It was a rough night nationally for Democrats Tuesday. While I’m sure thousands of gallons of digital and real ink will be spilled talking/pontificating about just what happened and why, I’m not going there today.

Today I want to thank some folks who went above and beyond right here in Memphis.

Memphis for Hillary

Dave and Dianne Cambron
Dave and Dianne Cambron

Shelby County may have lost its local Democratic Party organization, but that didn’t stop some tireless activists from working their butts off to get out the vote. Honestly, I’ve lived here or more than 12 years, and this is one of the most impressive “ground up” operations I’ve seen.

So kudos to Virgie Banks, Dave and Dianne Cambron, and everyone else who helped hold the election headquarters together on Poplar with little (if any) support from a formal party structure.

Ed Note: Dave Cambron corrected me via text. Dianne worked with Dwayne Thompson’s campaign. If anything, that’s all the more reason to thank them both. I’ve run one campaign out of my home and know what kind of havoc that wrought. I can’t imagine running two!

You guys (and all the folks I didn’t mention) proved yourselves to be competent leaders who are driven to do no matter what obstacles are in place. I thank you for your energy, drive and determination.

Dwayne Thompson

Dwayne Thompson
Dwayne Thompson

One of the few bright spots on election night was a formerly Republican district in Shelby County flipping to the Democratic column.

That district was won by Dwayne Thompson.

Dwayne and his team of volunteers beat the odds by running a ground game that kept the candidate and a band of volunteers knocking on doors, calling, and doing all the stuff you’ve gotta do to overcome the odds to win an election.

The end result, was a close win that unseated a long-time incumbent who has been mostly missing in action.

On a night where Democratic gains were hard to come by, this was a bright spot right here in the 901.

Linda Phillips and the Shelby County Election Commission

Shelby County Elections Coordinator, Linda Phillips
Shelby County Elections Coordinator, Linda Phillips
Troubles on Election night may have had new Shelby County Elections Coordinator, Linda Phillips, wondering why in the world she left her job in Indiana to come here. I can’t imagine the frustration she must have felt.

But despite these election night troubles, Phillips, and the Election Commission did some things this cycle that they’ve never done before to help people vote.

Long lines in early voting led to expanded hours the polls were open, something I couldn’t imagine our previous coordinator even considering.

Phillips has been very transparent with changes, publishing extensive tables of precinct consolidations, and making daily detailed reports available for data goobs like myself. She even goobed out on some numbers and shared them with her entire distribution list, something that’s never happened before.

Phillips is also looking at making recommendations to the Commission for new voting equipment, something that is desperately needed now that our current elections infrastructure is both old, out of date, and in many cases, unsupported by the remaining elections vendors out there.

What that will look like is a longer post for another time, but suffice it to say, I’m glad she’s at the wheel of our Election Commission and feel hopeful that now, for the first time in a long time, we’ve got someone who is genuinely interested in opening up the process and making voting easier for folks while making her agency more transparent.

I’m sure I’ve left out a lot of folks here. Elections are a lot of work that take a whole lot of people to get done. So if you used your time to help a candidate or help folks vote, I want to thank you as well.

I also hope you’ll keep the faith, even though I know its hard.

Since I lost my race for County Commission in August of 2012, I’ve had a hard time keeping the faith. That’s evident by the number of posts I’ve put up here, and the number of events I just haven’t been able to make my self go to. I know I wasn’t supposed to win, but that didn’t make losing any easier.

But I’ll tell you, my decision to “go dark” (conscious or unconscious) hasn’t given me any peace. If anything, its caused me even more pain.

When you hold strong beliefs, and prevent yourself from acting in support of those beliefs, either through self-doubt or fear of failure, you’re hurting yourself and ultimately, your cause.

Its fine to lick your wounds, but don’t focus on the pain the scars that remain represent. Living in that pain just keeps the wounds open…fresh. Use that pain to drive you. Let those scars be a testament to your willingness to fight, not an excuse for withdrawing.

Its something I wish I’d done a better job of over the past four years.

Its something I hope to be better at in the future.

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