Groundhog Day for Shelby County Democrats

Bryan Carson talks to Fox13 about the night's losses
Bryan Carson talks to Fox13 about the night’s losses

Thursday night’s election results are disappointing in a lot of ways. But they should also serve as a wakeup call…much like they did in 2010.

We had some candidates that were a drag on the ticket. Many candidates didn’t run effective (or any campaigns). Most didn’t raise enough money to be effective (or in some cases, relevant).

I tend to agree with the following statement Congressman Cohen made to Fox13:

“Some of our candidates made mistakes,” the congressman said,. “Our attorney general candidate Joe Brown had no business bringing up any personal issues with Amy Weirich and that turned a lot of people off. The Democrats in general and Ms. (Henri) Brooks’ problems turned people off too. Those two things I think cost Tarik Sugarmon, Ms. Banks, Mr. Chism and Ms. Halbert their jobs.”

But one group that’s not responsible for the losses are voters…contrary to what SCDP Chairman Bryan Carson said to WREG:

Bryan Carson is drawing a line in the sand. He’s got a message for those who call themselves Democrats and voted for Republican candidates running for Shelby County offices.

“I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us,” said Carson.

Carson says he’s hurt by the outcome of this election. About 20 percent of the Democrats who voted cast ballots for Republicans running for county office.

Crisis of Competence and Confidence

As I said in this Facebook post, this is one of the dumbest statements after an election that a Chair could make.

If voters don’t like your candidates, you should examine why instead of blaming the voters.

Let’s see:

Two candidates arrested for being stupid.
Those same two candidates said enough stupid to fill a set of encyclopedias of stupid.
The one candidate at the top of the ticket who projected competence (Deidre Malone) got tagged with the incompetence of the other two.
News cycle after news cycle was lost to these two doing stupid stuff…news cycles that could have been about issues absent their indiscretions.

Much of the bottom of the ticket did nothing, raised nothing, ran no campaign.

There was one bright spot. Look at Cheyenne…we need more Cheyenne’s.

She’s competent. She keeps her nose down. She doesn’t say dumb things. She does her job well and happily, without grandstanding.

We need a truckload of folks like Cheyenne.

Party Failures

The Shelby County Democratic Party didn’t do itself any favors.

According to state disclosures (I didn’t see the most recent pre-eletion disclosure listed), the party never had more than $16,000 on hand throughout the election cycle, despite having several large events that combined should have brought in tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, the party spent more time with intra-party struggles than with building a volunteer base, or getting its message out to voters.

This has been a consistent problem with the party structure.

The Executive Committee isn’t the party…they’re representatives of folks who call themselves Democrats.

The Chair isn’t the party…the chair is the representative of the Executive Committee to the public.

People who pull Democratic primary ballots are the party. Both of the above groups are accountable to people who call themselves Democrats…and should be held accountable by them.

That’s been forgotten.

What’s being built?

This is the question local Democrats need to be asking themselves. You need look no further than our partisan opponents to see what building looks like. The TNGOP has embarked on a massive training campaign, we have nothing equivalent.

Not all of this falls on the local party. Both the local and state party shoulder some of the blame for not developing candidates.

But damn. The biggest damn Democratic party organization in the state can’t get their shit together enough to put on some training? We can’t get it together enough to train up volunteers, operatives, and candidates to help propel us to victory?

That’s the problem, not crossover voters. Voters react to the choices before them. If those choices are bad, or look crazy, they won’t vote for them…period.

Even before the data is out, I’m willing to wager that Cheyenne got some GOP crossover. Why? Because she exudes competence.

Ed Stanton Jr. did the same in 2012.

That’s the lesson, not purity tests.

Conclusion

Its easy to blame storm…and I’m not trying to do that in this post. But Chairman Carson’s statement is out of line.

Confidence of competence wins elections…not the “consonant” behind the person’s name.

Building a bench of competent, consistent campaigners, operatives and candidates is the task of the party.

There’s four years to do this, and we already know which seats we need to be targeting.

Hopefully, the party will choose to stop his own blame storm and start working on building something positive.

Election Coverage

A Déjà Vu Election: Cohen Breezes, GOP Repeats Countywide Romp of Four Years Ago, and Appellate Judges Hang On

Democratic Divide Widens in Election Results

Kyle Veazey On Politics: A day after, going deeper into Thursday’s results

Shelby County Democratic Party Looks To Rebuild Following Losses

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