of it.  No, I'm obviously NOT supporting him, but maybe he will get Democrats cranked up to vote, either for him or against him.  The irony of this election cycle is that for Democrats to win, there needs to be a big honkin' turnout, and that can't happen if people think that Steve Cohen has the 9th District race locked up.

Sure, Cohen is supporting every Democrat that supports him, but people do NOT seem to be enthused over the Joe Ford-Mark Luttrell race for County Mayor.  Nor am I, for that matter.  That said, I will probably vote for Mayor Ford at the end of the day because as nice a man as Mark Luttrell is, he's still a Republican, and at least in Shelby County, that still means something.

Mayor Ford has to wonder now that Luttrell has come out against consolidation (and gee, what a shocker THAT was) if all that consolidation-bashing he's been doing will pay off in the non-Memphis part of the County now.  I'm not sure it would have mattered to begin with.

I think Randy Wade should do quite well in the Sheriff's race, as his campaign has crossed all lines of party, race, class and all those other things that usually set us apart in this County.  Regina Newman should be in good shape as well, as her office keeps winning awards, and Shep Wilbun has enough name recognition and is well-liked enough to regain his seat as Juvenile Court Clerk.

After that, however, who cares?  If you're a Democrat, after the top 3 County races and the TN-09 primary, who cares?  THIS is where voter apathy could kill Democrats in August, because down-ballot races always suffer in low-turnout elections, and that's why our side does so poorly in the County elections.

Too many of our folks are low-income, low-information voters who simply will not vote when you have to choose between Democrats, and they also get confused because this state is stupid enough to have primary and general elections occurring simultaneously.  (And no, I don't give a flying shit that it works great in rural counties.  It doesn't work for US, and we're the biggest in population AND area, so that is what matters!)

This is why Herenton's campaign, late though it may be, matters.  I think the likelihood of his victory is small, but if people think he can win, there will be a much larger than expected turnout, and that helps the ticket.

I will have my picks as to whom I will vote for, and whom I WON'T, later this week.  I'm getting the judge races sorted out in my head, so I will have something rational to say about this later.

The sad thing is that, after TN-09 and the top or 4 county races, this election is not the big one, November is, but the way McWherter keeps tripping over himself, it may not matter.  THAT may doom the state, and ESPECIALLY Big Shelby, for a generation.


autoegocrat said...

Joe Ford actually managed to get me fired up. I was amazed at his debate performance.

If nothing else, when someone gets up on TV and says "I'm a progressive Democrat" and then backs it up with an honest and laudable self-assessment of their own performance, I can't help but stand up and say, "Amen." It's nice to see someone on our team who's got some starch in their spine.

callmeishmael said...

The county doomed itself long ago by not squarely facing the major issue that has plagued it since the antebellum era. Shelby has managed to make something of itself through combinations of political and moral compromise, the luck of geography, sheer hard work and, in more recent decades, the revitalization of downtown. Otherwise, your county might have ended up as a larger version of mine in SW Georgia. Descendants of cotton pickers too poor to leave (in public school), those who owned the cotton mills who would lose their power if they left (many in the -ahem--"Christian" Academy formed just by coincidence when the public schools were integrated) and a smattering of Dollar General, Freds, CVS and local businesses. Our College helps, but like U of M, there is little interaction between us and the town.