Thursday, December 07, 2017

Phil Bredesen for US Senate?

So, after hemming and hawing, Cari Wade Gervin scooped the state last night when she broke the story that 74-year-old former governor Phil Bredesen was entering the Democratic Primary for US Senate to replace Bob Corker.

I am all for primaries because they help us sort things out, well, USUALLY they do, any way.  I had been a little worried about James Mackler, the Nashville attorney who has been running for a while now.  However, I met him this past weekend and came away with the idea that he can be elected and can get people to the polls who have not been voting, which is the REAL Democratic issue.  He is 44 years old and can fire people up.

Bredesen put out this video today filled with both-siderist BS.  He talks about reaching across the aisle (AHAHAHAHAHAH) and talks about what he accomplished as governor while conveniently failing to note that he only did that because he had a DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED Legislature to pass good legislation.


Whenever I hear that "BUT HE CARRIED 95 COUNTIES IN 2006!" crap, I feel compelled to point out that 2006 was a Democratic Wave year and he was running against someone the GOP wasn't even supporting.  Also, I feel compelled to mention THAT IT IS NOT 2006 ANY MORE PEOPLE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!!

Will I vote for him if he is the only thing preventing Marsha Blackburn's victory?  Yes, but I won't excited about it, and neither will anyone else who doesn't have a 6-figure income.  By the way, he won't flip any "reasonable" Republicans because they were all run out of the GOP a long time ago.

Everything he says in that video sounds Clintonesque, and that just does not work anymore.  Unless and until our party figures that out, we are doomed to failure.

For heaven's sakes, give us a chance to win and go help JAMES MACKLER!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Save IRV!

UPDATE 12/3:  Hat tip to Gale Jones Carson, who reminds us that this is only applicable to the seven DISTRICT City Council races and NOT to the Super District Races.

This, from friend of the blog Professor Steve Mulroy:

One sad lesson we’ve learned from the last half century is that when officials make voting less convenient, participation suffers generally, but particularly among persons of color, the poor, and the disabled.  Whether it’s photo ID, voter purges, or restricting early voting, the pattern holds.
                  A similar voter suppression effort is at work here in Memphis, where the City Council wants to repeal Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).  The key Council vote is December 5.
Lately, City Council voters have had to vote in a first round election in October.  If no one candidate gets a majority, they have to come back 6 weeks later for a runoff election between the top two candidates. 
                  Non-political insiders often don’t know that there’s a second election, or are otherwise unable to make it to the polls.  While 28% of Memphis voters vote in the first round, only 5% of voters have their voices heard in the final, decisive round.  Sometimes, only hundreds of votes make the difference.
                  This 5% of voters is disproportionately white and affluent.  The pattern holds.
                  In 2008, a people-driven, citizen-initiative process elected a City Charter Commission, which unanimously endorsed IRV as a solution to this problem.  In a citywide referendum, Memphians voted 71% for IRV.
                  Under IRV, voters can mark their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for City Council. If no candidate gets a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Each ballot for that candidate is reassigned to other candidates based on what that ballot had for 2nd choice.  This process continues until someone has a majority.  (See
                  IRV lets people vote just one time, without an expensive, unnecessary, low-turnout second election.   It’s been endorsed by Barack Obama, and Jesse Jackson. Locally , the local Black Lives Matter organization has recently endorsed it for Memphis, along with other progressive groups like the local Democratic Party, Democratic Women, the Central Labor Council, and the Green Party.
IRV also opens the door for first-time, lesser-known, lesser-funded candidates.  You don’t have to worry about “throwing away your vote” on your underdog favorite: you can vote for that candidate 1st, and hedge your bets with a “safer,” more established candidate 2nd.   In the 12 U.S. cities where it’s been used over the last few decades, it has resulted in the election of more female candidates, third party candidates, and candidates of color.
No wonder, then, that the establishment resists it.  Our former election administrator declined to implement it for 9 years. The Secretary of State, a longtime opponent, has questioned its legality (despite several local legal opinions from 2008 to the contrary). 
And now, just when a new election administrator has decided to implement it in the 2019 Memphis elections, the City Council plans to place a repeal referendum on the 2018 ballot—before we’ve even had a chance to try it once. Worse, some establishment oriented civil rights leaders, taking their lead from black incumbents, have echoed them.
Let the people decide, they say—even though the people have already decided, and those in power have resisted. 
IRV is too confusing for Memphians, they say—even though voters in other cities have managed it just fine.
Our local election administrators can’t be trusted to handle it, they say—even though the method to be used in 2019 (manual count of paper ballot images) is more transparent than our current computerized “black box” voting machines, and the method has been used successfully for years in Minneapolis and St Paul.

Memphis deserves better.  Before December 5, contact the City Council at and tell them to respect the people’s vote and give IRV a chance.  Maybe this time, the pattern won’t hold.